FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- Soldiers, Families and members of the post community gathered for a ceremony Thursday on Sexton Field, as Maj. Gen. Jeffrey L. Bannister relinquished command of the 10th Mountain Division (LI) and Fort Drum to incoming commander Maj. Gen. Walter E. Piatt.

Bannister reflected upon his time as commander of the division since March 2015, stating that it had been his distinct privilege to stand in the ranks of the 10th Mountain Division (LI), which he said he believes are some of the best warriors anywhere within any service.

"You did all the hard work to build readiness," Bannister said, addressing leaders throughout the division, "and now you must sustain readiness and remain postured for uncertainties that may come."

"As we pass the colors today, we are reminded of those who served in 10th Mountain since 1943, when our newly forged division fought bravely across the mountains of Italy," he said, "and since reactivation in 1985, this storied division continues to uphold the distinct legacy for being known as 'Mountain Tough,' always training in the harshest conditions, humble, proud, as the most deployed."

Bannister's time as commander included an 11-month division headquarters deployment to Afghanistan, where he served as deputy commanding general of support, U.S. Forces Afghanistan. Under his watch, thousands of Soldiers deployed in support of missions in Afghanistan, Iraq, Kuwait and North Africa as well as a brigade-level deployment.

"(Bannister) has struck a balance of tough, realistic training with genuine care for Soldiers and Families," said Gen. Robert B. Abrams, commanding general, U.S. Army Forces Command. "As the senior commander of Fort Drum, Jeff led this installation in supporting the diverse types of warfighting units here and helped build the total force."

As Bannister departs from the 10th Mountain Division (LI), Abrams welcomed Piatt back to Fort Drum, where he has been stationed twice before, including previously serving as a deputy com-
mander for the division.

"(Piatt) is a battle-tested war-fighter with extensive operational experience," Abrams said. "He knows what it takes to ensure our Soldiers and units are ready for whatever mission they are given. Walt has a passion for Soldiers and Families, and I am confident he will continue to elevate this division to new heights."

Piatt rejoins the 10th Mountain Division (LI) and Fort Drum from the Army Rapid Capabilities Office in Washington, D.C., where he served as the director of operations. The new commander's comments drove home the importance of Family, teamwork, community and service, which, in his opinion, is all part of being a good neighbor.

"For us, coming back to Fort Drum feels like coming home," Piatt said. "We're proud to be back."
Piatt thanked the Bannisters for their legacy of service and commitment to the division, and he promised to maintain what they leave behind.

"I will do my best to earn my position in this formation and ensure your division is ready now," he said. "My goal is to be good company as we continue our climb to glory."