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Force number decision timing, soldier readiness discussed at AUSA breakfast


While information has been scarce so far, Fort Drum could learn late this month or next if it might expand or face cutbacks as a result of Army restructuring, the executive director of the Fort Drum Regional Liaison Organization said Monday.

Carl A. McLaughlin indicated that timetable based on discussions he has had with legislators and representatives of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s office. Mr. McLaughlin spoke at a quarterly business breakfast hosted by the Northern New York-Fort Drum chapter of the Association of the United States Army at the Hilton Garden Inn, 1290 Arsenal St.

“This economy is built on serving eighteen to ninteen thousand soldiers” and could sustain more, he told the gathering.

He estimated the current number of soldiers now here at 17,700, with a couple of thousand deployed.

The Army, which has to cut about 80,000 soldiers by the end of fiscal year 2017, is considering reductions and increases in troop strength at installations nationwide. At Fort Drum, the Army studied the impact of one option that would cut 8,000 soldiers and another that would add 3,000.

Command Sgt. Maj. Mark H. Oldroyd, the post’s garrison senior enlisted adviser, spoke about the Army’s Ready and Resilient Campaign. The program aims to improve the physical and mental health of soldiers and their families through connecting existing resources.

Sgt. Maj. Oldroyd said the post has improved its sponsorship of soldiers when they arrive, increased the number of activities to boost morale and provided resources such as counseling and hiring events to help soldiers plan their transition from the Army.

“What we try and do is encourage them to understand what their next pursuit in life might fall into, whether that’s higher education, business ownership or getting a job,” Sgt. Maj. Oldroyd said.

Sgt. Maj. Oldroyd filled in for 10th Mountain Division Command Sgt. Maj. Rick Merritt, who is in Afghanistan with post commander Maj. Gen. Stephen J. Townsend. Pictures on the division’s Facebook page posted Monday showed the two and other division leaders in country in advance of the deployment of its 4th Brigade Combat Team, from Fort Polk, La.

Other speakers called on volunteers to support the AUSA local chapter’s work with Reserve and National Guard elements, along with its coming River Day event on June 20 and membership drive.

More information about the chapter can be found at

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