A group of soldiers from Fort Riley are coming home.
According to the Army, about 120 Soldiers with Company F, 1st Attack Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Aviation Regiment, 1st Combat Aviation Brigade, 1st Infantry Division, are set to return this week to Fort Riley
following a nine-month deployment to Afghanistan in support of Operation Freedom’s Sentinel.
While deployed, the Soldiers of “Phoenix” company operated the Gray Eagle unmanned aircraft system, providing reconnaissance, surveillance and air power to support the ground forces of the United States and its allies. During the deployment, Fenix Soldiers conducted more than 1,000 combat missions resulting in more than 8,000 flight hours.
It was a deployment of firsts for the company – first to conduct split-based operations, first to conduct support operations and training in several partner countries, first to fully deploy and redeploy from Kuwait and first to conduct a Gray Eagle-to-Gray Eagle remote engagement.
Fenix company activated April 2012 on Fort Riley and is considered a self-sustaining company that can deploy, conduct missions and redeploy while fueling and launching the unmanned aerial systems themselves.
The Gray Eagle is a medium-altitude long-endurance system designed to perform better at higher altitudes, sees better and listens better than its predecessors. New targeting systems and a new engine also allow the aircraft to fly longer and higher and carry more weight than many of the Army’s previous unmanned systems.