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Published March 11, 2011, 05:23 PM

Preparing For New Global Hawk Mission At GFAFB

Since the new UAV Mission was announced to the Grand Forks community a select few have been chosen to start up a new Unmanned Aerial Air Craft Group.

So who are these special few?

Nearly 45 airmen have been assigned to the Grand Forks Air Force Base to form Detachment 1 for the new Global Hawk mission.

"We have about right now 2-3 people average a week coming in here and just getting them set up with their housing and getting them set up with in the unit and getting them settled in the area," said SSG Monica Bachelor.

With $10 million invested in new equipment and construction, it's going bring about 400 new personnel to operate and maintain the Global Hawks and it's systems.

"We have lots of people who want to come here. I have a volunteer list of people waiting to come up here and bring their families, they love the are and love the activities we have," said Detachment Commander Lt. Col. Eric Armstrong.

In the Fall the detachment hopes to become the 69th Reconnaissance Group as more personnel and planes come in.

"We will have about a 100 people in the 348th Reconnaissance Squadron which will be the pilots and the sensor operators for the system and the remainder will be the staffs and maintainers who will maintain the aircraft and the ground shelters," said Armstrong.

This is not only a first for UAVs in the area but a first for the airmen as well.

"I looked at coming to the RPA world as an opportunity to still help the mission while also being able to be with my family. Since our missions are flown from home station to overseas," said pilot Maj. Byron Stancliff.

"Its a very unique experience, this is the first time I have been actually been a part of something like this. So, its different, then the other 7 years I have been in the military," said Bachelor.

Grand Forks Air Force base is the 2nd main operating base in the World, to house the Global Hawk.