FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWTI) — Fort Drum’s Mount Belvedere Gate is now the Col. Michael Plummer Gate, renamed on August 29 after the late 10th Mountain Division Chief of Staff.
The gate was officially renamed during a memorialization ceremony outside the gate which included Plummer’s friends, family and colleagues.
10th Mountain Division and Fort Drum Commander Major General Milford H. Beagle Jr. said that the memorialization of an installation gate happens only once.
“I count myself fortunate to have seen, to have known and to have witnessed the blessing we call Col. Plummer,” Beagle said. “He made the impossible possible.”
According to Fort Drum officials, Col. Michael Plummer was considered a “patriarch” of the 10th Mountain Division.
He was born in 1938 in California and graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1960. Plummer was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division and Military Assistance Command where he served two tours in Vietnam.
He then returned to West Point in 1968 to teach in the Physical Education Department, eventually moving on to serve as assistant secretary to the 8th Army General Staff.
From there, Plummer led the XVII Airborne Corps G-1 Plans staff, served as 3rd Brigade executive officer and chief of staff in the 82nd Airborne Division, and then moved to the Pentagon as the Department of the Army deputy director for human resources.
During his time at the Pentagon, Plummer drafted the Light Infantry Division White Paper that called for more light infantry units. It was Plummer’s work that led the 10th Mountain Division to Fort Drum, New York.
Plummer became the first chief of staff for the 10th Mountain Division, which was officially reactivated on February 3, 1985. He also served as the first “Commando” brigade commander when he was reassigned to Fort Benning to lead the 2nd Brigade. He oversaw the training and movement of the new brigade to Fort Drum.
Up until his retirement in 1990, Plummer was assigned as assistant division commander of support for the 10th Mountain Division. However, a month later he was recalled to active duty and served a second time as division chief of staff until he retired again in 1991.
North Country leaders credited Plummer as being the “driving force that integrated the division with the region.”
Col. Scott Wence, 2nd Brigade Combat Team commander said he met Plummer in 1999. He spoke during the ceremony, honoring Plummer.
“Legends are easy to talk about because their actions do the talking for them,” Col. Wence said. “Everybody knew Mike Plummer. It was clear that he was the driving force in the integration of this division.”
Between 1992 and 2013, Plummer served at different times as president, chairman of the board and executive director of the National Association of the 10th Mountain Division.
Among many achievements, Plummer developed and launched the “Adopt a 10th Mountain Platoon” program in 1991. He enlisted support from the surrounding communities and from others around the world to send letters and care packages to deployed, platoon-sized units serving overseas.
Plummer received the Newman’s Own Award in 2001 for creative military quality of life improvements. In 2006, he was named Fort Drum Man of the Mountain, and he was among the inaugural inductees in the 10th Mountain Warrior Legends Hall of Fame in 2020.