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Eagle Vision IV returns from support mission in Japan

  • Published
  • By Capt. Roy Condrey
  • 169th CF
Chief Master Sgt. Pete Wiedel and Staff Sgt. Dennis McDougal, members of the 169th Communications Flight Eagle Vision IV (EV4) Mobile Ground Satellite Station, located at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, S.C., recently returned from a three-month deployment at Kadena Air Base, Okinawa, Japan. They supported a joint operation imagery collections mission for 5th Air Force, Pacific Air Forces (PACAF). It involved active-duty Air Force, Marines and Air National Guard members.

The Eagle Vision program consists of five DoD deployable, commercial satellite ground stations that are located in South Carolina, Alabama, California, Hawaii and Germany. They each provide customers with near real-time commercial satellite imagery of locations within their 1,300 mile, visibility circle.

Eagle Vision stations are used to collect and disseminate imagery to various government agencies such as FEMA and USGS during natural disasters. They also support mission planning, time-critical targeting and non-war related operations.

The mission objectives while deployed to Kadena Air Base was to collect 1,498 targets located throughout the South Pacific and to train Japan Air Self Defense Force (JASDEF) personnel on how to use imagery analysis and satellite tracking programs.

Wiedel oversaw Data Integration Segment (DIS) operations and trained JASDEF members on the DIS. McDougal worked as a Data Acquisition Segment (DAS) operator and assisted in training new team members on DAS operations.

Even though many of the targets were heavily covered by clouds, the EV team was able to capture 70 percent of their targets. The team collected more than 5,000 satellite images, accounting for 18 million square kilometers of land imaged. This is more than twice the size of the continental United States. When it was all said and done, using RadarSat-2, TerrSAR-X, World View and SPOT 5 & 6 satellites, the EV team collected processed and distributed more than 3,000 products for imagery analysts to use. All of these products were provided to the 5th AF.

Because Eagle Vision has the capability to quickly acquire near real-time unclassified, satellite imagery, they are highly sought after and utilized during most natural disasters within their visibility circle. The EV4 teams most often provide images for events such as fires, floods, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc. They have supported first responder efforts during Hurricane Sandy and Katrina, the earthquakes in Japan and Haiti, as well as tornado and fires in the mid-west. Other than hurricanes, these events usually occur quickly and with no warning; therefore the team is required to be prepared to react and work during unplanned hours of operation.