Monday, November 1, 2004
UAVs: Good, But Not That Good
In response to Otto Goetz's letter regarding the use of UAVs in Border Patrol operations ("Whither UAVs?," September 2004, page 7), I'd like to say that it is obvious Goetz has no clue as to how the U.S. Border Patrol conducts operations.
He suggests that Border Patrol crews "look over their shoulders for a UAV wearing a cloak and carrying a scythe (a la The Grim Reaper). Their career days may be numbered." I got a HUGE laugh out of that one!
I am neither for nor against the use of UAVs in our operations, but to suggest that UAVs will one day replace Border Patrol helicopter operations is so far out of the realm of possibility it is simply laughable!
I ask Goetz this--can a UAV drop off a certified emergency medical technician to work on injured illegal aliens or Border Patrol agents? (EMTs are part of our permanent crew and also serve as flir operators.) Can a UAV pick up and drop off agents into and out of remote areas to work traffic? Can a UAV sling out narcotics loads or transport crews to mountaintops to maintain our radio equipment? Can a UAV cut for sign and track human footprints to apprehend illegal aliens? Can a UAV drop off supplies such as water, batteries, flashlights and ammo to agents in need? Can a UAV get ahead of drive-through narcotics loads to deploy stop sticks and spikes?
I could go on and on.
Simply put, Goetz should be more familiar with an agency's duties and operations before making childish statements such as his. Those who live in the Southwest United States are not likely to make such foolish remarks.
If there is ever a day when a UAV can do my job as well as I do, I will GLADLY go back to being an agent on the ground!
Daniel B. Starnes
Huachuca City, AZ
(Daniel Starnes is a U.S. Border Patrol helicopter pilot)
Just a Few Miles off
Reference your August 2004 Offshore column (page 62), Redhill Aerodrome is 20 mi. south of London, so is not near Cambridge which is 50 mi. north of London.
A Bit Further Off
Your article on the National Guard misidentifies one of the aircraft pictured with it as a Tennessee Guard helicopter in Iraq ("Ready at the guard," Sept. Pg. 40). The picture (reprinted right) is of an active-duty medevac helicopter from the 159th/68th Medical Co. (AA) stationed in Afghanistan.
The landing zone is at a forward operating base at 5,000 ft. MSL.
The 159th is a medevac unit out of Germany; the 68th is out of Hawaii and Alaska. Both are active-duty units. We also have the reverse picture, taken from the cockpit, of the LZ, in which you are able to see the person taking the picture you published.
CW2 Ryan A. Nowaczck
68th Medical Co. (AA)
Promotional material distributed for the EMERGENCY RESPONSE 2004 Conference and Exposition to be held Nov. 17-20, 2004 at the San Diego Convention Center lists as a speaker for a number of sessions Lt. Glenn Daley, NYPD (ret.). Mr. Daley will be presenting no sessions at the conference. We apologize for any inconveniences this may have caused.