FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWTI) — For the first time, Fort Drum was visited by two Air Force F-22s.
On September 21, two F-22 Raptors from Joint Base Langley-Eustis, Virginia landed at the Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield at Fort Drum. This was the first time this aircraft touched down at the army base’s tarmac, and after only 30 minutes, they were again in the skies.
According to Fort Drum Public Affairs, the F22s were using nearby military operating airspace for combat training with F-35 aircraft from the 158th Fighter Wing, which is located at the Vermont Air National Guard Base in Burlington. Fort Drum also said that this visit demonstrated the capabilities of the base to expand airfield operations and the abilities of the 174th Maintenance Group Detachment 1.
“For the aircrews of the F-35s and F-22s to be able to meet in the airspace to train, fight and practice their tactics is a huge capability,” 174th Maintenance Group Detachment 1 Commander Christian Sturick said in a press release. “What we are doing here is giving them the ability to hot refuel, where they disengage from the fight and refuel very rapidly and get back in the fight immediately.”
The maintenance detachment has been operating at Fort Drum for 35 years and was permanently assigned at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield in 1997. Sturick added that the refueling operation at Fort Drum’s Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield was a longer training opportunity for the aviation units.
“We give them that ability to have an embedded Air Force maintenance unit here at Fort Drum,” Sturick said. “My maintainers can refuel them and rearm them if that’s the case.”
Fort Drum’s airfield has previously support unit training from all branches of the armed forces.