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Army TUAS platoon integrates with US Marines in the fight against ISIS

Soldiers from A Troop, 2nd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 29th Combat Aviation Brigade, use their RQ-7Bv2 Shadow tactical unmanned aerial systems (TUAS) to provide operational support for U.S. Marines at Camp Manion, Iraq.

Army TUAS platoon integrates with US Marines in the fight against ISIS 925 001
Pfc. William Johnson (left) and Pfc. Randy Zuniga, tactical unmanned aerial systems repairers from A Troop, 2nd Squadron, 17th U.S. Cavalry Regiment, conduct post-flight maintenance on an RQ-7Bv2 Shadow TUAS at Al Taqaddum Air Base, Iraq, September 14, 2017.(U.S. Army photo by Capt. Stephen James)

Traditionally, the TUAS platoon conducts operations in concert with A Troop’s AH-64E Apache helicopters, creating a formidable manned-unmanned team. While supporting operations against ISIS, the TUAS platoon has built a new team with the U.S. Marines of Task Force Spartan.

The TUAS platoon is the only organic unit that provides intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance for coalition forces in the fight against ISIS at Al Taqaddum Air Base, said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Derek Reynolds, TUAS platoon leader.

The Shadows have been an effective addition to coalition forces conducting operations against ISIS.

“The Shadow platoon is essential to ensuring that we are successful in our fight against ISIS at Camp Manion,” said Marine Col. Damian Spooner, Task Force Spartan commander.

The two organizations have initially developed a strong working relationship due to the fact that they conducted their relief in place at the same time, said Reynolds. “The Marines are constantly asking what they can do to help and they want to learn about our systems and capabilities.”

Although the TUAS platoon is located away from its original chain of command, they continue to distinguish themselves as valuable partners with the Marines in western Iraq by flying approximately 90 missions since their arrival in early August.

“I greatly appreciate the tremendous work that these Soldiers do, day in, day out, to ensure that our Iraqi counterparts are fully prepared for their mission,” said Spooner.

The 29th Combat Aviation Brigade’s 2-17th Cavalry provides intelligence, surveillance, reconnaissance and an offensive precision strike capability for CJTF-OIR. The 29th CAB is an Army National Guard brigade that provides aviation assets, operational and logistical support to Operation Inherent Resolve.

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