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Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) meets the press at Fort Drum Monday
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D) meets the press at Fort Drum Monday

Gillibrand focuses on military families at Fort Drum

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand focused on the wellness of soldiers and their families at Fort Drum yesterday. It was the Democrat's first visit to the Army base near Watertown. Gillibrand praised Fort Drum's role in protecting the country and revitalizing the local economy. But she said soldiers need more downtime and more mental health resources. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article

Story 2.0: drunk driving still problem at Fort Drum

Last year, Fort Drum began posting the names and photos of soldiers who were arrested for drunk driving while intoxicated in the post newspaper. The unusual step was taken by Drum's commanding general when he was alerted to high DWI rates among his soldiers. Today, Major General Michael Oates says the situation has not improved. He's taken another unusual step: asking his troops for answers on his blog. Martha Foley and David Sommerstein revisit this story for our series, Story 2.0.  Go to full article
K'Wuan Allen (left), with track teammates, Julius, and Chris Steele (right), who K'Wuan is staying with for the year.
K'Wuan Allen (left), with track teammates, Julius, and Chris Steele (right), who K'Wuan is staying with for the year.

When parents go to war, pt.2: K'Wuan relies on friends & faith

The ongoing pace of wartime deployments are forcing some families at Fort Drum to get creative. Single parents can send their children back home to grandparents or other relatives when called to duty. But sometimes their children don't want to leave their friends and schools around Fort Drum. Today we have a second story of military kids living in the North Country while their parents fight in a war zone. K'Wuan Allen's mother and father are in Iraq. To get by, he relies on the discipline of sports, close friends, and a dose of faith. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
From left, Trent, Keith, Kyle, and Leisa Doney, and Joni Brown
From left, Trent, Keith, Kyle, and Leisa Doney, and Joni Brown

When both parents go to war, pt.1: The Doneys

Fort Drum's 3rd brigade begins deploying to Afghanistan next week. Almost 5,000 soldiers will spend a year protecting the area south of the capital, Kabul, and the mountainous border region with Pakistan. The 10th Mountain Division troops are the first of a surge in U.S. forces in Afghanistan. Life can be tough for any family when one adult deploys to a war zone. But what happens when both mom and dad go at the same time? Generally, the children stay with grandparents or other relatives. But some families have to get creative. David Sommerstein has the first of two profiles of families based at Fort Drum.  Go to full article

A North Country FAQ for soldiers

The massive growth of Fort Drum over the last few years has meant a constant inflow of new North Country residents. For many soldiers, northern New York is almost a foreign (and cold) country. The Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization in Watertown has set up a website to help the newcomers. Drumcountry.com has a frequently asked questions section with hundred of inquiries. Each one of them is answered by Kathleen Mastellon. Mastellon has been helping to bridge the military and civilian communities in the area since Fort Drum was Camp Drum in the 1980s. She told David Sommerstein most questions are about the basics: schools and housing.  Go to full article

Brain injury clinic comes to Carthage

A new clinic to treat people who have suffered brain injuries is opening in Carthage. The center will feature a promising new therapy for accident and stroke victims. It may also serve veterans who have returned from Iraq and Afghanistan with brain trauma. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
Carmen Blackmore's spent years pursuing a degree because the military relocates her husband often.
Carmen Blackmore's spent years pursuing a degree because the military relocates her husband often.

Military spouses struggle with careers

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are putting great stress on military families. Repeat deployments and the threat of injury or death are forcing some to rethink their commitment to the armed forces. But the military's been struggling to retain its best and brightest for decades. Part of the problem is the trouble soldiers' spouses have in pursuing their own careers. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
Staff Sgt. Chad Wood signs the memorial banner for suicide victims.
Staff Sgt. Chad Wood signs the memorial banner for suicide victims.

Rainy march recalls grim reality at Fort Drum

Fort Drum soldiers are training for yet another mission overseas. Defense officials announced last week that the 10th Mountain Division's 3rd Brigade will lead a surge of forces in Afghanistan likely early next year. The quick tempo of deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan is being blamed for the growing problem of suicide among soldiers. The Army has responded with new suicide prevention programs. But the number of soldiers taking their own lives this year is expected to break the record set last year. On Friday, Fort Drum held a memorial march to draw attention to the issue. David Sommerstein reports.  Go to full article
First Sergeant JR Williams with her daughter Reilly's artwork Photo: Brian Mann)
First Sergeant JR Williams with her daughter Reilly's artwork Photo: Brian Mann)

Military mom says choices about children and career are closely intertwined

This week, soldiers from Fort Drum's 10th Mountain Division are heading back to Iraq for another 15-month deployment. We've been talking with First Sergeant Jennifer Rebecca Williams, who goes by "JR", about the growing demands on military families. Sgt. Williams is leaving behind her husband and her 3-year-old daughter Reilly. She told Brian Mann that balancing her military career and her role as a mom is tough. And Williams says the Army could do more to support military moms.  Go to full article

Fort Drum looks to expand healthcare system off-base

Officials at Fort Drum say they're partnering with local health-care organizations to expand medical care for soldiers and their families. Martha Foley has more.  Go to full article

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