FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- "Herding cats," is the phrase many Army leaders use when referring to synchronizing the effects of a 4,000 Soldier brigade. You trust the experience of each battalion's leadership, while ensuring they are working in unison to meet the mission. Oftentimes, this role is assigned to the assistant operations officer, a senior captain with an understanding of the unit's mission and capabilities. It is a challenging balancing act of working to meet the leadership's intent, while also managing the unique roles, capabilities, and talents of subordinate command teams.
The challenge of serving as the assistant operations officer for an infantry brigade combat team cannot be overstated, but to serve in this position as an officer from a foreign service is more challenging still.
Over the last 18 months, recently promoted Major Alexander Buck of the Canadian Army, has been in that seat. Through two separate rotations at the Joint Readiness Training Center's demanding multi-week exercise in the swamps of Louisiana, and the lead-up to a brigade deployment, he has helped ensure the brigade staff runs smoothly.
Describing his time in the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division, as the busiest 18 months of his career, Buck also recommends the opportunity to any of his fellow Canadian officers interested in achieving a greater level of understanding in U.S. Army operations.
"It is a huge educational benefit for Canadian officers to see combat power massed in a way that only the U.S. Army can do," said Buck. The "cross-pollination of techniques, tactics and procedures between allies as close as the United States and Canada will be critical to our success in current and future conflicts. Exchanges like this are a great way to make sure that information sharing continues."
During his time in 10th Mountain's Warrior Brigade, he has gained experience participating in, and observing, training exercises from the brigade to the company level. Ultimately witnessing the full scope of training for an infantry brigade combat team. Along with multi-week field exercises such as Fort Drum's famous 'Mountain Peak,' he also graduated from Air Assault School, earning a reputation across the brigade as a dependable and knowledgeable officer.
With his focus now on the brigade's deployment, he shares that he has been fortunate during his time in 10th Mountain's, 1st Brigade Combat Team.
"I was able to accomplish everything I wanted while I was here. I learned, and implemented, a ton of U.S. Army doctrine, graduated from Air Assault School, and am now deployed."
In February, 2020, at Fort Drum, N.Y., Buck was promoted to the rank of major, by Col. J.T. Eldridge, commander of the 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division.
With words of gratitude, Eldridge expressed his thanks for the professionalism and camaraderie that Buck had always demonstrated while on his staff.
"Major Buck represents the best of the Canadian Army and we've been fortunate to have him on our team."
With the newly earned rank, Major Alex Buck will continue to serve in the Warrior Brigade, before returning to the Canadian Army to share his experiences and encourage others to pursue joint positions as well.