Fort Drum

6:47am

Wed July 16, 2014
Drones

Crashed Air Force drone was flying with gear that couldn't handle cold

An MQ-9 Reaper drone in the hanger at Hancock Airfield in Syracuse. (File photo)
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Besides some clouds on Nov. 12, 2013, Air National Guard crew members recalled to accident investigators that it was a nice day for flying.

But it was a cold, late fall day, just below freezing on the ground at Fort Drum, where the Air National Guard launches its remotely piloted aircraft for training missions over upstate New York. 

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4:06pm

Thu July 10, 2014
Politics

Moss emphasizes importance of Fort Drum during visit to North Country

Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss.
Ellen Abbott WRVO

The Republican candidate for lieutenant governor in New York state is spending part of today in the North Country.   

Chemung County Sheriff Chris Moss says his message is aimed at the area around Fort Drum, and that he and gubernatorial candidate Rob Astorino know how important that military base is to the local economy.

“Over $1 billion I think last year alone goes out to the community," Moss said. "So Fort Drum is very important to that part of the state. It’s important that we keep it open and keep jobs there.”

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2:37pm

Thu July 3, 2014
Regional Coverage

Fort Drum unlikely to house Central American immigrant children

Sen. Charles Schumer (D-NY) says the chances are slim that undocumented children caught trying to cross the US-Mexican border illegally will be housed at Fort Drum.

The Army base is reportedly being considered to house hundreds of Central American immigrant children under a government program as soon as August

But Schumer says he’s spoken with officials at the Department of Health and Human Services:

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12:58pm

Tue July 1, 2014
drones

Air Guard's drone crash caused by multiple malfunctions

Ryan Delaney WRVO

Multiple communication and navigation failures on 174th Air National Guard Attack Wing's MQ-9 Reaper unmanned drone flying over central New York last November caused it to crash in Lake Ontario.

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3:45pm

Tue April 8, 2014
drones

Investigation into drone crash nearing completion

An MQ-9 Reaper drone operated by the 174th Air National Guard Attack Wing at Hancock Airfield.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

The Air Force's investigation into the crash of a drone aircraft into Lake Ontario last fall is nearing completion and should be made public later this spring.

Investigators from the Air Force Investigations Board wrapped up the on-site investigation at Hancock Airfield on March 20, according to 174th Air Guard Attack Wing spokeswoman Maj. Sandy Stoquert.

Investigators did not give the 174th a preliminary report or portions of its finding yet, Stoquert said.

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6:39am

Thu March 20, 2014
Regional Coverage

Schumer vows to fight troop reduction at Fort Drum

Sen. Charles Schumer says he will use his politial power to protect Fort Drum from further cuts.
David Sommerstein NCPR

New York Sen. Chuck Schumer says he’s not afraid to use his political might to protect Fort Drum from cuts to the military budget. Schumer held a press conference at Watertown City Hall Wednesday as the Pentagon prepares to axe up to 100,000 Army troops.

The possibility of an Army downsizing to 1940s levels is fraying nerves in military communities nationwide. But on Monday, concern deepened. The Army circulated a sort of worst-case scenario report – and it included assessing the loss of nearly 90 percent of the troops stationed at Fort Drum.

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6:35am

Thu February 27, 2014
Regional Coverage

Ft. Drum may fare better than other bases, but cuts still likely

A training exercise at Fort Drum in August 2012 simulates the response to a helicopter crash.
Joanna Richards WRVO

Since Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel detailed his proposal for deep military cutbacks Monday, officials in Watertown have been trying to divine what that could mean for Fort Drum. They believe the Army post is well-positioned – but that doesn’t mean it won’t take a hit.

The military is already in downsizing mode as the war in Afghanistan winds down. But Hagel’s plan calls for deeper cuts, including shrinking the Army to its smallest size since before World War II.

