Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield
Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield is a world-class facility with a 10,000-foot runway, multiple hangars, a control tower, and a Rapid Deployment Facility to stage and deploy the division's troops and equipment only minutes from their modern, consolidated unit areas.
Long before it was designated Fort Drum, the training ground on the North Country's "Pine Plains" was host to forces from all branches of the military. In 1927, Captain Curtis Wheeler, 32, and Lieutenant Carl J. Sack, 23, both from New York City, were killed while supporting troops training on the ground. The two were practicing dropping messages to the soldiers when Wheeler was thrown forward onto the rudder. Sack lost control and their aircraft crashed. Today's Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield (WSAAF) honors their memory.
From 1941-43, Wheeler-Sack Army Air Field underwent major expansion while the operational home of the 91st Observation Squadron. The unit was attached to the 4th Armored Division, and during that time, two new, 150- X 4,500-foot runways and an all-steel hangar were built to help the flyers accomplish their missions. The hangar served as the ceremonial site during the 10th Mountain Division's reactivation in 1985.
Rapid deployment is the foundation for a ready 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry. Ninety-six hours after notification, the division is expected to deploy by air, sea and land, worldwide. Fort Drum's railhead received significant upgrades in FY97 adding to the safe and rapid loading of vehicles and equipment for rail deployment. Upgrades included new road construction, lighting at the railhead, and a new railhead control building that extensively aids in the command, control, and support of rail operations at Fort Drum.
The Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield (WSAAF) expansion project, completed in November 1998, allowed the division to move its primary departure airfield from Griffiss Air Force Base (85 miles away) to Fort Drum. The expanded WSAAF runway accommodates all U.S. Air Force aircraft and additional airfield deployment facilities include scales, an ammunition holding area, refueling points, and a vehicle staging and inspection area. A new rapid deployment facility at WSAAF holds up to 1,200 soldiers permitting soldiers to stage and conduct deployment processing at the airfield. Both the railhead improvements and airfield expansion project increase the installation's capability as a power projection platform to sustain and deploy forces.
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