Fort Drum

Military Moral Code

Nov 19, 2012

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

Marital fidelity is a sensitive subject for many in the military. Relationships are often strained by distance, frequent moves, the dangers of war. Gen. David Petraeus' admission that he had an extramarital affair has led some military families to reflect on the difficulties of keeping their personal relationships whole. Reporter Joanna Richards spoke with families from the Army's 10th Mountain Division, based at Fort Drum, in upstate New York.

The race for New York’s 24th congressional district seat has easily been the most intense political contest in this region, pitting incumbent Republican Ann Marie Buerkle against Democratic challenger Dan Maffei, in a bitter rematch. Ursula Rozum has also run a spirited Green Party challenge, which could influence the outcome.

For the first time since Fort Drum's expansion after the terrorist attack of 9/11, all of its three brigade combat teams are back home at the post.  After multiple deployments in two wars spanning 11 years, the soldiers' needs for mental health services are unprecedented, and complicated. Fort Drum and the surrounding community are cooperating to respond to those needs.

Watertown Airport recieves federal grant for improvements

Sep 28, 2012

The Watertown International Airport has seen huge growth in the past year, with a switch from nine-seater to 44-seater planes and direct connections to Chicago. Now the airport will be able to catch up on some overdue infrastructure, with a $2 million grant from the federal government.

The U.S. Army has been ramping up instruction in the languages of Afghanistan, even as troop levels in the country decrease in preparation for the U.S. troop withdrawal in 2014.

This year, key installations have added several hundred speakers of Pashto and Dari to their ranks, more than doubling the number of soldiers trained in the Afghan languages.

But it's not just the country's languages that are foreign to U.S. soldiers — it's the culture, as well.

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.

Joanna Richards / WRVO

The remains of a Fort Drum soldier killed in Afghanistan earlier this month returned to home of the 10th Mountain Division on Sunday, and his funeral was held yesterday in Carthage, in Jefferson County.

At 28 years old, Staff Sergeant Daniel Rodriguez had a wife and three children – and four combat tours under his belt after 10 years of service in the Army.

Those who knew him said Rodriguez will be remembered for his humor, the love he had for his family, and the commitment he had to his military career.  

It's a national tradition for naturalization ceremonies for new U.S. citizens to be performed on Independence Day. This year,  a Fort Drum soldier participated in a ceremony at the White House on July 4.

Aniks the 1 via Flickr

Fort Drum is being eyed as a possible location for a new East Coast missile defense site. Republicans in the House Armed Services committee called this week for a study on the issue.

Everyone in the north country recognizes that Fort Drum plays a huge role in the region's economy. Just how big is the subject of a report the post puts out every year, called the annual economic impact statement. This year's report says Fort Drum contributed over $1.6 billion dollars in spending in the 2011 fiscal year.

New York State has banned the sale of synthetic marijuana products. Marketed as “herbal incense” and sold under names like Spice and K2, the fake pot has been popular with people across the North Country—including Fort Drum soldiers. The post near Watertown recently announced it would ban soldiers from spending money at any businesses that sell synthetic pot. But it now seems that won’t be necessary.

A unit at Fort Drum charged with helping wounded soldiers transition to civilian life was given a scathing review in a report by the Department of Defense Inspector General's Office. According to the report, the Warrior Transition Battalion was seen as a “dumping ground” rather than a place to help soldiers heal. Medical recommendations were ignored, and morale was low, with some soldiers saying they'd rather be in jail or being “shot at in Iraq” than in the battalion. 

Fort Drum soldier Sergeant Jacob Perkins was awarded the Soldier's Medal Tuesday afternoon at the installation. The medal is given to soldiers for heroism outside the battlefield. Sergeant Perkins came to the aid of a group of Canadian tourists in July, when their tour bus collided with a semi trailer on the Thruway in Waterloo, New York, between Syracuse and Rochester. 

New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand says defense cuts are coming, and they will be big.  She says at least $450 billion in cuts are expected in the next decade, and that number could go higher depending on what happens with the congressional super-committee in the coming months. 

Photo from the U.S.Air Force

The 174th Fighter Wing based at Hancock Field in Syracuse is about to begin operating an unmanned aerial vehicle, the MQ-9, out of Fort Drum. The 174th already conducts MQ-9 flights in Afghanistan, flights which are controlled from an operations center at Hancock Field. The partnership with Fort Drum will allow the unit to train Air Force and Air National Guard troops from around the country on flying the MQ-9.

WRVO's Joanna Richards meets with "Ryan" and his partner, "Billy", who speak about life in the military before and after the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell.

WATERTOWN, NY (wrvo) - We take a close look at life at the tip of the spear. America has been at war for nearly 10 years now.

While the changes brought about by the 9/11 attacks have affected us all, the effects have been the harshest for members of the military and their families.

WRVO's Joanna Richards spent time this wee with soldiers and their families at Fort Drum in Watertown to talk about ther lives in the years since 9/11.

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