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6:44am

Thu February 20, 2014
Regional Coverage

Army officers anxious as they await word of cuts

A soldier trains at Fort Drum
Joanna Richards

In any company town, when the major employer is planning layoffs, people get worried. How will they earn a living if they lose their job? How will they remake their identity?

This is the picture for many Army officers stationed at Fort Drum. By early summer, some will find out they have to go.

It’s part of an overall downsizing of the military as the war in Afghanistan winds down. Evaluations this spring will determine whether some officers can stay in the service.

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5:30am

Mon February 3, 2014
Regional Coverage

Fort Drum among four locations to be studied for East Coast missile defense site

A 10th Mountain Division soldier trains at Fort Drum.
Credit Joanna Richards

The Defense Department has named Fort Drum as one of four military installations to house a possible East Coast missile defense facility. 

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10:02pm

Thu January 2, 2014
Regional Coverage

Drum soldiers' housing allowance up, but rents still expected to stabilize

John Bartow, executive director of the Tug Hill Commission, says despite the housing allowance for Fort Drum soldiers rising again this year, rents are stabilizing in the region.
Credit Joanna Richards

The growth of Fort Drum and its fluctuating soldier population have always complicated the housing market around Watertown. But the Army post throws another factor into the mix: soldier’s housing allowances. They just went up.

As of January 1, the Basic Allowance for Housing, or BAH, rates across the military went up an average of 5 percent. In the Fort Drum area, it’s up around 13 percent. Junior enlisted soldiers have gone from receiving $948 per month to $1,071 per month, to cover the cost of housing and utilities.    

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5:30am

Mon December 30, 2013
Regional Coverage

Money to expand drone hangar at Fort Drum

Trainees work on an MQ-9 Reaper drone at Hancock Field in Syracuse.
Credit David Sommerstein

Not long after a military drone crashed into Lake Ontario in November, the program that aircraft belonged to is getting a boost with funding from the 2014 defense spending bill signed into law last week. The money will go toward expanding a storage and maintenance facility at Fort Drum.   

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10:28pm

Thu December 12, 2013
The Upstate Economy

Drum numbers likely dropping – but no cause for alarm

The 10th Mountain Division's Headquarters in the field during the division-wide Mountain Peak training exercise at Fort Drum, August, 2012.
Credit Joanna Richards

The Watertown area’s economy is heavily dependent on Fort Drum. With the federal budget sequester on and the Afghanistan war winding down, the numbers of soldiers assigned to the post and civilians working there is likely to decrease. But the outlook is more complicated than just doom and gloom.

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8:26pm

Thu November 14, 2013
Regional Coverage

Military finds pieces of crashed drone; investigation continues

An MQ-9 Reaper drone, like this one seen in a hanger at Hancock Airfield, crashed Tuesday into Lake Ontario. The MQ-9s are operated by the 174th Attack Wing of the Air National Guard.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Updated, Thursday, 8:26 p.m.:

The Air National Guard has found pieces of its unmanned drone that crashed into Lake Ontario earlier this week.

Recovery efforts continued on Thursday and debris was found along the shoreline, according to Maj. Sandy Stoquert, a public affairs officer for the 174th Attack Wing based in Syracuse.

The MQ-9 Reaper crashed into the eastern part of the lake Tuesday afternoon during a training flight that had taken off three hours earlier from Ft. Drum.

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7:40am

Wed October 2, 2013
Regional Coverage

Fort Drum civilian workers hit with furloughs, again

Dougtone Creative Commons License

Fort Drum is among the many arms of the federal government dealing with furloughs as a result of the government shutdown. Workers deemed non-essential were sent home midday yesterday.

A division spokeswoman said the timing is bad for the post, because because it comes on top of a nearly two-year hiring freeze that has many departments already down to bare bones staffing. And this is a busy time for Fort Drum, with multiple units preparing for imminent deployments, and others returning and going through reintegration.

