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Fort Drum celebrates Mountainfest


FORT DRUM — The military and civilian communities came together to celebrate the post’s activity and have some fun during its annual Mountainfest event.

Speaking at the Salute to the Nation ceremony, Col. Mark J. O’Neil, deputy commanding general of operations, said the day was special with several brigades and about 5,200 soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division deployed to Afghanistan. In addition, he said, several units are planning to deploy early next year.

“The 10th Mountain Division does not rest,” he said.

Guest speaker F. Anthony Keating, civilian aide to the secretary of the Army, kept his comments brief, relaying a message from post and division commander Maj. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend for soldiers to stay safe during the upcoming block leave period.

Gen. Townsend was not able to attend the afternoon event, as he and his wife were en route to Fort Benning, Ga., to watch their son graduate from training there.

Mr. Keating introduced the division band for a short performance, including a performance of “Yankee Doodle,” which Col. O’Neil pointed out was created by the British during the Revolutionary War as an insult, but eventually became a point of pride for American forces.

Around the ceremony at the Division Hill parade grounds, guests had a chance to visit vehicle and weapon displays, try out archery and rock climbing and take ATV and horseback rides.

Army Sgt. David S. Grosshuesch, of the 23rd Military Police Company, and his wife, Staff Sgt. Cynthia M., a member of the 176th Air Wing of the Alaska Air National Guard, said the event was a chance to get out and spend some time with their children, Jordan, 6, and Aubrey, 3.

Jordan had Spider-Man painted on his face, while Aubrey had her face painted like Hello Kitty.

“People think just because we’re in the military, we can’t have some fun,” Mr. Grosshuesch said.

Mrs. Grosshuesch said an event like Mountainfest “brings everybody together.”

Christine M. Hewitt, who attended the event with fiance Matthew R. Rush and their son, Donovan Rush, 1, said she hadn’t been on post for about 10 years.

“I didn’t recognize anything until we got toward old post,” she said.

The afternoon activities were part of events taking place throughout the day.

In the morning, thousands of soldiers took part in a division run around the installation led by Gen. Townsend.

In the evening, attendees were treated to a concert featuring country artist Craig Morgan, along with Corey Walts, North Country Idol 6 winner, and Syracuse-based rock band Scars N’ Stripes.

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