FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWTI) — Fort Drum received a visit from the 25th Secretary of the U.S. Army Honorable Christine Wormuth on May 19.

Honorable Wormuth assumed her position as a top American defense official and career civil servant in 2021 and is the first woman to serve in this role.

Touring the Fort Drum military installation, Secretary met with 10th Mountain Division leadership, including Commanding General Major General Milford Beagle.

Timing well with her visit, Fort Drum just recently was named the top installation for readiness in the U.S. Army. Standing outside Division headquarters, Secretary Wormuth applauded Fort Drum’s leadership and Soldiers for their efforts.

“It’s fantastic that we’ve got high readiness here,” Secretary Wormuth told ABC50. “I think we have seen with, how quickly we were able to get soldiers over to Europe, that it really matters that we’ve got high readiness in the Army.”

“We’ve invested a lot in that in the last few years. So happy to see that it’s paying dividends,” she added.

To further understand the readiness of Soldiers in the 10th Mountain Division, she stood with Soldiers as they took part in the E3B program, hoping to earn what is called “Challenge Coins.”

This program was spearheaded by Fort Drum and the 10th Mountain Division in 2021, and helps Soldiers prepare for their Expert Infantryman Badge, Expert Field Medical Badge and Expert Soldier Badge simultaneously.

According to Fort Drum leadership preparing for all three badges reduces the logistical burdens of separating them into three events, while ensuring that the standards of the individual badges are maintained.

Specifically, the Expert Infantry Badge recognizes Infantryman who have mastered critical tasks. These build on their individual proficiency, allowing them to “locate, close with and destroy the enemy.

The Expert Field Medical Badge is the Army’s special skill award that recognizes soldiers for exceptional competence and outstanding performance. The test required to receive this test is considered the “utmost challenge” to the professional competence and physical endurance of the Soldier medic.

The third badge, the Expert Soldier Badge is a special skill badge of the U.S. Army. It is awarded to SOldiers who have completed testing but do not serve in the Infantry, Special Forces or Medical Branches.

During the round of the program visited by Secretary Wormuth, over one thousand Soldiers were working to receive one of the three badges.

As the rain poured down, Secretary Wormuth stood with the Soldier supporting their missions at Fort Drum. All eligible Soldiers were then presented with their respective badges by the U.S. Army leader, which according to Public Affairs is an honor many will treasure for their entire military career.