Eagle Vision dedicated during ceremony
By 2nd Lt. Stephen Hudson, 169th Fighter Wing
/ Published January 12, 2015
MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, S.C. -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham and South Carolina National Guard leadership dedicated Eagle Vision during a ribbon-cutting ceremony held Jan. 11.
Eagle Vision 4 (EV4), based here at McEntire, is one of only five unclassified Air Force Tactical Mobile Satellite Ground Stations owned by the Department of Defense (DOD). Eagle Vision produces near real-time unclassified commercial imagery for use by various government agencies. Eagle Vision integrates active duty, Guard, Reserve and civilian support.
"The fact that the South Carolina National Guard was chosen to be one of the five operators of these valuable systems speaks well to the capability here," Senator Graham said. "If it is important, chances are the South Carolina National Guard is involved in it."
Graham said it was just one more chapter in the story of the SCANG leading in the defense of the nation.
Eagle Vision is used in a variety of ways both to support the warfighter under different Combatant Commands, and various civilian first responders. Eagle Vision has been used in every tropical storm impacting the United States since 2004.
Master Sgt. Troy Wilkerson, a Data Integration Segment system administrator with Eagle Vision, said the system can take both passive and active acquisitions to provide timely, flexible and tailored products to commanders, first responders and partner nations using commercial satellite imagery.
First responders called in support disaster response use the imagery to develop disaster response plans. These plans may include identifying the most logistically feasible routes into areas that need assistance, where to set up relief aid stations for maximum effect and where to set up command centers for effective relief response. This can be performed by comparing the new post-disaster images with the pre-disaster images to identify changes to infrastructure and terrain.
"As soon as we get it, it will be available within the hour," Wilkerson said of the imagery.
The mobile system stationed at McEntire can be packed up and moved via transport aircraft in eight hours to deploy anywhere in the world.
Wilkerson said the imagery is not only a tool for civilian first responders after natural disasters such as tornadoes or floods, but is given to commanders to quickly make battle decisions. During their last deployment, Wilkerson added that Eagle Vision was used to map the country of Afghanistan, giving battlefield commanders updated imagery.
At any time Eagle Vision is manned with four fulltime specialists, but during a deployment or natural disaster, more trained Airmen are called in to provide additional support.
The other Eagle Vision systems are located in Alabama, California, Ramstein Air Base in Germany, and Honolulu.