Fort Drum Welcomes New Drone Company

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Fort Drum's new Delta Company 10th Combat Aviation Regiment has an eye in the sky.

"The human eye can only see really what's in front of it. With a capability like this, you have you have the opportunity to see a larger area," said Staff Sergeant Matthew Allen.

The new 130-troop unit will operate the MQ-1C Gray Eagle.

The unit is one of ten companies in the army to operate the unmanned drones. 

The nine new drones join the Air National Guard's drone hangar on post and will be used on missions for surveillance and protection.

It takes two people when remotely flying the aircraft.

"You have your payload operator which operates your camera systems and then you have your aircraft operator who actually deals with airspace and putting the aircraft where it needs to be," said Allen.

The new aviation company gives Fort Drum more versatility in the sky than ever before.

"You can actually get a pinpoint idea of what is going on better than that personnel on the ground," said Allen.

"The ground commander really has an unbelievable asset when we're working for them and tied in," said Chief Warrant Officer Ryan Owen.

Owen says it's a great feeling being part of a new unit in times of military cuts.

"Makes you feel very relevant, very needed," he said.

Officials said the drones will be flown only over Fort Drum and the training areas.

Friday, November 28, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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