State Senator Patty Ritchie welcomed the brave men and women of the 10th Mountain Division, including its new Commanding General, Major General Walter Piatt to the State Capitol Tuesday for “10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum Day.”
This is the seventh year Senator Ritchie has hosted the event, which highlights the contributions of the Division to our national security, as well as the ways in which the installation benefits our regional and state economies.
“There is no higher calling than service to others, service to community, service to freedom and liberty. The men and women of Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division truly represent the best of the best. They have dedicated themselves to defend our freedom and that of freedom-loving people around the globe,” said Senator Ritchie. “We are all proud of the work you do, proud of Fort Drum and proud to call you all fellow New Yorkers.”
This year, the event was held earlier in the year to allow Major General Piatt to participate, as he—and many of the other troops who accompanied him to the Capitol—will be deploying to Iraq in the coming weeks. The highlight of the full day event was an address delivered in the Senate Chamber by Major General Piatt.
During his address, Major General Piatt talked about the importance of the unique relationship between New York State and Fort Drum and how that mutual support will help make the upcoming deployment successful.
“New York is an incredible place to serve,” Major General Piatt said in his address. “No matter where terror fights, no matter where we send them, no matter what challenges we face, your 10th Mountain Division will accomplish the mission. No matter how dangerous the job, no matter how difficult the climb, we will not stop. We will keep moving until we all reach the top.”
As part of 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum Day, the Fort Drum Color Guard opened the day’s Senate session and Division Chaplin Lieutenant Colonel Darrick Gutting delivered the invocation. In addition, lawmakers adopted a Senate Resolution proclaiming February 6th as 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum Day.
Earlier in the day, Senator Ritchie joined Major General Piatt to see the various displays throughout the Legislative Office Building that featured and demonstrated various types of equipment used by troops to defend our nation. Community groups integral to the bond between the North Country and Fort Drum also staffed displays and taught lawmakers and visitors about their missions.
In addition to Major General Piatt, Army leadership in attendance for the event included Brigadier General Patrick Donahoe, Command Sergeant Major Sam Roark, Command Sergeant Major Ryan Alfaro, Colonel Eric Wagenaar, Captain Sam Kriegler and Master Sergeant Keisha Archer.
Among the several dozen troops in attendance were a number from New York State, including Sergeant First Class Brian Lambert (Penn Yan), Staff Sergeant William Maxwell (Pawling), Sergeant Kyle Milliman (Lansing), Sergeant Jonathan Ruiz (Brooklyn), Sergeant Joseph Frank (Rome) and Specialist Hunter Bishop (Plattsburgh).