Bill to Rename Part of NYS Route 283 the "Colonel Michael Plummer Memorial Highway" Receives Final Passage

Patty Ritchie

June 6, 2022

State Senator Patty Ritchie and Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush are announcing legislation to recognize the late Colonel Michael Plummer by renaming a portion of New York State Route 283 in his honor has passed the Senate and Assembly. It now heads to the Governor’s desk to be signed.

Colonel Plummer, who passed away in January of this year, was a retired Army colonel who played a pivotal role in reviving Fort Drum. In his retirement, he worked tirelessly to support soldiers, their families and the North Country community.

Under the legislation (S.8726/A10024), a portion of New York State Route 283, from its origination in the City of Watertown to Fort Drum, would be named the “Colonel Michael Plummer Memorial Highway.”

“Colonel Plummer dedicated his life to bettering his country and his community,” said Senator Patty Ritchie. “Whether he was serving in the Army, spearheading efforts to protect and enhance Fort Drum, or volunteering in his post service life, he worked consistently to make a difference.”

“One of his biggest priorities was strengthening the connection between Fort Drum and the Watertown community. Naming the roadway connecting these two points in his honor is a fitting tribute and will ensure that the many contributions he made are never forgotten.”

Assemblyman Ken Blankenbush (R,C,I-Black River) said the following: “Colonel Michael Plummer was a legend in the North Country and the military community. His commitment to Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division was nothing short of admirable. This is why I was proud to sponsor this bill in the Assembly, which would rename a portion of New York State Route 283 as the 'Colonel Michael Plummer Memorial Highway'. We must never forget his years of service that made our community stronger and our country safer.”

Colonel Plummer was assigned to Fort Drum in December 1984 as the first Chief of Staff of the new 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) which was reactivated on February 3, 1985. Working hand in glove with the Fort Drum garrison staff, Colonel Plummer was instrumental in standing-up and organizing the new Division and setting in motion the construction of over $1B in initial infrastructure to support the new unit at Fort Drum.

Although still a member of the Division, he would move from Fort Drum to Fort Benning, GA to serve as the first Commander, 2nd Brigade (Commandos), 10th Mountain Division from April 1985 to March 1988. He was responsible for standing-up, training, and moving the new brigade from Georgia to its final home in upstate New York. Following command, Colonel Plummer was assigned as the Assistant Division Commander of Support, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) from July 1988 to June 1990 after which he retired from the Army. One month later, Colonel Plummer was recalled to Active Duty to serve a second stint as the Division Chief of Staff from July 1990 until January 1991.

Colonel Plummer would be no less of an advocate for the 10th Mountain Division in retirement, working tirelessly to support the Division, its soldiers and their families. He was most proud of spearheading the "Adopt a 10th Mountain Platoon" program. Through this program he started in 1991, Colonel Plummer enlisted support from the local community and from others around the world to send letters and care packages to deployed 10th Mountain Division troops. He was extremely proud of the fact that every deployed Fort Drum platoon-sized unit has been adopted since the program's inception. Through his affiliation with the Association of the United States Army (AUSA), his initiative has inspired over the years hundreds of similar groups nationwide with hundreds of thousands of troops from all branches of the military now sponsored by their local communities.

To read more about Colonel Plummer’s life, along with a copy of the legislation, click here.