Entries in Fort Drum (4)


Soldier Saves Passengers in Fatal Bus Crash

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- An unidentified U.S. Army soldier is being hailed as a hero Friday for pulling over his car to rescue passengers inside a burning New York-bound tour bus that had crashed into a tractor trailer, killing one and injuring at least 30 passengers.

There were no fatalities on the tour bus, and police say that's thanks largely to the heroic actions of the soldier stationed at the nearby Fort Drum Army base. The soldier spoke with rescue teams when they arrived and then continued on to the airport.

The Army has stated that the soldier was part of the 1-8 cavalry brigade that had just gone on leave Thursday and was on his way to the airport when he pulled over to help rescue the victims.

The tour bus was carrying 53 people from Ontario, Canada, to New York for a three-day tour. Thirty passengers were injured, two critically, and the driver of the tractor trailer was killed. Thirteen of the wounded sustained very minor injuries and were able to walk away from the scene on their own, while 15 others sustained injuries ranging from minor to serious, according to ABC News' New York City affiliate, WABC-7.

The soldier was driving in a car behind the bus and stopped to pull passengers out of the burning vehicle after it crashed, according to ABC News affiliate WSYR-9 in Syracuse, N.Y.

New York State Police identified the tractor trailer driver as a 59-year-old man from Dryden, Mich.

The accident occurred around 1:30 a.m. on the New York State Thruway in Waterloo, N.Y., midway between Syracuse and Rochester. Police say the tractor trailer rear-ended the tour bus as it pulled back onto the Thruway after it had been stopped for about 30 minutes with a mechanical problem.

Both vehicles were destroyed by fire.

The tour bus, operated by Farr's Coach Lines of Dunnville, Ontario, was on a planned trip from Hamilton, Ontario, to the New York City area. The bus departed Canada Thursday night and was to return Sunday.

The name of the truck's driver has not yet been released, nor have the names of the bus driver and his passengers.

Friday's crash is the latest in a spate of crashes involving tour buses this year that have left 32 people dead and 323 injured, according to Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


President Obama Apologizes to Family of Fallen Soldier

Pete Souza/The White House(WASHINGTON) -- President Obama Friday apologized to the family of a Medal of Honor recipient whom he erroneously said was still alive.

On Thursday at Fort Drum, the president told troops from the 10th Mountain Division that he previously "had the great honor of seeing some of you because a comrade of yours, Jared Monti, was the first person who I was able to award the Medal of Honor to who actually came back and wasn’t receiving it posthumously.”

Wrong. Sgt. 1st Class Jared Monti was actually killed in Afghanistan on June 21, 2006. In September 2009, President Obama awarded him the Medal of Honor posthumously.

On his Facebook page Friday evening, Monti's father, Paul, posted: "FYI- President Barack Obama telephoned me personally this afternoon to apologize for his error in his speech to the 10th mountain division re: Jared's medal ceremony. Apology accepted."

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Flubs Medal of Honor Winner

Official White House Photo by Pete Souza(FORT DRUM, N.Y.) -- Visiting troops at Fort Drum on Thursday, President Obama confused Medal of Honor recipients, referring to one of the soldiers’ comrades who was killed in combat in Afghanistan as being alive.

Speaking to the 10th Mountain Division, Obama reflected on the time he spent with members of the elite unit. “Throughout my service, first as a senator and then as a presidential candidate and then as a president, I’ve always run into you guys,” he said. “And for some reason it’s always in some rough spots.”

“First time I saw the 10th Mountain Division, you guys were in southern Iraq. When I went back to visit Afghanistan, you guys were the first ones there. I had the great honor of seeing some of you because a comrade of yours, Jared Monti, was the first person who I was able to award the Medal of Honor to who actually came back and wasn’t receiving it posthumously,” the president said.

Jared Monti was actually killed in Afghanistan on June 21, 2006. True, Obama did award him the Medal of Honor - the highest military decoration awarded by the United States - but he did so posthumously in September 2009.

Obama presented the first Medal of Honor to a living recipient who served in Afghanistan to Staff Sgt. Salvatore Giunta last year.

White House Press Secretary Jay Carney later corrected the president’s mistake.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio


Obama Tells Troops 'Our Job Is Not Finished'

ABC News Radio(FORT DRUM, N.Y.) -- The day after announcing his strategy to begin withdrawing from Afghanistan, President Obama visited troops at Fort Drum on Thursday, telling soldiers who have fought in the war-torn country that we have turned a corner but “our job is not finished.”

In an informal gathering Obama told members of the 10th Mountain Division that the drawdown will not be precipitous.  “We’re going to do it in a steady way to make sure that the gains that all of you helped to bring about are going to be sustained,” he said.

On Wednesday night, the president announced that he is bringing 10,000 U.S. troops home from Afghanistan by the end of this year and another 23,000 by the end of next summer. On Thursday, however, he warned that “there’s still some fighting to be done.”

“We’re still going to have 68,000 [troops in Afghanistan].  And, frankly, the 10th Mountain Division is still going to be represented there until we have fully transferred to the Afghan military and security forces,” he said.

The president recognized the 270 soldiers that the division has lost since the attacks on 9/11. “We will never forget their sacrifice.  And the reason that I know many of you continue to do the outstanding work that you do is not only love of country but it’s also love for each other, and your commitment to making sure that those sacrifices were not in vain,” he said.  

“So, for all the sacrifices that you’ve made, I want to say thank you.  For all the sacrifices that your families have made, I want to say thank you,” he said. “And to all of you who are potentially going to be redeployed, just know that your Commander-in-Chief has your back.”

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio