Fort Drum


Wed January 30, 2013
Regional Coverage

Owens: Fort Drum “in good shape” as Army considers cutbacks

The U.S. military is in the process of cutting almost half a trillion dollars from its budget over ten years. The Pentagon says the cuts will lead to a more agile force with a new strategic mission. A new Army report weighs alternatives for restructuring that could affect Fort Drum. Under one scenario, the post could see an increase of 3,000 soldiers, but under another, it could lose up to 8,000 soldiers and 15 percent of its civilian workforce.

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Thu January 24, 2013
Regional Coverage

Soldiers say women welcome in greater combat roles – as long as they can hold their own

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is expected to announce Thursday that a ban on women serving in combat roles in the military will be lifted over the coming years. Around heavily-deployed Fort Drum, soldiers generally welcomed the news – with some caveats.  

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Tue January 22, 2013
Regional Coverage

Wounded Fort Drum soldier calls president's inaugural address “on-the-job encouragement”

Specialist Jacob Owens attended the president's second inauguration Monday.
Credit Fort Drum Public Affairs

More than half a million people gathered on the National Mall in front of the Capitol to be a part of President Barack Obama's second inauguration. Among them were about 10 wounded warriors who have been recovering at Walter Reed hospital in Washington. Among that group were four Fort Drum soldiers. One, Specialist Jacob Owens, spoke with a reporter after a long day full of ceremony.

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Mon December 24, 2012
Regional Coverage

New database makes Fort Drum's historic cemeteries more accessible

Michael Sprowles, of Fort Drum's cultural resources office, checks a new map to locate grave sites at Sheepfold Cemetery on Fort Drum.
Joanna Richards WRVO

With the outbreak of World War Two, the Army installation then known as Pine Camp expanded, to become Camp Drum and eventually Fort Drum today. In the process, it swallowed up several villages, including their cemeteries.  Fort Drum researchers have created a database and new maps that will help family members of those buried at the cemeteries to find and visit their loved ones' gravesites, both in person and online.

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Fri December 14, 2012
Regional Coverage

Fort Drum's 2nd Brigade Combat Team prepares for Afghanistan deployment

Fort Drum's 2nd Brigade Combat Team members U.S. Army Maj. Marc Beckage, Maj. Nicholas Ploetz and Lt. Col. Eric Johnson, at a physical readiness training Aug. 8, 2012, at Fort Drum.
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. 

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Wed December 12, 2012
Regional Coverage

Vets Peer-to-Peer Outreach Center opens in Watertown

The new Vets Outreach Center opened its doors Friday in Watertown.
Joanna Richards/WRVO

A new center to help veterans through mental health problems opened Friday in Watertown. Veteran volunteers will help their peers get the services they need.

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Mon December 3, 2012
Regional Coverage

New commanding general takes helm at Fort Drum

Major General Stephen Townsend has taken over as commanding general of Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division.

Major General Stephen Townsend has taken over command of Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division following a ceremony at the post yesterday morning.  

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Mon November 19, 2012
Regional Coverage

Soldiers, families reflect on fidelity in wake of Petraeus's affair

Marital fidelity is a sensitive subject for many in the military. Relationships are stressed by distance, frequent moves and the dangers of war. Gen. David Petraeus's admission that he had an extramarital affair has led some Fort Drum families to reflect on the difficulties of keeping their personal relationships whole – and their image among a public that often doesn't understand their culture. 

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Mon November 19, 2012
National Security

Military Moral Code

Originally published on Tue November 20, 2012 10:38 am



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.

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Fri November 2, 2012

Ann Marie Buerkle on the Campbell Conversations

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.

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Thu October 11, 2012
Regional Coverage

Ft. Drum and community work to provide mental health services

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.

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Fri September 28, 2012
Regional Coverage

Watertown Airport recieves federal grant for improvements

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.

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Mon September 10, 2012

Army Aims To Use Words, Not Weapons, With Afghans

Originally published on Mon September 10, 2012 6:53 pm

U.S. Army soldiers learn to play khosai, Afghanistan's full-contact national pastime, at Fort Campbell.
Blake Farmer for NPR

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.

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Fri August 3, 2012
Regional Coverage

Division-wide training exercises at Fort Drum stretch soldiers' skills

Soldiers fire into a mock Afghan village at Fort Drum during division-wide Mountain Peak training exercises.
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.

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Tue July 31, 2012
Regional Coverage

Family, friends remember Sgt. Daniel Rodriguez as community turns out for Carthage funeral

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.  

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Tue July 3, 2012
Regional Coverage

Fort Drum soldier becomes U.S. citizen at White House ceremony

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.

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Fri April 27, 2012
Regional Coverage

Fort Drum eyed by House Republicans for new missile defense site

High angle view of the ramp at Wheeler Sack Army Airfield, Fort Drum, New York (NY), during the Hawgsmoke 2002 Competition, showing US Air Force (USAF) Air National Guard (ANG), maintenance personnel preparing A-10 Thunderbolt II aircraft for competition.
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.

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Sun April 22, 2012
Regional Coverage

Fort Drum contributes $1.6 billion to region's economy in 2011

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.

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Thu March 29, 2012
Regional Coverage

State health commissioner bans sale of synthetic marijuana

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.

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Fri March 2, 2012
Regional Coverage

Fort Drum Unit given poor review by Dept. of Defense's Inspector General

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. 

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Wed December 14, 2011
Regional Coverage

Ft. Drum soldier receives medal for heroism after Thruway bus crash

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. 

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Tue October 18, 2011
Politics and Government

Gillibrand: Defense cuts are coming

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. 

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Fri October 14, 2011
Regional Coverage

174th Fighter Wing in Syracuse to begin operating unmanned aerial vehicle out of Fort Drum

MQ-9 Reaper
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.

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Tue October 11, 2011
Regional Coverage

Fort Drum soldier talks about life both before and after Don't Ask Don't Tell

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.

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Fri September 9, 2011
Regional Coverage

After 9-11: The Effects of 10 Years of War on Military Families

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.

© Copyright 2011, wrvo