Above: Members of the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team perform an airborne demonstration for the audience June 21 during Mountainfest on Fort Drum, New York. Below: Members of the 10th Mountain Division (LI) present the Division Live demonstration and the Salute to the Nation, featuring the flags of all 50 U.S. states and six territories. (Photos by 27th Public Affairs Detachment Soldiers)
Golden Knights, Division Live demonstration,
musical performances highlight Mountainfest
Spc. Kade Bowers
27th Public Affairs Detachment
FORT DRUM, N.Y. (June 22, 2023) – Members of the North Country had an opportunity to have fun and see U.S. Army Soldiers do what they do best June 21 on Fort Drum during Mountainfest, an annual event celebrating our national spirit and strengthening our community ties.
Throughout the week of Mountainfest, 10th Mountain Division (LI) Soldiers participate in events such as the annual Division Run and the SGM Buddy Hewitt Relay. The division also holds ceremonies this week honoring those who have left their mark in the 80 years of Alpine history established by the unit.
Once Division Hill was opened to the public, attendees were treated to a myriad of activities and concessions courtesy of U.S. Army Garrison Fort Drum, 10th Mountain Division, and community partners and businesses.
Before the Division Live demonstration, Maj. Gen. Gregory Anderson, 10th Mountain Division (LI) and Fort Drum commander, awarded Soldiers for their accomplishments in the division.
Three of the Soldiers were decorated with the Purple Heart, recognizing them for injuries they suffered in service to the country while deployed. Eleven Soldiers were awarded the Army Achievement Medal for achieving a 600-point score on their Army Combat Fitness Test, the highest possible score.
After the awards presentation, the U.S. Army Golden Knights Parachute Team performed an airborne demonstration for the audience. The demonstration detailed the operations and history of the Golden Knights and involved multiple types of jumps, including individual, synchronized, and tandem jumps.
Following the performance, 10th Mountain Division Soldiers presented Division Live to demonstrate the unit’s Alpine warfare capabilities, developed throughout its 80-year history. The exhibition included multiple squads assaulting a simulated objective, and vehicle support from armored tactical vehicles and aircraft ranging from UH-60 Black Hawks to CH-47 Chinooks.
“A lot of work goes into this, starting with planning six months out and following an eight-step training model,” said Lt. Col. Marc Cleveland, information operations officer for the 10th Mountain Division.
Cleveland stressed the level of teamwork necessary to make an event of this tremendous size possible.
“It’s a holistic effort,” he said. “Everybody in 10th Mountain Division, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Drum, and the surrounding communities contribute to accomplishing this monumental task of bringing this premiere community engagement to our community partners every year.”
After the demonstration, Anderson delivered his State of the Division address, during the division’s “Salute to the Nation,” where flags from all 50 U.S. states and six territories were presented and honored by the unit.
“Thank you to all of the families that came out to support this,” said Staff Sgt. Kevin Guzman, an operations sergeant with 7th Brigade Engineer Battalion, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division. “Without them, we couldn’t drive on as Soldiers.”
Guzman served as part of the color guard during the Salute to the Nation, alongside more than 50 other Soldiers who bore the colors during the ceremony.
“I grew up in New York City, and I remember seeing the Twin Towers get hit,” Guzman said. “So to do this in New York state here today means a great deal.”
Guzman also emphasized how impressed he was with 10th Mountain Division's capability and mobility.
“Just to see our capabilities as a whole unit and see how ready and lethal we are to destroy any enemy to America was amazing,” he said.
After the Salute to the Nation, attendees were treated to a performance by the 10th Mountain Division rock band “Avalanche,” followed by the AmeriCU Salute to the Troops Tribute Concert featuring Gabby Barrett and Maddie & Tae. A fireworks display concluded the day’s events.
Cleveland expressed how grateful the division was for the turnout and their support of 80 years of Alpine history.
“Thanks for coming out and celebrating 80 years of Alpine with the 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum,” he said.