|ACC UAV Support Team Member Wins International Award |
ACC UAV Support Team Member Wins International Award
By 2nd Lt. Erin Bradley, 1st Fighter Wing Public Affairs, July 23, 1998.
Langley Air Force Base, Va. (ACCNS) - A member of Air Combat Command's Unmanned Vehicle Systems Support Team recently proved himself to be a pioneer in more ways than one.
Lt. Col. Tony Stone, deputy chief of ACC's UAV Systems Support Team, was named the winner of the Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International Operations Award at a ceremony in Huntsville, Ala., June 11.
In addition to helping pioneer the military's role in this emerging field of technology, Stone has also done pioneering work on UAV's such as the Predator.
"Stone's hard-charging style ensured the RQ-1A Predator's successful integration into the combat air forces," said Maj. Gen. Ervin Sharpe, former ACC Air and Space Operations commander. "There is no other officer in the United States Air Force who can match his experience and vision when it comes to the area of unmanned aerial vehicles."
ACC's UAV section stood up as a new organization in June 1996. Though civilian organizations like AUVSI have existed for 26 years, no UAV programs had been incorporated into the Air Force prior to the organization's birth.
As the operations functional manager, Stone oversaw the development, integration and operation of UAVs for ACC since the organization's inception. This responsibility encompassed the development of all training, regulatory and procedural guidance.
"In less than three years, we've done what it takes the average squadron 12 to 15 years to do," said Stone. "We had no benchmarks to model ourselves after or learn from, so it wasn't easy, but we ended up with a tremendous mix of the right people at the right time, which enabled the program to get where it is today."
Stone also emphasized that UAVs will potentially change the face of the Air Force, so laying a strong foundation for the future of this program was of the utmost importance.
"This recognition is truly a testament to the vision, drive and dedication (Stone) unselfishly gave in bringing UAVs into our 21st century Air Force," said Sharpe.
Stone's capping achievement was as the principal author and editor of a volume of operational requirement procedures for the Predator, Global Hawk and Dark Star UAV systems, said Sharpe. Stone used first-hand experience gained from multiple field deployments to craft a strategy for how the Air Force will conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions in support of a joint force commander.
"It was a total shock to win," said Stone. "Not only did I not know I was nominated, I didn't know I was winning until five minutes before I received the award. It was a real thrill to stand up with legends in the UAV industry and win that award.
"But I don't really look at this as my award," said Stone. "I look at this as the division's award, because this is industry recognizing that we're integrating UAVs into the combat air forces right."