Eagle Vision IV members return from deployment in the Philippines
By Capt. Roy Condrey, 169th Communications Flight
/ Published December 14, 2012
MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD, South Carolina -- This past summer, South Carolina Air National Guard's Eagle Vision 4 team members Staff Sgt. Dennis McDougal and Staff Sgt. Clark Davis returned from an 81 day deployment to Mactan Air Base located on Mactan Island in Cebu, Philippines. The purpose of their deployment was to assist the 201st Combat Communications Squadron's Eagle Vision V team during their deployment to the Philippines. The team consisted of a total of 15 members, seven from EV5 (Joint Base Pearl Harbor -Hickam Hawaii), two from EV4, two from EV SPO (Hanscom Air Force Base, Mass.) and four EV1 (Ramstein Air Base, Germany).
EV4 is one of only five Tactical Mobile Satellite Ground Stations owned by the United States Department of Defense (DOD) and is assigned to the 169th Communications Flight stationed at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C. The Eagle Vision program offers a service of producing near real-time unclassified commercial imagery for use by various government agencies.
The primary purpose of the mission was to produce satellite imagery and maps of the Philippine Islands. Additionally, the team trained Philippine military members on how to use various open-source Geographic Information System (GIS) software and to teach them how to analyze unclassified commercial imagery.
Before traveling to the Philippines, McDougal and Davis went to Hickam AFB to assist their EV5 counterparts with preparing for the upcoming deployment. A single Boeing C-17 Globemaster III was required to transport all of the equipment and personnel to Mactan Airbase. Upon arrival the team began to setup the EV5 system and started obtaining imagery of the Philippines islands.
Even though most of the time the islands were covered by clouds, the team was still able to map out the over 7,100 islands that make up the Philippines. This was accomplished by using the radar capabilities of TerraSAR-X as well as RadarSat 1 and 2 satellites. The team was well received, so much so that the commanding general of the Philippine Air Force, Lt. Gen. Lauro Catalino dela Cruz, took some time out to come by to take a tour of the EV system. In the end, over 3,000 products were created that consisted of electronic files and maps. The new maps that were created replaced 20 to 30 year old maps that were still being used. The data was stored on five hard drives and provided to the U.S. Embassy in Manila and the Philippine military.
Ultimately, the deployment was a huge success and a great experience for the EV team members and the Philippine government.