> our title:

First US Army Apache Unit Receives Shadow Drones

> original title:

Shadow Drones: Fort Bliss Apache Helicopter Unit First to Get Drones In Army-Wide Move (excerpt)

(Source: El Paso Times.com; published Mar 16, 2015)

FORT BLISS, TX. --- An attack-reconnaissance helicopter unit at Fort Bliss made Army history Monday. The 1st Battalion, 501st Aviation Regiment reflagged as the 3rd Squadron, 6th Cavalry Regiment and became the Army's first heavy attack reconnaissance squadron. That means they are partnering 12 of the version 2 Shadow drones with their already existing 24 AH-64D Apache attack helicopters.

This is the first time that the Army is pairing drones with Apaches in the same unit. It's part of an Army-wide aviation restructuring.

Lt. Col. R.J. Garcia, commander of the 3-6 Cav, said it's an "incredible honor" for his unit to be the trailblazer for the Army.

"It really demonstrates the type of soldiers we have in this unit and at Fort Bliss," said Garcia, who took command of the 1-501st in January 2014 and now guides the unit under its new name. "The Army doesn't make these decisions lightly. (With) the support of the community, the training area, the emphasis on the 1st Armored Division and its readiness, it was probably a natural choice and it's because of the soldiers we have here that work so hard to make the mission happen."

The 3-6 Cav will continue to be part of the 1st Armored Division's Combat Aviation Brigade.

The unit got 12 of the version 2 Shadow drones in January this year and has been training with them since. They replaced four older Shadows that the unit had since last year, Garcia said.

The newer Shadow drones have "increased abilities in terms of range, altitude and payload packages," Garcia said.

The non-weaponized drones will be used to improve the unit's ability to do reconnaissance, he added. (end of excerpt)

Click here for the full story, on the El Paso Times website.