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Chief National Guard Bureau Visits Hancock Field

The National Guard Bureau Chief, Gen. Craig R. McKinley gives words of encouragement to members of the New York Air National Guard's 174th Fighter Wing and members of the New York Army National Guard's 27th Brigade at Hancock Field in Syracuse NY on 5 May 2010. McKinley was meeting with members of the New York Air and Army guard at a luncheon to recognize the efforts of the men and women of these organizations. (US Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy M. Call/Released)

The National Guard Bureau Chief, Gen. Craig R. McKinley gives words of encouragement to members of the New York Air National Guard's 174th Fighter Wing and members of the New York Army National Guard's 27th Brigade at Hancock Field in Syracuse NY on 5 May 2010. McKinley was meeting with members of the New York Air and Army guard at a luncheon to recognize the efforts of the men and women of these organizations. (US Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy M. Call/Released)

The National Guard Bureau Chief, Gen. Craig R. McKinley presents US Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael Griepsma with a coin for outstanding work as a Ground Radio technician at Hancock Field in Syracuse NY on 5 May 2010. McKinley was meeting with members of the New York Air and Army guard at a luncheon to recognize the efforts of the men and women of these organizations. (US Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy M. Call/Released)

The National Guard Bureau Chief, Gen. Craig R. McKinley presents US Air Force Tech. Sgt. Michael Griepsma with a coin for outstanding work as a Ground Radio technician at Hancock Field in Syracuse NY on 5 May 2010. McKinley was meeting with members of the New York Air and Army guard at a luncheon to recognize the efforts of the men and women of these organizations. (US Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy M. Call/Released)

Members of the New York Air National Guard's 174th Fighter Wing and members of the New York Army National Guard's 27th Brigade await the arrival of the National Guard Bureau Chief, Gen. Craig R. McKinley at Hancock Field in Syracuse NY on 5 May 2010. McKinley was meeting with members of the New York Air and Army guard at a luncheon to recognize the efforts of the men and women of these organizations. (US Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy M. Call/Released)

Members of the New York Air National Guard's 174th Fighter Wing and members of the New York Army National Guard's 27th Brigade await the arrival of the National Guard Bureau Chief, Gen. Craig R. McKinley at Hancock Field in Syracuse NY on 5 May 2010. McKinley was meeting with members of the New York Air and Army guard at a luncheon to recognize the efforts of the men and women of these organizations. (US Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy M. Call/Released)

National Guard Bureau Chief, US Air Force General Craig R. McKinley and The Adjutant General of New York, US Army Brig. Gen. Patrick Murphy receive a rundown of the capabilities of the MQ-9 Reaper, Remotely Piloted Aircraft from US Air Force Tech. Sgt. Eric W. Schenck at Hancock Field in Syracuse, NY on 5 May 2010. McKinley and Murphy were getting a tour of the school house responsible for all MQ-9 Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft maintenance training for the US Air Force. (US Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy M. Call/Released)

National Guard Bureau Chief, US Air Force General Craig R. McKinley and The Adjutant General of New York, US Army Brig. Gen. Patrick Murphy receive a rundown of the capabilities of the MQ-9 Reaper, Remotely Piloted Aircraft from US Air Force Tech. Sgt. Eric W. Schenck at Hancock Field in Syracuse, NY on 5 May 2010. McKinley and Murphy were getting a tour of the school house responsible for all MQ-9 Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft maintenance training for the US Air Force. (US Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy M. Call/Released)

US Air Force Staff Sgt. Takeya A. Williams enjoys her lunch with the National Guard Bureau Chief, Gen. Craig R. McKinley along with members of the New York Air National Guard's 174th Fighter Wing and members of the New York Army National Guard's 27th Brigade at Hancock Field in Syracuse NY on 5 May 2010. McKinley was meeting with members of the New York Air and Army guard at a luncheon to recognize the efforts of the men and women of these organizations. (US Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy M. Call/Released)

US Air Force Staff Sgt. Takeya A. Williams enjoys her lunch with the National Guard Bureau Chief, Gen. Craig R. McKinley along with members of the New York Air National Guard's 174th Fighter Wing and members of the New York Army National Guard's 27th Brigade at Hancock Field in Syracuse NY on 5 May 2010. McKinley was meeting with members of the New York Air and Army guard at a luncheon to recognize the efforts of the men and women of these organizations. (US Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy M. Call/Released)

National Guard Bureau Chief, US Air Force General Craig R. McKinley meets with instructors at the Field Training Detachment at Hancock Field in Syracuse, NY on 5 May 2010.  McKinley was getting a tour of the school house responsible for all MQ-9 Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft maintenance training for the US Air Force. (US Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy M. Call/Released)

National Guard Bureau Chief, US Air Force General Craig R. McKinley meets with instructors at the Field Training Detachment at Hancock Field in Syracuse, NY on 5 May 2010. McKinley was getting a tour of the school house responsible for all MQ-9 Reaper Remotely Piloted Aircraft maintenance training for the US Air Force. (US Air Force photo by Tech. Sgt. Jeremy M. Call/Released)

Hancock Field Air National Guard Base, SYRACUSE, NY -- The National Guard's senior leader met with remotely piloted MQ-9 Reaper pilots, sensor operators and Airmen from the 174th Fighter Wing during a visit to Hancock Field May 5.

General Craig R. McKinley, the chief of the National Guard Bureau, arrived at Syracuse University this week as a guest speaker at the National Security Management Course.

While in Central New York, he had an opportunity to meet with three major commands of the New York National Guard in the region - the 174th Fighter Wing, the Eastern Air Defense Sector and the 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team headquarters.

After his speaking engagement, McKinley toured the MQ-9 operations building, the site from which 174FW pilots and sensor operators today fly combat air patrol missions using the MQ-9 Reaper, a remotely piloted aircraft.

The air wing recently transformed to Reapers after flying the F-16 Fighting Falcons. The last two fighter aircraft left the base on March 6.

The Air National Guard unit is now converting to an attack wing. The 174FW currently flies the state-of-the-art MQ-9 Reaper remotely piloted aircraft in support of ground forces in Afghanistan, providing coalition forces with round-the-clock intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance (ISR) capabilities.

McKinley also visited the base's Field Training Detachment, the site where all MQ-9 Reaper maintenance personnel obtain specialized training to perform various maintenance functions. The detachment is responsible for training all Air Force components: active duty Air Force, Air National Guard and Air Force Reserve personnel.

"I want to thank the instructors at the Field Training Detachment for their hard work," McKinley said after reviewing the extensive maintenance training support for the entire Air Force MQ-9 force.

The Field Training Detachment began graduating new maintenance operators in September last year.

McKinley also expressed how proud he was of the Soldiers and Airmen that make up the New York National Guard.

Col. Harvey VanWie, commander of the 174th Fighter Wing Mission Support Group and acting wing commander for the day, then hosted McKinley for a luncheon with about 50 Soldiers and Airmen at the Hancock Field Heritage Club.

"Just having the Airmen and Soldiers at this table, I can see that this organization is well run, well led, and has very motivated and dedicated people," McKinley told the assembled troops.

After concluding his visit to Hancock Field, McKinley visited the headquarters of the New York Army National Guard's 27th Infantry Brigade Combat Team, which has an armory on the air base. The brigade returned from deployment to Afghanistan about 15 months ago and completed the state's Soldier and family reintegration program last year.

"I can report today that the folks who live and work in Syracuse are doing a great job," McKinley said, "whether they be Army or Air National Guard."

He then exited via helicopter to Rome, N.Y., where the Eastern Air Defense Sector conducts operations at the Griffiss Business and Technology Park before returning to Washington, D.C.