Subscribe to our free daily newsletters
. Military Space News .




Subscribe to our free daily newsletters



VMU-2 ScanEagle Birds-Eye View Stops Illegal Oil Siphoning

Eleven tankers are photographed by a Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 2 ScanEagle as they rally together after siphoning oil on a remote highway in Iraq. With the help of VMU-2, the suspects were taken into custody by 1st Battalion, 4th Marines.
by Sgt. Anthony Guas
2nd Marine Aircraft Wing
Al Asad, Iraq (AFNS) Jul 12, 2007
In the Marine Corps reconnaissance is an important part of any mission, knowing the enemy and the situation before making a move is essential. Sometimes that reconnaissance is also used to stop illegal activities. Recently the Marines of Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 2 observed an oil tanker near a remote northern highway siphoning oil from a pipeline.

"ScanEagle 1 was tasked to do a route scan by 1st Battalion, 4th Marines, when they observed a lone oil tanker siphoning from the pipeline," said Maj. Keith M. Chirico, VMU-2 ScanEagle officer-in-charge. "Their initial observation and subsequent surveillance was the catalyst for finding 11 total tankers and indirectly highlighting the smuggling operations to all other units in the area of operations."

After noticing the illegal activity, VMU contacted 1st Bn., 4th Marines and were directed to continue surveillance of the tanker.

"Following them later lead us to a rendezvous point with 10 more oil tankers," said 1st Lt. Thomas Culberson, the mission commander/officer-in-charge for VMU-2 Det B located in Al Qaim. "Maj Chirico's team was in the air to our North and began to gain awareness on the situation. The 11 tankers proceeded west toward the Syrian border and began to break up into two groups. We continued observation of the lead group of seven tankers, while Maj. Chirico's team established visual of the trail group four remaining tankers."

VMU lead the Marines on the ground to the vehicles, which were captured and taken into custody, preventing the suspects from selling the oil on the black market.

"We think it was extremely important to stop the vehicles," said Culberson. "Oil has been smuggled out of Iraq, and sold on the black market in neighboring countries. It was important to keep that oil in the country to be used by the Iraqi people and out of the hands of individuals that use the profits from black market sales to fund the effort against us. By making that stop, we hope that it forces them to alter their plans and think twice about the decisions they make."

The VMU Marines believe that by spotting and assisting the Marines on the ground, they showcased the advantages in having the ScanEagle, in addition to being an important factor in deterring criminal actions in the Al Anbar province.

"I think this 'significant find' highlights the enormous amount of illegal activity that goes on in Iraq, and certainly validates the importance of maintaining responsive Unmanned Aerial Vehicles in direct support of ground forces as they battle the insurgency," said Chirico. "Stopping these illegal oil shipments from reaching the black market immediately affects the insurgent's ability to fund their hostile activities."

Most important the VMU Marines believe that by stopping the oil siphoning, they are directly affecting the establishment of the Iraqi government and economy.

"Preventing the stolen oil from being sold on the local black market or leaving the country puts the valuable resources back in the hands of law-abiding Iraqis, holding their costs down and minimizing the burden of rationing scarce petroleum products," said Chirico. "It is always very rewarding being part of the solution. Being able to support ground operations as a combat multiplier with persistent real-time video surveillance is very effective and frees up the ground forces to focus on security and assisting the Iraqi people as they rebuild."

At the end of the day, the VMU Marines were happy to safely and proficiently help the Marines on the ground.

"We are pleased with the way everything transpired," said Culberson. "The information we provided allowed the command to devise a plan that ended without loss of life and the recovery of a valuable resource that could've wound up on the black market. It was a great team effort and we were glad to be a part of it."

Community
Email This Article
Comment On This Article

Related Links
Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 2
UAV News - Suppliers and Technology



Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News


Cobra Unmanned Aircraft System Makes A Series Of Firsts In North Dakota
Tucson AZ (SPX) Jul 12, 2007
Raytheon's Cobra Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS) conducted the first official unmanned aircraft flight in North Dakota June 25. The Cobra flew approved flight profiles through military restricted airspace over Camp Grafton South, a National Guard training facility 45 miles south of Devil's Lake, N.D. In addition to being the first unmanned aircraft to fly in North Dakota airspace, these were also the Cobras' first flights away from their home station in Tucson, Ariz.







  • Japan Fury Over ABM Leaks By US Navy
  • The China Pattern In Washington
  • US And Russia Begin Nuclear Reduction Talks
  • Eyeing The Shanghai Group In 2007

  • UN Nuclear Watchdog To Return To North Korea On Saturday
  • Bulava ICBM Breakthrough
  • China Updating Missile Arsenal
  • Korea After Unification

  • NetFires Conducts Successful Warhead Demonstration For Precision Attack Missile
  • NetFires Conducts Successful Warhead Demonstration For Precision Attack Missile
  • North Korea Close To Making New Missiles Operational
  • Lockheed Martin Receives 18 Million USD For Low Cost Reduced-Range GMLRS Practice Rockets

  • Japan Unable To Intercept Missiles Fired At US
  • Global Missile Defense System Could Be Created By 2020 Says Ivanov
  • ABM And The Geostrategic Interests Of Azerbaijan
  • Japan Makes Missile Defence Shield Priority

  • Boeing Awarded Two Billion Dollar A-10 Wing Contract
  • Raytheon Awarded Rolling Airframe Missile Contracts Valued At Nearly 146 Million Dollars
  • Europe Bans All Indonesian Airlines From EU Airspace
  • Too Little Scope For Development Of Current Aircraft Technology

  • VMU-2 ScanEagle Birds-Eye View Stops Illegal Oil Siphoning
  • Cobra Unmanned Aircraft System Makes A Series Of Firsts In North Dakota
  • Puma Small UAS Achieves Record Flight Time Using Fuel Cell Battery Hybrid System
  • Predators Reach Quarter-Million Flight Hours

  • More GOP Senators Break Ranks With Bush Administration
  • Partitioning Iraq Softly
  • Lynch's Case For The Iraq Surge
  • Facing Realities In Iraq

  • Thales Offers New Situational Awareness System For The Soldier
  • DRS Tech Gets Contract To Supply Marine Corps With Rugged Tablet Computers
  • UAH Lab Leads To Improved Reliability Of Weapons
  • Plextronics To Develop Flexible Electronics For US Army

  • The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2006 - SpaceDaily.AFP and UPI Wire Stories are copyright Agence France-Presse and United Press International. ESA PortalReports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additionalcopyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by SpaceDaily on any Web page published or hosted by SpaceDaily. Privacy Statement