National Day of the Deployed: Recognizing those who serve


WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWTI) — October 26 marks the National Day of the Deployed across the United States.

This military-based day of recognition, the day honors all service members who have been deployed to serve the country. It also acknowledges the sacrifices made by military families during deployment.

According to Military Connection, National Day of the Deployed was first founded in 2006 by Shelle Michaels Aberle in honor of her cousin, David Hosna, who was deployed at the time. It was first proclaimed a day of recognition in North Dakota after Michaels petitioned Governor John Hoevento with the idea.

Then in 2011, Senator Hoeven proposed to recognize this day on a national level. It was passed unanimously on October 18, 2011, and by 2012, every state in the United States was observing the day.

This day hits close to home for many North Country residents and families as the 10th Mountain Division at Fort Drum is located in Jefferson County. Fort Drum has housed the 10th Light Infantry Division since 1984 after the first trooped arrived in December of that year. After experiencing rapid growth in the past several decades, Fort Drum and its surrounding areas are home to over 15,000 military service members, over 18,000 family members and over 3,000 military retirees.

Annually Fort Drum’s mission includes commanding active component units assigned to the installation, providing support to units and planning and providing support for mobilization and training of almost 80,000 troops. This includes frequent deployments around the world.

More recently, many soldiers from Fort Drum were stationed in Afghanistan. Over 100 soldiers from the 4th Battalion, 31st Infantry, also known as the “Polar Bears,” were tasked with securing the airport in Kabul as the city fell to the Taliban. These soldiers returned home in early September 2021.

However, according to data on Vetfriends, there remain to be over 242,000 troops deployed overseas, with the largest U.S. presence in Afghanistan and Japan.

Below are ways to observe National Day of the Deployed this year:

  • Donate to the USO
  • Send a care package through
  • Attend local ceremonies and services recognizing those who are, or were deployed
  • Consider helping at military volunteer oppportunities
  • Connect with deployed military personnel who don’t have a large support network
  • Use the hashtag #DayOfTheDeployed when posted on social media

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