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6:26am

Fri September 27, 2013
Regional Coverage

U.S. Defense Secretary calls for military security reviews

The mass shooting at the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard earlier this month prompted Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel to call for security reviews at all military facilities. Fort Drum declined to comment on how the post is being affected by that decision, but this week the Department of Defense gave details about how the larger review process would take shape.
 

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12:17am

Wed September 18, 2013
Regional Coverage

Sequester may mean more cutbacks at Fort Drum

Soldiers participate in a homecoming ceremony at Fort Drum.
Credit WRVO file photo

Fort Drum may be facing personnel cutbacks as a result of the federal budget reductions known as sequestration. The post submitted recommendations to the Department of the Army about how it would want to make the cuts, if needed.  

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5:45pm

Tue September 17, 2013
Regional Coverage

Former 10th Mountain Division soldier to receive Medal of Honor

Captain William Swenson, pictured during his 2009 deployment to Afghanistan with the Army's 10th Mountain Division, will receive the Medal of Honor for his actions during combat there.
Credit Fort Drum

A former 10th Mountain Division soldier will receive the nation's highest military award, the Medal of Honor, for his actions during a 2009 battle in Afghanistan. 

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8:26am

Fri September 13, 2013
Regional Coverage

Fort Drum shortlisted for missile defense site that may never be built

A missile interceptor site in Alaska.
U.S. Army. Some rights reserved.

The Department of Defense is including Fort Drum, near Watertown, as one of five sites to be studied for a new East Coast missile defense program. Local officials hailed the decision. But the Pentagon itself says it has no money to build the site.

Fort Drum will be considered along with Camp Ethan Allen in Jericho, Vermont, and military sites in Maine, Ohio, and Michigan.

Cong. Bill Owens says a missile interceptor base would bring billions of dollars in investments and more troops to the Jefferson County region.

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5:46pm

Mon August 5, 2013
Transportation

Military drones will soon be flying over Syracuse

Col. Greg Semmel, commander of the 174th Air National Guard Attack Wing, discusses plans to fly drone training missions over Syracuse, N.Y.
Ryan Delaney WRVO

Central New York's Air National Guard unit, the 174th Attack Wing, will soon be flying drone training flights over a large portion of the city of Syracuse.

The 174th was granted permission from the Federal Aviation Administration last month to expand its permitted airspace south into Oswego, Madison and Onondaga Counties. The airspace includes the northern half of Syracuse and stretches from Camillus to Fayetteville from west to east.

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12:44am

Tue July 9, 2013
Regional Coverage

Fort Drum civilian worker furloughs begin

Fort Drum Garrison Commander Colonel Gary Rosenberg said soldiers and their family members, the post's civilian workforce, and and the community surrounding Fort Drum all will feel the effects of mandatory employee furloughs over the next 11 weeks.
Joanna Richards/WRVO

Civilian employee furloughs start at Fort Drum this week, as part of the federal budget cuts known as sequestration. Non-uniformed workers face one mandatory unpaid day off each week for 11 weeks. About 1,800 workers – and many services on post – are affected.

Uniformed members of the military are exempt from the furloughs, but that doesn't mean they won't be affected by them.

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2:17am

Fri June 28, 2013
Regional Coverage

North Country's economy can survive troop cut at Fort Drum, community leaders say

Fort Drum soldiers mark the departure of the 10th Sustainment Brigade for an Afghanistan deployment in October 2011.
Credit Joanna Richards/WRVO

When the Army announced earlier this week that Fort Drum would lose 1,500 soldiers as part of a plan to reduce troops across the force, north country community leaders started trying to figure out what the impact would be.

They seem to agree that Fort Drum escaped this round of personnel cuts relatively unscathed.

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10:28am

Thu June 27, 2013
Regional Coverage

A behind-the-scenes look at Fort Drum soldier training

Watertown City Manager Sharon Addison speaks with a soldier over a lunch of MREs - meals ready-to-eat.
Joanna Richards/WRVO

In the communities surrounding Fort Drum, soldiers in uniform are a common sight: they're in the grocery store with their families, standing in line at the post office, or having a beer with friends after work. But for many of the area's civilians, what soldiers do on post remains something of a mystery. An annual event at Fort Drum aims to fix that.

