FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Aug. 9, 2021) -- Maj. Gen. Milford H. Beagle Jr., 10th Mountain Division (LI) and Fort Drum commander, was promoted from brigadier general to the rank of major general during a ceremony Aug. 6 in front of family, friends and colleagues.
Lt. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, director of the Army Staff and former 10th Mountain Division (LI) commander, presided over the ceremony via live stream from the Pentagon. Before administering the oath of office, Piatt spoke about Beagle’s exceptional leadership.
Piatt said that, in his previous assignment as commander at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, Beagle was responsible for the mission of training thousands of new Soldiers through Basic Combat Training, all while ensuring their safety during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“It was his leadership there that resonated throughout the Army about how to put people first,” Piatt said. “In his first weeks back at Fort Drum, many Soldiers have come up to him to say, ‘Sir, you were my CG at Fort Jackson when I went to basic (training),’ with a sense of pride and reassuring familiarity that they are still with good company. The 10th Mountain Division and the North Country are fortunate to have such a talented and caring leader.”
As the Army continues to place people as its top priority, Piatt said that Beagle is well suited to embrace this mission at Fort Drum.
“The foundation of our readiness is people,” Piatt said. “Real people, with real lives who face challenges. But as a team surrounded by good leaders, and with their friends and family, they can grow to be positive leaders just as Beags has shown us.”
Piatt noted that both of Beagle’s general officer promotions have occurred at Fort Drum, and that his reputation as a decisive, compassionate and unifying leader resonates throughout the 10th Mountain Division.
“Behind you, Beags, we will not stop,” Piatt said. “We will keep moving, no matter what, until we all make it to the top. And with you, as Mountain Six, we continue our climb to glory.”
Retired Chaplain (Lt. Col.) Albert Downing, who had served at Fort Drum with 2nd Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment, delivered the invocation at the ceremony.
“You might be wondering what type of leader you have here, but let me tell you, with Gen. Beagle, what you see is what you get,” Downing said. “He is the real deal. I say that, having served as his brigade chaplain at Fort Jackson. I was going to retire, and one of the chaplains who I respected said, ‘Don’t retire.’ He said ‘Beagle is coming. You’re going to really enjoy this man.’”
Downing said that Beagle had a profound effect on Soldiers, family members and civilians, with an ability to inspire and bring people together. Before leading attendees in prayer, Downing told them that he gladly dropped everything he was doing to attend this promotion ceremony because of the respect and love he has for the Beagle family.
“You have an awesome leader who is second to none,” he said. “I tell you, if you can’t work with Beagle, you need to come see me for counseling.”
During the ceremony, Beagle’s wife Pam, son Jayden, his mother Ann Beagle and uncle Henry Dawkins, participated in pinning the new rank onto his uniform. Addressing the audience afterward, Beagle said that a promotion ceremony is less about the person being pinned with new rank, but more a celebration of the family, friends, leaders and mentors who helped along the way. In his remarks, Beagle expressed gratitude for those people and all in attendance.
“Your personal presence makes a difference to me and my family,” he said. “It’s only going to happen once – getting promoted to two-star. In fact, most of you do not know that this is the last time an officer can get promoted. Everything after this, and I’m not going to worry about after this, is an appointment. This is the last promotion I will ever receive in my career. Your personal presence makes a difference.”
Beagle spoke affectionately of his family, many of whom were able to attend the ceremony.
“What I love about this group is that they are always together, and that’s where I learned teamwork and a love of people – from my family that is here today,” he said. “Because they all rally around me, and they rally around each and every one of us – from my aunts and my uncles and my cousins. They do that without effort, without fail, every single time.”
He also expressed gratitude for the opportunity to be back at Fort Drum and the North Country.
“My wife and I hoped every single day that we would come back here,” he said. “We loved being home, we loved being at Fort Jackson, but it's those people that I mentioned, this community, this division – our blue-collar ethic – it is something that relates to Pam and I, and our family. So we are absolutely ecstatic to be here, and we love the North Country, love this community and we love what this entire division is about.”
Beagle said that when a Soldier is asked how he or she is doing, the response he often hears back is, “Sir, I’m living the dream.” It is a sentiment that Beagle has realized for himself.
“I am truly living the dream every single day,” he said.