Julia Botero / WRVO News

President Barack Obama announced his decision Thursday to delay the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan. This is a big departure from Obama’s original plan to remove almost all troops by the end of his presidency. But, Fort Drum's commanding general says he isn’t surprised by the news.

Tom Magnarelli / WRVO News

A coalition of peace organizations are making a 165-mile walk from Syracuse’s Hancock Air Base to the Niagara Falls Air Base, to bring attention to the military's drone operations that take place there. One of the goals is to educate the public on what it is like being in Afghanistan, where the fear of drones is a part of life for many.

For Julienne Oldfield and about 20 others, the day started at the Hancock Air Base where protesters have rallied against drone warfare for years.

Fort Drum soldier killed in Afghanistan

Sep 23, 2015
2nd Battalian, Fort Drum

A Fort Drum soldier died Monday in Bagram, Afghanistan. Specialist Kyle Gilbert of Buford Georgia was 24.

This is the first death of a Fort Drum soldier in this latest cycle of deployments. Combat missions in Iraq and Afghanistan came to a close at the end of last year. This summer, Fort Drum soldiers began deploying to Iraq and Afghanistan this time to train and advise Afghan and Iraqi forces.

Gilbert died of a non-combat related injury. The Department of Defense says they're investigating the incident that led to his injury.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

Every year, family and friends gather at Fort Drum to remember the soldiers who lost their lives in the past year fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Tuesday, Fort Drum and Army officials thanked them for their sacrifice.

Since the September 11th terrorist attacks, 309 Fort Drum combat soldiers lost their lives fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Julia Botero / WRVO News

All units at Fort Drum will likely deploy overseas within the next 13 months. That’s according to the military base’s new commanding general, Maj. Gen. Jeffery Bannister. He sat down with local reporters last week to address what’s in store for soldiers stationed at Fort Drum. 

Bannister said the changing nature of the U.S. presence in Iraq and Afghanistan is changing  the way troops are deployed  at Fort Drum.  They will still go to those countries but they will also go to other strategic locations around the world.  

Julia Botero / WRVO News

Maj. Gen. Jeffery Bannister has officially become the new commanding general of the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, after a change of command ceremony on post Wednesday. 

Soldiers and a small audience stood at attention as the 10th Mountain Division band honored outgoing commanding general Maj. Gen. Stephen Townsend with ruffles and flourishes and a gun salute.

More Fort Drum soldiers will deploy to Afghanistan

Feb 27, 2015
Julia Botero / WRVO News


More Fort Drum troops got official orders to ship off to Afghanistan. They will leave this spring and summer. 

Over 1,600 soldiers with the 2nd Brigade Combat Team will do one of three things in southern Afghanistan: One, protect U.S. forces on bases; two, serve as staff with the Train Advise Assist Command unit; or three advise the Afghan National Army and police.

General Atomics Aeronautics

A small group of soldiers from Fort Drum’s 10th Combat Aviation Brigade will be the first from Fort Drum to deploy to Afghanistan this year. The unit will operate new Gray Eagle drones as part of the new mission in that country.  

Only ten units in the Army can  operate these drones. Fort Drum's Delta Company is one of them.  Major Josh Jacques  is a spokesmen for Fort Drum.  He says the Gray Eagles will act as the eyes for ground troops in Afghanistan.

Julia Botero / WRVO

President Barack Obama officially declared the war in Afghanistan over at the end of 2014, but he also promised to send more U. S. troops to the country to train Afghan security forces. The Army has not identified who those soldiers will be, but leaders with Fort Drum's 10th Mountain Division are confident they will be among the first to head back to Afghanistan.

Julia Botero / WRVO

Fort Drum commemorated the end of its combat role in Afghanistan Monday. Most of the 10th Mountain Division is now back for the holidays, but the U.S. Army will continue its mission in Afghanistan.

At Monday's welcome home ceremony, Annie Costellano-Rios chats with two women as they wait for band to start up. Her husband is a 10th Sustainment Brigade commander - the most recent to deploy to Afghanistan and one of the last to return.

"I'm glad they are home," Costellano-Rios said. "It was a long nine months, or 10 months actually, wasn't it?"

Gov. Andrew Cuomo speaks about father Mario Cuomo's love of Fort Drum

Dec 9, 2014
Karen Dewitt / WRVO

After Gov. Andrew Cuomo participated in Monday's homecoming ceremony at Fort Drum, he was asked by a reporter about his father, former Gov. Mario Cuomo and the work he did with Fort Drum while he was in office.

