Marine Corps News Release
Release #: 512
Division of Public Affairs, Headquarters, United States Marine Corps, Washington, DC 20380-1775
Commercial: (703) 614-7678/9 DSN: 224-7678/9 FAX: (703) 697-5362
Story by Sgt. Rob Colenso Jr., MCAGCC Twentynine Palms
VMU-1 DETACHMENT RETURNS TO BOSNIA
MARINE CORPS AIR GROUND COMBAT CENTER, TWENTYNINE PALMS, Calif. -- A Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron-1 detachment deployed July 17 to Bosnia in support of ongoing multi-national peacekeeping efforts in that war-torn region.
The 10 Marines left less than one year after the unit's return from the devastated country Oct. 27. Six of the 10 served in Bosnia during the last deployment.
The detachment will home-base in Sarajevo and set up three "remote receiving stations" for the multi-national peacekeeping forces currently in-country. The two-Marine teams will set up shop in three different locations -- Mostar, Tuzla and Banja Luka. They will support French, British, or American forces, depending on the location. A fourth team will be held in reserve at the detachment's Sarajevo headquarters.
This fourth team will be used in the event of a long-term image-collecting operation, which would require relief for the initial team involved, said Lt. Col. Gary A. Warner, VMU-1 commanding officer. "We're sending a bare minimum of personnel, but they're fully-equipped," Warner said.
"A big difference between this and our last deployment is that we're trying to send less people this time around." Another key difference is in the proposed length of the deployment.
"I told them to count on being there six months," said Sgt. Maj. Ronald P. Genet, VMU-1 sergeant major."
Images will be collected through U.S. Navy equipment -- the P-3 unmanned aerial vehicle system, which is the "big brother" to VMU-1's Pioneer UAV system. While the Pioneer system is used primarily for targeting aid in fire-support missions, the P-3 is primarily a larger and heavier long-range intelligence gathering device for commanders, Warner explained.
"It's good for us to practice collecting information from other platforms, those not organic to the Marine Corps," he continued.
While Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron-2 had set up similar remote receiving stations in Bosnia during the recent past, the VMU-1 deployment marks the first time these receiving stations will be mobile, according to 1st Lt. Brian Shortsleeve, detachment commander.
"We don't use the remote receiving stations very much out here," Shortsleeve said. "VMU-2 had success over there with it, though. Theirs were stationary -- we're putting them on Humvees." This increased mobility will add more flexibility to the multi-national divisions, as the Marines will be able to go to the units and provide direct support for the mission commanders. Shortsleeve, who is on his first tour in Bosnia, said he's looking forward to a chance to test his unit's skills.
"It's a good opportunity to use what this unit has in support of a real-world operation."
The Marines who have served in Bosnia in the past are looking forward to their return.