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Rochester-based N.Y. National Guard Soldiers return home after fire fighting duties in California


ROCHESTER, N.Y. -- Seven New York National Guard Soldiers who have been supporting wildfire fighting efforts in California will be back home in time for Thanksgiving. 
The Rochester-based Soldiers have been in California operating two Army RQ-7 reconnaissance drones and conducting surveillance flights over the Camp Fire in northern California. The team has been working under the direction of the California National Guard in support of the state's fire fighting efforts.
The Soldiers, who are assigned to Detachment 1 of Company D of the 152nd Brigade Engineer Battalion, wrapped up their mission on Tuesday, Nov. 20 and are expected home later today, Nov. 21.
The unit is based at the Army National Guard flight facility at the Rochester International Airport.
The RQ-7, known as the Shadow, is an 11-foot long remotely controlled aircraft with a 14-foot wingspan. The aircraft carries day and infrared cameras and is used by U.S. Army combat brigades as an intelligence gathering tool. The aircraft can fly at just under 15,000 feet and can remain overhead for up to six hours.
The New York National Guardsmen were in California conducting training at Camp Roberts, a California Army National Guard base which houses an RQ-7 training facility.
The California National Guard asked to use the Soldiers in efforts to control the fire.
The New York National Guard also dispatched six New York Air National Guardsman who are trained to repair the MQ-9 remotely piloted aircraft to assist the California National Guard.
The Airmen from the 174th Attack Wing in Syracuse are helping the California Air National Guard maintain the MQ-9 aircraft which have been used to keep an eye on the state's wildfires. They are due to end their mission on Nov. 25.
In December last year the 174th Attack wing sent 9 Airmen to California to assist the California's 163rd Attack Wing in flying MQ-9s over the Thomas Fire near Los Angeles.

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