NY Air Guard shows off at New York State Fair

  • Published
  • By Master Sgt. Barbara Olney

New York State Fair, Syracuse – The New York State Fair Grounds Exposition Center is the center of the action at the annual fair, and this year an MQ-9 Reaper from the New York Air National Guard’s 174th Attack Wing is at the center of the Expo Center.

The MQ-9 is the centerpiece of an exhibit that highlights the 174th Attack Wing and the opportunities for service with the wing.

The Great New York State Fair opened on August 19 and runs through Sept. 6.

Along with the actual remotely piloted aircraft the wing flies, fair visitors also get a chance to check out a simulated ground control station and experience what it is like controlling an MQ-9 that is flying thousands of miles away.

Fair visitor Harry Fisher, a Rochester resident, said he was pretty impressed by the technology.

“It’s fascinating. The pilot could be sitting here in Syracuse and watching a forest fire in California, Fisher said. “This thing is amazing!”

“The 174th Attack Wing is very fortunate to have been afforded the space in the Expo Center by the state fair administration, “said Col. Charles Hutson, 174th Attack Wing vice commander. “We want as many people as possible to visit us, see the MQ9, and talk to our airmen,” Hutson added.

The state fair’s director, Troy Waffner, worked with the wing to make sure they had the space and security to exhibit the high-tech aircraft which has a wingspan of 66 feet,” Hutson said.

Along with the MQ-9, the exhibit highlights the other mission performed by 174th Attack Wing Airmen.

The 174th Mission Support Group Logistics Readiness Squadron is showcasing their humvees along with their utility all-terrain vehicle. Fair visitors were given the chance to sit inside a humvee and get their picture taken.

The 174th Security Forces Squadron as one of their police cars on display while the 174th Force Support Squadron has a Single Pallet Expeditionary Kitchen, a mobile kitchen setup called SPEK for short, at the exhibit.

The 174th Communications Flight created an environment to attract young gamers by incorporating a Nintendo Switch game system in their display. They are using the game to teach about network security.

A firetruck and snowplow from the wing’s civil engineering squadron are also on show.

“We can’t showcase everything we do but at least we can draw people in with some of the flashy stuff so we can talk to them”, said Senior Master Sgt. Joseph Straub, the 174th Security Forces Squadron operations superintendent.

“The main goal is to talk with the community and educate visitors on what the wing does,” explained Lt. Cassandra Kraemer, the wing’s equal opportunity director and New York Air National Guard coordinator for the fair activities.

Along with the “stuff” on display, 300 Airmen are taking turns manning the exhibit and talking to visitors about their jobs in the Air National Guard.

“Our purpose at the state fair is to build community relations and show what the 174th Attack Wing does and to gain potential recruits” said Chief Master Sgt. Thomas Moade, 174th Logistics Readiness Squadron’s distribution flight superintendent.

Julie Kent, a visitor from Rome, said that the wing had succeeded in getting her family interested in what Airmen do.

“The displays draw more people, especially those with kids because they will ask more questions,” Kent said.