When Brigadier General Milford Beagle took command of the 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum last week, he made it very clear: his number one priority was to protect people, no matter the enemy.
“If we take care of our people, everything falls into place when you do that,” Beagle said at his change of command ceremony. “It’s not just your soldiers, but it’s your families, it’s your civilians, as well as your community.”
Now, just a week later, it’s a philosophy on the top of his mind, even as almost all of his soldiers have returned home from a war zone. The delta variant of COVID-19 is bringing a massive spike in positive cases and with everyone returning, it’s more than 30,000 people at home at once.
While Fort Drum has seen roughly 16,800 of them get at least one dose, Beagle says it’s just simply not enough. No decisions have been made and no specific measures have been discussed, but the general says it’s extremely possible Fort Drum will have to reimplement some of the restrictions and/or requirements from earlier in the year.
“As we see things start to change here on the installation and the surrounding areas, there are things that I’m looking at that we may have to step back to do, do properly, so we don’t jeopardize or lose the hard fought gains that we’ve made, not only in the community, but here on the installation as well,” he said.
The one thing he knows he will do is double up the efforts of messaging to help even more soldiers and their family members understand what’s at stake and to get vaccinated.
“It’s not always about the individual, but it’s those around that individual, that team, our mission is really what’s critical,” he said.
Beagle says he has no desire to take major steps back again, just some slight moves to fulfill that promise he made a week ago to protect people.
Fort Drum has delivered 32,000 total shots, and is ready to give out as many more as possible.