Marine UAV operator pledges to mentor others

Sgt. Chad John, an unmanned aerial vehicle operator with Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 3 at Camp Leatherneck in southwestern Afghanistan, spends 12 hours a day viewing the stark landscape of Afghanistan through a camera attached to a small, lightweight RQ-7B Shadow in an effort to get sharp, crisp views of areas into which fellow Marines will be patrolling so that, in his words, “they can avoid being in a bad situation,” the Marine Corps said in a Sept. 21 news release.

Two Marines operate the RQ-7B Shadow: a vehicle operator controls the speed, direction and elevation of the aircraft, and a payload operator controls a camera that looks out for the safety of ground troops.

John, who has been through seven years of service and seven deployments, said he has seen the Marine Corps force of UAV operators more than triple in his time of service. After he finishes his latest deployment, he plans to become an instructor in Arizona so that he can teach a new generation Marine Corps UAV operators.

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