RAMSTEIN AIR BASE, Germany --
Inside Ramstein Air Base, Germany, there is a 10-member team which utilizes satellite imagery for the U.S. military and coalition partners. This imagery can be used to support a variety of missions with no expense, dependent on the requested resolution of the imagery.
The Eagle Vision team may not be widely known, but their mission has a worldwide impact.
“Eagle Vision 1 (EV-1) is an Air Force program designed to give commercial satellite imagery to users who would otherwise have challenges getting collection requirements met,” said Lt. Col. Thomas Place, 24th Intelligence Squadron commander.
Eagle Vision is the Department of Defense’s only deployable commercial satellite imagery downlink station centrally located in Europe. It uses commercial software to provide aerial electro-optical or radar imagery. It is no-cost and produces fast, unclassified imagery useful for a variety of military and humanitarian operations, Place said.
“The primary benefit of EV-1 is the classification of the images,” said Place. “All EV-1 images we provide can be shared with other organizations and our partner nations…without having the classification level distribution challenges.”
In July 2018, EV-1 provided imagery support to the Greek wildfires investigation and recovery operations within hours of international requests. Resulting in images depicting the before and after the fire in Rafina, Greece.
“We also collected for the Italian Ministry of Defense after their major earthquake,” said Staff Sgt. April Rascon, 24th IS EV 1 operator. “We provided them with before and after images to show the damage done by the earthquake.”
The EV 1 team works directly with their customers for the creation and completion of their imagery products. It is exciting to see the creation process of taking something from a blank piece of paper, where the customers often don’t know what they want, to building something that no one else has said Senior Airman Leslie Kiker, 24th IS EV 1 operator.
“You are really able to see a bunch of the different parts of the process,” said Kiker. “From meeting and creating relationships with the customer, where they know you and your work, to seeing the result and impact of your products; I don’t think a lot of folks get that experience.”
“We usually get to see the requirements come in, request the satellite for collection, downlink it and work it from a raw product into the final product,” said Tech. Sgt. Zachary Siefken 24th IS NCOIC, Eagle Vision. “There are not a lot of times in your career where you get to see that entire process from start to end, and we’re lucky to do this.”
Eagle Vision 1 is about innovation, integration and problem solving. The team tailors each request and product to its customer’s need. Every day they make a positive difference in European and Africa Command.
“Eagle Vision 1 is just a unique experience, especially in our career field, because there may be five EV 1 sites, but we’re the only active-duty site with imagery analyst positions,” said Rascon, adding that it is refreshing to see new Airmen come into EV-1 from other areas around the world.
“I take pride in knowing I’m 1 of 10 people selected out of a 100 in our squadron to come work in this area,” said Rascon.
For imagery requests or to learn more, please contact Eagle Vision 1 at 24IS.EagleVision@us.af.mil