General Beagle: “bittersweet” to leave Fort Drum

Published: Sep. 7, 2022 at 2:48 PM EDT
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FORT DRUM, New York (WWNY) - The outgoing commander of the 10th Mountain Division finds it “bittersweet” to be leaving Fort Drum.

Major General Milford Beagle Jr. will formally relinquish command in a ceremony Friday. General Beagle is off to command the Combined Arms Center at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.

He’ll be replaced by Major General Gregory Anderson, who has been part of the senior military in Africa, and who served as Deputy Commanding General at Fort Drum in 2018 and 2019.

Talking to a reporter Wednesday, Beagle said he’s a lucky man.

“I should play the lottery. Not only was I fortunate enough to get picked for division command, but to get the 10th Mountain. I would not have picked any other division, given my druthers or my choice,” he said.

“And it’s just great but bittersweet to leave.”

Beagle easily ticks off every place there are 10th Mountain Division troops - “We have soldiers still in Iraq, Syria, Kuwait, we have soldiers in Europe, we have soldiers in Honduras, we have soldiers in Africa” - and says that shows the 10th’s value.

“Our relevance is wherever our country needs us, where the Army needs us, where the nation needs us.”

He has commanded the 10th at a time when the military faces assorted crises, including the ongoing issue of sexual abuse and increasing difficulty recruiting new soldiers.

A recent report found that sexual abuse reports were up again in 2021, increasing 13 percent overall, but increasing in the Army by more than 25 percent.

General Beagle said soldiers now trust higher-ups to take their claims seriously.

“We look at reporting - when it goes up - then there’s a level of trust. Because at one point in time you had reports that were not, the reports weren’t up because the level of trust was low. So when the reporting is there, then you’ve created an environment where people are more comfortable reporting.” he said.

As for recruiting problems, the Army is short about 15,000 recruits, and is likely miss its goal by thousands of soldiers, despite offering enlistment bonuses up to $50,000.

“Money may not always be the end-all, be-all to get the recruits that we need,” Beagle said, “but we do need to have the connections with the community to say ‘this is what we need, you know, coming in to join our services.’”

“I think at some point it will get better.”

Beagle said Fort Drum would be a good candidate for a Multi-Domain Task Force, which would bring thousands of new soldiers and more civilian jobs to the area. The Pentagon is currently reviewing potential sites for the Task Force.

And Beagle reflected on the changing nature of warfare, in which an enemy can use the cell phone signal in a soldier’s pocket to target and attack troops.

“We consider the battlefields of the future to be transparent. Everything can be seen. Whether it be from space, thru’ cyber, thru’ electromagnetic spectrum signatures that we put off - so we have to get better at that.”

“Our contribution may not be something fancy - like you think about when you hear the terms space or cyber - all the way down to the infantry level, it’s just being smart, where you can’t be seen and you can actually do your mission.”

Beagle returned to one theme in our conversation - how tight the military is with the surrounding community.

“The way they embrace our soldiers, our families, the way they communicate with us, the way we partner on many things together, is just phenomenal - and you can’t ask for any more than that.”