Former Gov. Mario Cuomo has reportedly been hospitalized for several weeks because of a heart condition, and his son has not spoken much in public about his father's health.

The current governor said he and one of his daughters visited his father Sunday night and told him the 82 year-old he would be visiting Fort Drum the next day.

Julia Botero / WRVO

Fort Drum held a ceremony Monday to commemorate the 10th Mountain Division's 13-year involvement in Afghanistan. Gov. Andrew Cuomo made a last minute appearance, joining Secretary of the Army John McHugh and other state and national leaders who were there.

The 10th Mountain Division was the first to be deployed to Afghanistan after September 11, 2001. Within the last year and a half, every brigade of the 10th Mountain Division has been deployed to the country.

governorandrewcuomo / Flickr

Gov. Andrew Cuomo says he plans to visit Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic before Election Day.

Cuomo, speaking after marching in the Columbus Day parade, says he wants to make a trip to Puerto Rico and the Dominican Republic in the next couple of weeks.

“I’d like to get there before Election Day,” Cuomo said. “As a sign of respect to those two communities that I’ve worked with for a very long time.”

U.S. Army photo by Master Sgt. Kap Kim

Gov. Andrew Cuomo spent the weekend in Afghanistan, as part of a contingent of four U.S. governors on a trip to learn about counterterrorism measures.

Cuomo and the other governors were invited by the Defense Department, to receive briefings on counterterrorism efforts and increasing global threats, and to meet with the troops, including 270 Members of the New York National Guard and 900 members of Fort Drum’s 10th Mountain Division.

Cuomo held a conference call with reporters while in Afghanistan.

Tom Magnarelli/WRVO

Rep. Dan Maffei (D-Syracuse) is still concerned over how the White House handled the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl from captivity in Afghanistan, saying some things were done right, but others wrong.

Bergdahl was freed from five years of imprisonment under the Taliban in Afghanistan about two weeks ago. In exchange, five Taliban prisoners in American custody were released. 

Bergdahl returned to the United States early Friday morning to an Army medical center in San Antonio, Texas, after receiving treatment at a military medical facility in Germany. 

Ryan Delaney / WRVO

Rep. Dan Maffei is taking a wait-and-see approach on his opinion over the release of U.S. Army soldier Bowe Bergdahl from captivity in Afghanistan.

Bergdahl's freedom was negotiated in exchange for five suspected terrorists in American custody. It's drawn sharp criticism from members of Congress, particularly over their lack of prior knowledge. There are also questions over the circumstances of Bergdahl's capture and nearly five year detainment.

Join us on Sunday, April 27 at 7:00 p.m. as we bring you a conversation on the future of Afghanistan. With Afghans currently choosing a successor to President Hamid Karzai, America Abroad, DC public radio station WAMU 88.5 and Afghanistan channel TOLOnews connected audiences, along with a panel of experts in Washington and Kabul, for an international town hall.

In 2012, the voters in the 24th Congressional district gave Dan Maffei a second chance when they chose him to replace Ann Marie Buerkle, after she had defeated him just two years before.  Now a year in to his new term in office, Maffei sits down with host Grant Reeher to discuss unemployment benefits, economic inequality, Obamacare, Afghanistan, and whether Congress is becoming more functional.

It's a busy time for Fort Drum, near Watertown. Even as the Army prepares to leave Afghanistan, the post has parts of two brigades deployed. Its aviation unit is about to ship off for a nine-month tour. And the 10th Mountain Division is expecting more orders from the Pentagon soon.  

Onondaga County lawmakers this month approved a new staff member for the Veterans Service Agency. an increase of returning veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan is putting more stress on the agency.

Capt. Michael Greenberger, Department of Defense CC some rights reserved via Flickr

Fort Drum's 2nd Brigade Combat Team is preparing for a January deployment to eastern Afghanistan. The deployment marks a shift for troops from combat to advising and assisting the Afghan security forces. 

Joanna Richards/WRVO

From July 23 until today, Fort Drum has been holding its biggest training exercise in a decade. WRVO Reporter Joanna Richards donned body armor and a helmet to observe the maneuvers – and find out how they prepare soldiers for war.

Ann Wright and Kathy Kelly were both in Syracuse this week to be sentenced for their part in the protests against the MQ-9 Reaper drones in Afghanistan, which are being flown remotely from Hancock Field.