7 News Series: Fort Drum Past, Present & Future

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It was the race of a lifetime.

On September 11, 1984, news broke that Fort Drum would be home to a new division of the U.S. Army - a reactivated 10th Mountain Division.

From that moment, the pressure was on to prepare the area for thousands of soldiers and their families.

In Part 1 of our series, Jeff Nelson looks back at those historic first moments and talks with some of the people who paved the way for 10th Mountain Division. 

That includes retired army officer Mike Plummer, who was sent to the north country in the 1980s to help create the division from scratch and build the city that now is Fort Drum.

"Most of us were infantrymen and we spent out lives destroying things.  We really never built anything. So we got this blank sheet of paper and we were kind of scratching our heads and saying this is really, really big," said Plummer who was the division's former chief of staff.

Former garrison commander Terry Roche remembers working seven days a week to get the job done. 

The official 10th Mountain Division reactivation ceremony was held six months after the announcement.

"The enormity of it just grew by the day," said Roche.

For the towns surrounding drum, it was an endeavor that posed big challenges including a housing shortage, a development boom and the delicate task of integrating thousands of new people into the north country community.

In Part 2, we'll take a look at how military leaders and the community dealt with the growing pains that came along with the rebirth of the 10th Mountain Division.

You can see Jeff Nelson's special series Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday on 7 News at 6 p.m. and 11 p.m.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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