12:01 PM

Utah Squadron-Based SUAS Tech Training Graduates 15

UTlogoUTbhawk1Fifteen members of the Utah Wing’s Blackhawk Cadet Squadron have graduated from the Utah Wing’s small Unmanned Aircraft System technician course, taking advantage of the wing’s decision to focus sUAS training at the squadron level.

Col. John Wagner, Utah Wing commander, was on hand Jan. 18 to congratulate the new graduates and pin technician wings on each.

The course “started with the mandate from Utah Wing command staff ‘Get members trained,’” said Tech. Sgt. Neil Reinhart, the wing’s assistant director for sUAS.

“Realizing we did not have the resources on the UAS side to do it the old one-on-one or two-on-one way they do with manned aircraft pilot training, we put our heads together and came up with a squadron- level-based training course that will deliver-high quality training at a pace and intensity that the current wing resources can support,” Reinhart said.

The tech course is the first of three planned phases. Second is a drone academy, and third is a recreation/mission pilot course scheduled for the fall.  

The technician course marked the first phase of the program because “a deployable UAS team requires both a pilot-rated and a technician-rated operator,” Reinhart said.

“Technician-rated senior members and cadets supervised by rated UAS instructors provide instruction during our course,” he said.

One important goal is “to get cadets involved and excited,” Reinhart said, adding that organizers hope “having them fly on the flying days and having a cadet on the staff teaching at every class shows them opportunities that await them if they can step up for them.”

Job well done

In addition to recognizing the 15 news sUAS technicians, Wagner presented Reinhart a Commander’s Commendation for having taken “the lead on planning, organizing, and executing” the tech course.  

“He has brought vitality to Utah Wing's drone program, inspiring an enthusiasm for the use of small Unmanned Aircraft Systems,” said  Capt. Robert Hawk, the Blackhawk squadron's commander.

Those efforts have “created and proven a curriculum that can be implemented in any squadron in the Utah Wing to great effect,” Hawk said.

 Graduating were:

  • Lt. Col. Leslie D. Fife, emergency services officer
  • 1st Lt. Eva M. Wallace, safety officer
  • 2nd Lt. Jonathan T. Call, cyber education officer
  • Senior member Nathan P. Service, physical fitness officer
  • Cadet Airmen 1st Class James Russell Ball, Porter Michael McInnis, Craiger Boone Potter, and Kaitlin Janetta Reinhart
  • Cadet Senior Master Sgt. Garrett Nathan Nemrow
  • Cadet Master Sgt. Justin Nathan Hatch
  • Cadet Senior Airman Max Schon Maurer
  • Cadet Airmen Rupert Pattison, Atticus Cesar Peier, Alexander Ethan Romrell, and Ezekiel Adrian Sanchez

Joining Lt. Col. Steven R. Baxter, Salt Lake Senior Squadron communications officer, in serving as staff were four Blackhawk squadron members: 

  • Capts. Ryan M. Fitzgerald , deputy commander, and Russell E. Morris, alerting officer
  • 2nd Lt. Richard E. Morrey, assistant testing officer
  • Cadet Tech. Sgt. Phineas James McMillan 

1st Lt. Casey Smith
Public Affairs Officer
Utah Wing