FORT DRUM, N.Y. — Secretary of the Army Christine Wormuth visited Fort Drum, May 19-20, to get a firsthand look at how the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) trains and tests Soldiers’ proficiency in the profession of arms.
Wormuth, the Army’s top civilian leader, toured the lanes where roughly 1,400 Soldiers were training for the Expert Infantryman Badge, Expert Soldier Badge and Expert Field Medic Badge, known collectively as E3B.
The alignment of the three Soldier skills tests into a simultaneous event was approved by U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command in 2021. The E3B was originally piloted at Fort Drum, where it was proven effective at giving more opportunities for Soldiers to demonstrate their proficiency in critical tasks and be awarded the highly coveted badges.
“This was my first visit to Fort Drum, and I wanted to see the kind of training that 10th Mountain Division Soldiers are doing to be experts in their field,” Wormuth said. “I was impressed to learn that the division has earned the most E3Bs in the Army over the past 18 months.”
While in the field and during a sensing session, she spoke with Soldiers across the division on topics ranging from quality of life issues to unit morale.
“This also gave me the opportunity to talk with Soldiers and find out what’s on their minds,” Wormuth said. “I heard a little bit about housing and the barracks, and the new Army Combat Fitness Test. I also spoke with Maj. Gen. [Milford] Beagle, and his leadership team, about the modernization process that will be taking place in the 10th Mountain Division.”
As 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) Soldiers train for future conflicts, the Army 2030 strategy envisions a significant division-based force restructuring with a shift in operational focus to large-scale combat operations. Wormuth said that the Army’s investment in fielding new, state-of-the-art equipment is being seen within the brigades of the 10th Mountain Division.
“The 10th Mountain is getting some of the new night vision goggles (ENVG-B), new vehicles and improved radar systems,” Wormuth said. “This all contributes to the high level of readiness in the division.”
The modernization of the Army requires leadership to also adapt to the threat of global climate change and its effect on military readiness and sustainability. The Army Climate Strategy sets a goal of carbon-free electricity for installations by 2030 and net zero emissions by 2045. The timeline includes the development of electrical tactical vehicles and microgrid installations on all Army posts.
“Fort Drum has been a leader in investing in capabilities that address its energy resilience,” Wormuth said. “One of the ways the post is reducing its carbon footprint and lowering fuel requirements is by expanding its investment in carbon-free energy sources.”
Her visit included a tour of the Adirondack Creek community, which is currently undergoing a $44 million renovation project to upgrade junior enlisted housing.
She also met with 10th Combat Aviation Brigade Soldiers at Wheeler-Sack Army Airfield, learned about their missions and capabilities and flew on a UH-60 Black Hawk to where the field training exercise site for 3rd General Support Aviation Battalion, 10th Aviation Regiment.
Recently, the 10th Combat Aviation Brigade entered a partnership agreement with the U.S. Coast Guard for overwater search-and-rescue support in Central and Northern New York. The 3-10 GSAB DUSTOFF helicopters, equipped with forward looking infrared radar, can provide the needed search capability to assist Coast Guard operations in the St. Lawrence River and Lake Ontario region.
Wormuth made the trip to Fort Drum before heading to West Point for the U.S. Military Academy Class of 2022 graduation on May 21.
Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and former 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) commander, will serve as the commencement speaker at the ceremony.