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9:19pm

Tue June 25, 2013
Regional Coverage

Fort Drum to lose 1,500 troops under Army plan

A homecoming ceremony at Fort Drum.
Credit NCPR File Photo

The Army announced Tuesday that Fort Drum will lose about 1,500 soldiers over the next four years as part of an overall reduction in troops across the Army. 

The Army had said the post could lose as many as 8,000 soldiers – or gain as many as 3,000 – under the planned troop reduction and reorganization as the Afghanistan war winds down.

Democratic Congressman Bill Owens, of Plattsburgh, said the news of the 1,500-soldier loss gave him a sense of relief, since the cuts could have been much deeper.

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8:49am

Thu June 13, 2013
Regional Coverage

Comptroller DiNapoli: Watertown in good fiscal health

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli discusses Watertown's fiscal health and his office's new financial "stress test" program Wednesday in Watertown.
Credit Joanna Richards

State Comptroller Tom DiNapoli came to Watertown on Wednesday to commend the city's leadership on its sound financial stewardship. DiNapoli's office is rolling out a program of annual fiscal “stress tests” for municipalities and school districts. And the comptroller said Watertown sets an example for prudent financial planning. 

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8:46am

Wed June 5, 2013
Regional Coverage

Old coal plant on Fort Drum reopens as biomass facility

ReEnergy Chief Executive Officer Larry Richardson speaks during the grand opening of the company's new biomass plant on Fort Drum.
Joanna Richards WRVO

A once-idled coal plant on Fort Drum has been given new life. ReEnergy Black River is creating dozens of new jobs in the North Country – while maintaining a focus on the environment.

State and local officials gathered recently at the facility to celebrate its grand opening.

Over the past year and a half, New York-based company ReEnergy Holdings has retrofitted the plant on Fort Drum to burn biomass instead of coal. Its primary fuel will be wood chips, created from the waste of the nearby logging industry on the Tug Hill Plateau and southwestern Adirondacks.

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11:14pm

Mon May 6, 2013
Regional Coverage

Fort Drum's frequent deployments expected “til the end” in Afghanistan

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.  

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6:58am

Mon April 29, 2013
Regional Coverage

Community comes out to support Fort Drum as Army reorganizes

State Sen. Patty Ritchie speaks in support of Fort Drum at a community listening session hosted by the Army Thursday at Case Middle School in Watertown.
Credit Joanna Richards / WRVO

About 200 community members turned up in a school auditorium in Watertown Thursday night in a showing of regional support for Fort Drum. The event was billed as a “listening session” for the Army, to inform a process of personnel cutbacks and reorganization currently affecting military installations around the country.  

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10:38am

Thu April 25, 2013
Regional Coverage

Father, daughter Fort Drum soldiers will deploy together to Afghanistan

Joanna Richards

An unusual pair of “battle buddies” is about to deploy to Afghanistan from Fort Drum. Michael and Miranda Mogg are a father-daughter pair of soldiers with the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade of the Army's 10th Mountain Division.

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4:06pm

Wed April 24, 2013
Energy

Army bases' land is resource for generating energy

Fort Drum sits on more that 107,000 acres in northern New York.
U.S. Army

The U.S. military is the largest consumer of energy in the federal government. But it also has a tremendous resource for generating its own energy: all the land bases sit on.

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8:40am

Tue April 16, 2013
The Upstate Economy

North Country economic council gets crash course on Fort Drum's impact

Dougtone Creative Commons License

The North Country Regional Economic Development Council, or REDC, held its most recent meeting at Fort Drum last week. The idea was to give members from the region's seven counties greater insight into how the Army post interacts with the local economy. The council also took steps to implement a new program for water and sewer project infrastructure.  

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