174th Fighter Wing Opens Doors to Local Media
By Staff Sgt. Ricky Best, 174th Fighter Wing
/ Published October 19, 2011
Hancock Field Air National Guard Base -- The 174th Fighter Wing, working out of its launch and recovery site at Wheeler-Sack Army Air Field (AAF) on Ft. Drum NY, hosted a local media open house on 5 October 2011. The media was given an up-close look at the Wing' s new MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft and ground-based cockpit during pre-flight operations, as well as the chance to meet Airmen who will take advantage of the realistic training scenarios afforded by flying out of Ft. Drum.
"We are entering a new era of jointness with the 174th Fighter Wing," said Col. Noel Nicolle, Ft. Drum Garrison Commander during his introductory remarks. "With the 174th actually here on the installation with us, flying the MQ-9, this just pushes us that much farther into a great training environment where we are actually training the way we fight down range."
In addition to touring the MQ-9, the media was given the opportunity to speak with local members of the 274th Air Support Operations Squadron, from Syracuse NY, who are combat Airmen that are the direct contact between the Air Force and soldiers on the ground.
The 174th is in the last of five stages of the Federal Aviation Administration's approval process to permit flying out of Ft. Drum. Final approval is expected within the next several weeks.
The open house concluded by having the media go inside the MQ-9's ground-based cockpit and observe one of the aircraft taxiing around Wheeler-Sack.
"Conducting flight operations with the MQ-9 out of Ft. Drum is critical to conducting realistic joint training that keeps soldiers such as the ones here at Ft. Drum safe on the battle field," concluded Col. Charles Dorsey, 174th Fighter Wing Vice Commander. "We sincerely appreciate all of the support we have received from Ft. Drum leadership to make this a reality."