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Maj. Gen. Jeffery Bannister assumes role as commanding general of Fort Drum

Julia Botero
Major General Jeffery Bannister says hello to supporters and the media at a change of command cermony at Fort Drum.

Maj. Gen. Jeffery Bannister has officially become the new commanding general of the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum, after a change of command ceremony on post Wednesday. 

Soldiers and a small audience stood at attention as the 10th Mountain Division band honored outgoing commanding general Maj. Gen. Stephen Townsend with ruffles and flourishes and a gun salute.
Townsend has been in charge of the soldiers at Fort Drum since December 2012. On Wednesday, he thanked his colleagues and looked back on his time with the division. 

“Gen. Anderson talked about what a time of transition its been for our division and our post. You all have made such a difference both deployed and back at home," Townsend said.

Townsend went on to stress that the division’s work in Afghanistan continues. Tuesday, President Barack Obama slowed the withdrawal of troops from the country. Its not clear what that will mean for Fort Drum soldiers. Townsend expressed his confidence in Bannister for taking on the new responsibility of leading the division. 

“The Army got it right. They’ve selected a great command leader and great family to lead the 10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum into the future,” said Townsend.

Bannister arrived in the North Country just last week. He’d been stationed at the Pentagon since 2011, most recently as the director of strategy, plans and policy. Bannister served as the deputy commanding general of the 10th Mountain Division for two years starting in 2009. He says he’s humbled to be back. 

“I really look forward to working with all of you and the local community  to address the economic impact and things like that with sequestration looming, but we’ll  get into that detail later on,” he said.

Townsend is awaiting congressional approval to move onto commanding the 18th Airborne Corps in Fort Bragg, North Carolina.