Fort Wainwright cuts ribbon on new hangar for unmanned aircraft

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FAIRBANKS, Alaska (KTVF) The nine MQ-1C Gray Eagles unmanned aircraft and the soldiers who operate them now have hanger 3 on Fort Wainwright.

The nine MQ-1C Gray Eagles unmanned aircraft and the soldiers who operate them now have hanger 3 on Fort Wainwright. This building was built specifically for the purpose of the unmanned aircraft with special features to help their mission. (Sara Tewksbury/KTVF)

Specialist Karissa Canepa, unmanned aircraft operator, says she has worked hard to become an operator for the aircraft and is looking forward to working out of the new facility.

"It kind of shows some recognition, we're a super dynamic company, we're always moving around and I think it gives something for everyone to look forward to come back to," said Canepa.

Canepa says they don’t use a joystick to fly the unmanned aircraft, “you’re not piloting, the way that most people think, you know like an actual aircraft but we’re still controlling it.”

When the company first started at Fort Wainwright about 4 years ago, the company with about 126 soldiers worked out of hangar one and Staff Sergeant Leon Guerrero says it's their time to have a legacy of their own.

"Coming from hangar 1, it already has its historical legacy so now that we are in this brand new hangar, this unit just stood up like three years ago, so now they can build their own legacy," said Guerrero.

This building was built specifically for the purpose of the unmanned aircraft with special features to help their mission.

"We're able to push those communications through a conduit that's purposefully built for us to push antennas through to the roof, things like that make it so much easier in a new hangar than the old hangar that we had, hangar one," said Company Commander Captain Chad Howard.

This hangar is not only where soldiers can operate the aircraft but also to simulate and prepare for upcoming missions.

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