By SPC Keegan CostelloJuly 24, 2017
The 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) conducted a Mountain Salute ceremony on July 21, at Memorial Park, Fort Drum N.Y., to honor outgoing deputy commanding generals and incoming deputy commanders.
Honored guests during this event included Anthony Keating, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of the Army and Mark Walczyk, District Director for Senator Patty Ritchie.
The Mountain Salute ceremony began with a presentation of roses for the daughters and spouses of the deputy commanders. The outgoing families received red roses as a sign of deep respect and affection. The incoming families received yellow roses as a sign of warmest welcome. The sons of the outgoing generals received military coins.
It was a rare event to send off two deputy commanding generals at once, and even more unusual to get their replacements involved in a ceremony as well.
"All of us should be proud to see these four Americans and officers standing before us today," said Maj. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, commanding general of the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry). "No matter how important or how minor the task the DCG (Deputy Commanding General) is the one who completes the puzzle and solves the riddle. They push for mission success by their presence and determination."
Piatt spoke highly of the outgoing deputy commanding general of operations, Brigadier General Xavier T. Brunson.
"General Brunson is a special operator," said Piatt. "And all the things he's done, and all the things on his resume he can't even tell you about, he remains grounded and kind. What he's done here in his short time as DCG has made a lasting impact. He provided vital oversight to all our command post exercises and put this division together so we can fight the next war in ways we haven't been doing in quite some time."
Brunson recalled his time in the Army and more recently at the 10th Mountain Division.
"I've always seen myself as just a simple kid from Fayetteville, North Carolina, that fell in love with a beautiful woman and was lucky enough to have some pretty good kids," said Brunson. "Thank you for sharing me with this great mountain team. Two things I know, I know that this division is ready now and that this division is going to be relevant tomorrow. Climb to glory, I'll see you at the top."
Also, Piatt addressed the outgoing support deputy commanding general Brig. Gen. Andrew M. Rohling. While assigned to the 10th Mountain Division Rohling deployed on short notice to Afghanistan and took on critical roles for the command there.
"He's been here for two years, and he is a tested warrior," said Piatt. "Always out front and always eager to take on any challenge regardless of the danger. He is a highly decorated combat soldier. He has done four different positions while serving with this division, he has done everything we've asked him to do. He started to develop the division and do the things that have to be done to ensure readiness of this division for our Army and our national needs."
Rohling thanked several members of the mountain team for making his time with the storied division memorable.
"This has been an incredible two years for the Rohling family," said Rohling. "The 10th Mountain of Fort Drum and the north country is unique, welcoming and has boundless opportunities. Thanks to each and every one of you and climb to glory."
The two incoming deputy commanders both come from positions at the Pentagon in Washington, D.C.
Col. Brian S. Eifler's last assignment was with the Office of the Chief Legislative Liaison in Washington, D.C. He will take over the responsibilities of the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) deputy commander of operations.
"It's truly an honor and a privilege to serve in this storied division," said Eifler. "The north country community is legendary. I'd rather be nowhere else. A special thanks to General Brunson and General Rohling for their great impact here and the legacy they leave behind."
Following Eifler from Washington, Col. Milford H. Beagle left the Executive Office to the Vice Chief of Staff of the Army, and will take over responsibilities as the deputy commander of support for 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry).
"I was last here in Fort Drum 14 years ago on a temporary duty," said Beagle. "It was April, and it snowed about every day for two weeks. And I thought to myself I absolutely have to come back here, but it was not because of the snow. It was because of the community. It was because of the mountain toughness of the Soldiers and leaders that I encountered during that short stay. We are excited and elated, we are both humbled and blessed, but most importantly we're all in. Thank you all very much, climb to glory."