Fort Drum welcomes new 10th Mountain Division commander

Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 4:57 PM EDT
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FORT DRUM, New York (WWNY) - Fort Drum soldiers and north country leaders packed a hangar on post to watch a change of command ceremony Monday. It was also a homecoming of sorts for the division’s incoming leader.

A band and marching soldiers set the change of command ceremony in motion.

After two years leading the 10th Mountain Division, Maj. Gen. Brian Mennes hands over the reins and Brig. Gen. Milford Beagle Jr. assumes control. It’s his second stint at Fort Drum.

“If you had asked us to write a script on where we wanted to be three years ago when we were here last, it’d be right here in this great community and in this great division,” Beagle said.

Beagle served as the post’s deputy commanding general for support his first time there.

He has spent the last three years as the commanding general of the U.S. Army Training Center and Fort Jackson in his native state, South Carolina.

Both leaders spoke to the crowd made up of troops from across the division, alongside community leaders.

(Reporter John Pirsos was live from Fort Drum during 7 News This Evening. You can see his report below.)

Mennes was emotional as he said “goodbye.”

“I can’t tell you how grateful I am that America sends us, me, their children,” he said.

And while Monday is just day one on the job for Beagle, he’s already getting his priorities straight.

“Number one’s going to be people, followed very closely by readiness,” he said, “but if we take care of our people, everything falls into place.”

As for Mennes, he’s off to Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington state. He arrived at Fort Drum in 2019.

While at Fort Drum, Mennes spent 9nine months in Afghanistan, helped manage the COVID-19 pandemic, and did something rarely ever seen: relieved the leader of the 1st Brigade Combat Team back in April, saying he was unfit for his duties, though what happened hasn’t been released.

A chorus of soldiers and civilians capped off the ceremony, Mennes’ swan song at Fort Drum.

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