Filler Supports Surrogate Predator Training
Maj. E.W. Filler, of Big Sioux Composite Squadron, spent two weeks at Nellis AFB in Nevada this month, helping active-duty Air Force personnel train for use of remote sensing drones.
Green Flag is a joint Air Force – Civil Air Patrol program designed to train Joint Tactical Air Controllers (JTAC). A CAP Cessna turbo 206 has been heavily modified to act as a surrogate MQ-9 Predator. Flying at altitudes of 13,000 to 17,000 feet, CAP provides real-time video images of a simulated battlefield. The JTAC uses this information to coordinate simulated air strikes in order to accomplish the ground commander’s intent.
“When I describe Green Flag, people invariably ask, ‘Why do you do this?’” said Filler. “I get a little emotional in my response. There are people in the world that want to destroy our way of life and freedoms. Our military sits on the wall protecting me and my family through all kinds of weather, times of day and they do it voluntarily. Their family life is often put on hold. Sacrifices are made on my behalf. Seems like the least we can do is to give them all the tools to be successful and return to their loved ones. Donating a month of my time is the very least I can do.”
The CAP Green Flag crew consists of a mission pilot, mission commander and a sensor operator. CAP aircrew members must be instrument-rated pilots, weigh less than 200 pounds, commit to two weeks blocks twice yearly and get a recommendation from their respective wing commander. Green Flag-type missions are held at two other locations around the country, as well.
“The usual sequence of crew progression is from sensor operator (back seat) to mission commander (right front seat) to mission pilot,” said Filler. “Having completed my required missions, at my next rotation I will move to the mission commander position where I will manage crew coordination and range communications.”