The day began not unlike nearly every other weekday on a military installation. Soldiers stood in formation, awaiting the bugle call, Reveille, to begin physical readiness training.

Except this frigid, snow-covered morning was different.

The Soldiers of the 4th Sustainment Brigade, 4th Infantry Division were conducting various events of the new Army Combat Fitness Test, and they weren't doing it alone. They had company.

Secretary of the Army Mark T. Esper came out to join the Soldiers of the 4th SB for a challenging PT session, including dead lifts; standing power throws; and the sprint, drag, carry events during a visit to Fort Carson, Colorado, Oct. 31, 2018.

"It's a great morning," Esper said. "It's wet. It's muddy. It's cold, and it's snowing. But I'm with Soldiers, so it can't get any better."

Esper had a long day of touring Fort Carson ahead of him, and he began it the way Soldiers across Army formations do.

"Everybody's motivated, physically fit," he said. "We're exercising major parts of the Army Combat Fitness Test, and everybody's motivated."

The retired lieutenant colonel and 23rd Secretary of the Army visited with 4th Infantry Division and Fort Carson commanding general Maj. Gen. Randy George who accompanied Esper as he visited the consolidated supply support activity and walked around and talked with Soldiers about maintenance at the 52nd Brigade Engineer Battalion, 2nd Infantry Brigade Combat Team, 4th Inf. Div. motor pool.

"It's rare, I think, that you get a Secretary of the Army that is known down at the company level," George said. "Secretary Esper has done a lot in a very short time to get rid of a lot of admin burdens that he has shed away over the last year. We're very thankful to have him come out and spend some time."

Esper wrapped up his time at the Mountain Post with a town hall where he fielded questions from Soldiers, Family members and civilians. He said he likes to take opportunities like these to not only answer people's questions, but to gauge the pulse of the Army from the ground level.

"I'll tell you from walking around with 2nd Brigade in their motor pool, I saw a lot of hard-working Soldiers, really a great crew," Esper said. "It's our next greatest generation, and they're really motivated about the Army. I'm really pleased with what I see from the Soldiers, so everything seems to be moving in the right direction."