FORT DRUM, N.Y. (Dec. 20, 2017) -- Family, friends and senior leaders of the 10th Mountain Division (LI) gathered to bear witness as Col. Milford H. Beagle, deputy commander for support, was promoted to brigadier general during a ceremony held Dec. 18 at the Commons.
More than a dozen aunts, uncles, cousins and in-laws traveled from South Carolina and Maryland, while mentors and battle buddies came from as far away as Korea to join the Fort Drum community in honoring the momentous achievement.
Maj. Gen. Walter E. Piatt, 10th Mountain Division (LI) and Fort Drum commander, said that their presence was a testament to the impact that Beagle has made in the lives of many individuals throughout the years.
Beagle was born in a small town in South Carolina and grew up aspiring to follow in his uncle's footsteps, by joining the Marine Corps. His mother told him that he needed to attend college -- a decision that he said would turn out to be one of the best he has made in his lifetime.
He attended South Carolina State University, where -- at the urging of two friends -- he joined the Reserve Officers' Training Corps program. Upon graduating in 1990, he was commissioned as an Army infantry officer.
While serving as a lieutenant at Fort Polk, La., Beagle met and married his wife, Pamela. The couple recently celebrated their 26th anniversary and have two adult sons.
Beagle went on to serve in various leadership roles, including division chief for the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization and commander of the 193rd Infantry Brigade (Basic Combat Training) at Fort Jackson, S.C.
Before coming to Fort Drum, he served as executive officer to the 35th vice chief of staff of the Army. Piatt said that despite the high operational tempo and demands of this role, Beagle always completed his duties with grace and "with a smile on his face."
"To serve in such a pressured job with that kind of attitude spoke volumes about his leadership," Piatt said.
Beagle was welcomed into the Fort Drum community in July, when he assumed his current role. Piatt said that Beagle's humility and selflessness are reminiscent of great division leaders such as Lt. Gen. Paul Cerjan, Col. Michael Plummer and of Maj. Gen. Michael Harrison -- one of Beagle's mentors. He said that Beagle embodies the spirit of the 10th Mountain Division.
"Today, Milford Beagle has reached the summit," Piatt said. "All of us are happy about his climb, and our nation is fortunate to have such a person as Milford Beagle on the top."
"This promotion is not a celebration of your accomplishments -- it's a ceremony that marks our nation's trust and confidence in you as a leader," he said. "Our country is fortunate to have you accept this mantle of responsibility and we in the 10th Mountain Division are grateful to have you serve in this legendary unit."
"We know that with you here leading us, we will reach great heights and will continue our 'Climb to Glory,'" Piatt said.
Piatt asked Beagle's Family to come forward as Beagle took the final steps toward becoming a general officer.
Beagle said he was grateful for the steadfast support of his friends and Family. He thanked those present for making the trip to be with him on his special day, and although his father could not attend the ceremony, Beagle said he was grateful that he had pushed him to succeed and had faith in his ability.
He thanked his wife and sons for their constant encouragement and for the sacrifices they had made to allow him to serve his country.
Beagle said that as he prepared to assume the responsibilities of his new station, he reflected on the words of retired Lt. Gen. James Campbell, a former 10th Mountain Division commander, who said that general officers should remember three things: be kind, be humble and be thankful.
"So many people have been kind to me my entire career and throughout my life," Beagle said. "There is no way that I could not reciprocate that kindness to everyone that I meet."
"I could not be more humbled than I am today for the honor and the faith and confidence that not only my country -- but you -- have bestowed upon me," he continued.
"Words can never … show my true thanks for the opportunities that I have before me," Beagle concluded. "I will remain thankful -- not for what I have to do from this day forward, but for what I get to do."