Sgt. Shaun Manhollan, unmanned aircraft systems operator with the UAS Training Battalion, demonstrates how to fly a UAS simulator.

FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz. -- For someone who joined the Army to Aca,!A"get out of OhioAca,!A? and was somewhat uneducated about his chosen military occupational specialty when he signed up for the Army, Sgt. Shaun Manhollan believes he has still been able to find his niche within the Army.

Manhollan, who reenlisted in April, has been in the Army for six years. He says he chose his MOS because a friend told him about it.

His current MOS is a 15W, or better known as an unmanned aircraft systems operator, with C. Company, Unmanned Aircraft Systems Training Battalion.

Aca,!A"I was on the ledge about what I was going to do. I looked into the Green to Gold [program] or a warrant officer,Aca,!A? he explains. But since his wife is in nursing school he decided Green to Gold wouldnAca,!a,,ct financially work out and becoming a warrant officer wasnAca,!a,,ct very appealing to him.

So the 24-year-old sergeant set his sights on reclassifying to a different MOS, the human intelligence collector or 35M but received orders to report to Fort Hood, Texas to prepare for a deployment to Afghanistan.

Manhollan knew that once a Soldier is on orders they cannot reclassify. So when he was given the option to carry out the assignment or reenlisted under current military occupational specialty, he chose to reenlist for four more years. He plans to stay in for at least 20 years.

ManhollanAca,!a,,cs MOS qualifies him to fly aircraft from a remote location, and gather information via the aircraft. The Army hosts five of these aircraft, or Unmanned Aircraft Systems: Raven, Shadow, Hunter, Warrior A and Gray Eagle.

The Soldier has been deployed two times; once to Ramadi, Iraq as a Shadow operator from September 2005Aca,!"September 2006, and to Bagram, Afghanistan as a Warrior A operator from September 2008Aca,!"September 2009.

While Manhollan was stationed in Germany he was part of the first platoon in the 501st Military Intelligence Battalion to fly the Shadow in Germany and was also one of the first to be trained under the Aviation standard.

His face was not forgotten years later, when the 501st MI BattalionAca,!a,,cs former commander recognized Manhollan while touring with a group of visitors in Hanger 3 at Libby Army Airfield.

Col. Timothy Faulkner, garrison commander, recognized Manhollan as one of his Soldiers he commanded in Germany. The sergeant attributes his unforgettable stature to the fact that when he was in Germany his MOS was not very common.

Although the demand for UASs has risen in the past few years and the population of the MOS has grown, only approximately 10 percent of the ArmyAca,!a,,cs 15Ws are multi-system qualified, which puts Manhollan in a unique position since he is trained to fly the Shadow and Warrior A.

According to Mark Farrar, director of training for UASTB, no unit has more than one system, therefore multi-trained pilots provide some flexibility to the Army as a whole.

Manhollan says there are quite a few challenges that go along with his MOS. He notes the technicality, and there are a lot of numbers to memorize.

Aca,!A"There are more regulations in the Aviation component than other Army components, and the physical is more stringent,Aca,!A? he explains.

Manhollan says he is glad he chose his MOS because heAca,!a,,cs helping set the Army up for the future, and the skills heAca,!a,,cs learned gives him more opportunities for when the time comes to transfer to the civilian work force.

Manhollan, his wife, Brighton, and son, Samuel, reside in Sierra Vista. He will report to Fort Hood for his next deployment in December.

Page last updated Thu May 20th, 2010 at 12:28