Folks who live around Fort Hood may soon notice what looks like military drones flying around on post.
The Gray Eagle is the Army's newest in unmanned surveillance aircraft, and Fort Hood's newly activated aviation unit performed its first daytime training flight Wednesday.
The 21st Cavalry Brigade has been taking the Gray Eagle out on nighttime training flights since January 30.
Now they want the public to know that daytime flights will become more frequent.
That's because though some people might tend think the Gray Eagle is some sort of attack drone, it's only an unarmed surveillance aircraft.
Its training flights only fly over Fort Hood.
"When people are out there, driving around, and they happen to see us flying over 190 or anywhere else, they need to understand that we're just another Army asset," said CPT Thomas Simpson, who oversees the unit's aircraft operations.
The Gray Eagle isn't peeking into windows or tapping in to private conversations.
"We operate the same way as all of the other aircrafts do here at Robert Gray Airfield, under the same rules and regulations that are governed by the FAA and by the Army," said CPT Simpson.
What the soldiers are doing is training to watch over troops on the battlefield.
"There being hostile activity, we're able to see the people on the ground and communicate and tell them where the enemies are at, and be able to see stuff coming, and it just saves lives all around," said Jacob Presnell, an aircraft operator.
Now that this is all happening at Fort Hood, soldiers don't have to leave home to get this type of training experience.
"Previously we had to send soldiers away from their homes and away from their families. Now we have the capability to do that at their home station here at Fort Hood," said COL Neil Hersey, the new brigade's commander.
CPT Simpson says, "What we do here is just another day at the office. It's exciting, but it's also routine, and it's nothing to be afraid of."
Wednesday's daytime flight marked the completion of 100 hours of incident free flying for the unit.
It's a major step toward gaining their certification.
The Gray Eagle is designed to fly higher and longer than its predecessors.
It can stay in the air for up to 24 hours.
Reporter: Sophia Stamas firstname.lastname@example.org
Photographer: Chris Buford email@example.com