Marines

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Lance Cpl. Austin A. Haneline, an unmanned aerial vehicle operator with Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 4, Marine Aircraft Group 41, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, based in Camp Pendleton, California, not only flies UAVs with the Marine Corps, but also in his civilian career. UAVs are aircrafts operated without a human pilot aboard, and instead are operated by a ground-based controller and a system of communication between the two. (U.S. Marine Corps photo by Cpl. Alexis B. Rocha/released)

Photo by Cpl. Alexis Rocha

Hometown Heroes Lance Cpl. Austin Haneline

28 Jun 2018 | Cpl. Alexis Rocha Marine Corps Forces Reserves

Lance Cpl. Austin A. Haneline, an unmanned aerial vehicle operator with Marine Unmanned Aerial Vehicle Squadron 4, Marine Aircraft Group 41, 4th Marine Aircraft Wing, based in Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton, California, not only flies UAVs with the Marine Corps, but also in his civilian career.

Haneline, who is from Murrieta, California, joined the Marine Corps Reserve in 2014.

“The Marine Corps completely set up my life,” said Haneline. “I had no idea what I wanted to do. As soon as I joined, it really opened my eyes to what hard work is and what it means to be successful. And ever since I joined, I’ve wanted to do more and progress.”

After returning from his initial Marine Corps training, Haneline decided to find a job flying UAVs in the civilian world as well.

“I just wanted to deploy,” said Haneline. “I want to do my job and make a difference. So going overseas was the number one goal, and if I couldn’t do it right away in uniform, I wanted to go over as a contractor.”

Hanline operates the same model of UAVs for both the Marine Corps and his civilian career, and even as a civilian, he flies UAVs in support of military operations.

UAVs are aircrafts operated without a human pilot aboard, and instead are operated by a ground-based controller and a system of communication between the two.

“It’s really rewarding to still be in the fight, without actually being there,” said Haneline. “It’s really exciting, and it’s a different job every day.”

Hanline was one of 29 UAV operators with VMU-4 who received unmanned aerial systems breast insignia during a winging ceremony on June 17, 2018. A winging ceremony is a tradition in the armed forces, where after completing and passing all aviation requirements and classes, service members earn the right to wear pilot wings on their uniform. This winging ceremony was historic for the Marine Corps, as it is the first time the Marine Corps has winged UAV operators and enlisted Marines.

“UAVs are the future,” said Haneline. “They are able to take out the human aspect of Intelligence Surveillance and Reconnaissance. We are able to mitigate the human factor, and bring in unmanned assets. It is able to take people out of harm’s way, save lives, and we are able to do the same job and provide the same over watch for anyone that needs it.”

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