By Sgt. Christopher HarperMay 4, 2011
There are no shortage of reasons why Shadow Platoon was selected to represent the Army April 20, at the Army Aviation Association of America (Quad A) convention in Nashville, Tn.
"It was because we've never lost an aircraft, including two deployments," said Staff Sgt. David Scales, platoon sergeant for Shadow Platoon, Company B, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.
Scales pointed to the platoon's more than 10,000 hours of safe combat flight time and overall safety record as indicators why they were chosen as best platoon and asked to represent the Army at the Quad A convention.
"It was due to our stellar safety record," said Chief Warrant Officer 2 Scott Warr, the tactical unmanned aerial system (TUAS) platoon leader, Company B, 3rd Brigade Special Troops Battalion, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 82nd Airborne Division.
"We were invited on behalf of the U.S. Army Unmanned Aircraft Systems programs office and AAI Corporation to represent the regular Army," said Warr. "There was a representative from the Marines and the National Guard as well."
The TUAS platoon is known as the Shadow Platoon because they operate the RQ-7B Shadow unmanned aerial vehicle.
"We have four in the platoon that support the brigade," said Warr
AAI Systems manufactures the RQ-7B Shadow unmanned aerial aircraft and wanted to "recognize those who contributed to the 600,000 flight hours of the Shadow system," said Sharon Corona, a company communications director.
Warr and Staff Sgt. David Scales, platoon sergeant, were presented a plaque and coins for members of Shadow Platoon, and recognized at the Quad A by representatives of AAI Corporation and the U.S. Army Unmanned Aircraft Systems programs office for the platoon's contribution of more than 11,690 hours of safe RQ-7B Shadow flight time and overall safety record.
"The vast majority of which were in combat on the two deployments to Iraq with the 3rd Brigade Combat Team," said Warr.
The 3rd Brigade Combat Team utilized the Shadow UAV system In Iraq from December 2006 to October 2007 and again from December 2008 to November 2009.
In addition to safety, Shadow Platoon is known for their competence and professionalism.
"I've been working with the (Shadow) system since the beginning, and this platoon is the best I've seen," said Greg Dean, an Army civilian contractor and Shadow Platoon member.
Dean is a field service engineer and subject matter expert on the Shadow system. He's been with the Shadow platoon for more than five years and through both deployments.
"I've worked with a bunch of different units, both here at Fort Bragg and other Army units, and these guys are by far the best. They separate themselves by their professionalism, standards and attention to safety," said Dean.
"The award is a real honor; it is only the second time in six years a platoon operating the Shadow system has been recognized by Quad A," said Dean.