Americas mountain soldiers : the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry)


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Deployed to Northern Italy in the dead of winter, they participated in battles across the former Fascist nation.

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From Pisa to Udine, the 10th fought as ski troops through some of the most difficult terrains in the European theater. Enduring days of combat, the unit suffered killed in action and 4, wounded. Magrath received a posthumous Medal of Honor. With operations in Italy complete by the end of May , the unit was prepared for the invasion of Japan. Thus the 10th went home. With the war over, the men of the 10th continued skiing, applying the expertise they learned during the war to civilian life.

Skiing, Sen. Bob Dole and the Von Trapp Brothers: 10 Facts About the 10th Mountain Division

Many of them pioneered the modern ski industry, starting magazines, ski lessons, and ski resorts. All told, over sixty ski resorts were established or managed by veterans of the 10th, including Aspen, Sugarbush, Vail, and Whiteface Mountain. They put their knowledge to use fighting for their country. Through mountains and snow, the light infantry utilized their skills to the utmost, fighting and dying amongst mountains of Italy. Leonard was one of many freshmen from the Nevada ski team at the time who joined the army to put their skills to use.

Army Chief of Staff , who agreed with Dole's assessment, deciding to create a "Mountain" unit for fighting in harsh terrain. The U. Army authorized the formation of the platoon sized Army Ski Patrol in November Ralph S. Phelps later to become commanding General of the 41st. Eventually, the 10th Mountain Division would be the only one brought to active duty. The Italian military had lost a disastrous 25, men in the campaign because of their lack of preparedness to fight in the mountains. On 8 December , the day after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor , the army activated its first mountain unit, the 87th Mountain Infantry Battalion which was later expanded to the 87th Infantry Regiment at Fort Lewis , Washington , south of Tacoma.

At the time, the division had a strength of 8, out of the 16, planned, so the military transferred troops from the 30th , 31st , and 33rd Infantry Divisions to fill out the remainder of the division. On 22 June , the division was shipped to Camp Swift , Texas to prepare for maneuvers in Louisiana , which were later canceled. A period of acclimation to a low altitude and hot climate was necessary to prepare for this training. Starting 14 January, the division began moving to Pisa as part of the Fifth Army massing for this attack.

By 20 January, all three of the 10th's regiments were on or near the front line between the Serchio Valley and Mt. Raymond C. Barlow commanded the 85th Regiment, Col. Clarence M. Tomlinson the 86th, and Col. David M. Fowler the 87th. Preliminary defensive actions in mid February were followed by Encore Operation , a series of attacks in conjunction with troops of the 1st Brazilian Infantry Division , to dislodge the Germans from their artillery positions in the Northern Apennines on the border between Tuscany and Emilia-Romagna regions, in order to make possible the Allied advance over the Po Valley.

These peaks were cleared after four days of heavy fighting, as Axis troops launched several counterattacks in these positions. On 17 April, it broke through the German defenses, which allowed it to advance into the Po Valley area. Originally, the division was to be sent to the Pacific theater to take part in Operation Downfall , the invasion of mainland Japan, as one of the primary assault forces. However, Japan surrendered in August following the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. In June , the division was rebuilt and activated at Fort Riley , Kansas to serve as a training division.

Without its "Mountain" tab, the division served as the 10th Infantry Division for the next ten years. The unit was charged with processing and training replacements in large numbers. This mission was expanded with the outbreak of the Korean War in By , the division had trained , new Army recruits at Fort Riley.

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In , the division was converted to a combat division once again, though it did not regain its "Mountain" status. The division served in Germany for four years, until it was rotated out and replaced by the 3rd Infantry Division. The division moved to Fort Benning , Georgia and was inactivated on 14 June In this process, it lost its mountain warfare capability, but its light infantry organization still made it versatile for difficult terrain.

In , the division sent 1, soldiers to support Operation Desert Storm. Following a cease-fire in March , the support soldiers began redeploying to Fort Drum through June of that year. The last of the 6, division soldiers deployed to Florida returned home in October Major General Steven L. Arnold, the division Commander, was named Army Forces commander. The 10th Mountain Division's mission was to secure major cities and roads to provide safe passage of relief supplies to the Somali population suffering from the effects of the Somali Civil War.

Due to 10th Mountain Division efforts, humanitarian agencies declared an end to the food emergency and factional fighting decreased. The 10th Mountain Division had two soldiers killed in the fighting, which was the longest sustained firefight by regular US Army forces since the Vietnam War.

This force consisted of 54 helicopters and almost 2, soldiers.

They occupied the Port-au-Prince International Airport. The division's mission was to create a secure and stable environment so the government of Haitian President Jean-Bertrand Aristide could be reestablished and democratic elections held. The division redeployed the last of its soldiers who served in Haiti by 31 January In the fall of , the division received notice that it would be serving as senior headquarters of Task Force Eagle , providing a peacekeeping force to support the ongoing operation within the Multi-National Division-North area of responsibility in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


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After successfully performing their mission in Bosnia, the division units conducted a transfer of authority, relinquishing their assignments to soldiers of the 49th Armored Division , Texas National Guard. By early summer , all 10th Mountain Division soldiers had returned safely to Fort Drum.

During the presidential election , the readiness of the 10th Mountain Division became a political issue when George W. Bush asserted that the division was "not ready for duty. In , columnist and highly decorated military veteran David Hackworth again criticized the 10th Mountain Division for being unprepared due to lack of training, low physical fitness, unprepared leadership and low morale. He said the division was no longer capable of mountain warfare. Following the 11 September attacks , elements of the division, including its special troops battalion and the th Infantry deployed to Afghanistan as part of Operation Enduring Freedom in late As such, Hagenbeck's headquarters was responsible for commanding and controlling virtually all Coalition ground forces and ground force operations in the theater, to include security of Coalition airfields in Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, and Pakistan, as well as the logistics operations set up to support those forces.

Elements of the division, primarily th Infantry, remained in the country until mid, fighting to secure remote areas of the country and participating in prominent operations such as Operation Anaconda , the Fall of Mazar-i-Sharif , and the Battle of Qala-i-Jangi. The division also participated in fighting in the Shahi Khot Valley in In , the division's headquarters, along with the 1st Brigade, returned to Afghanistan. During that time, they operated in the frontier regions of the country such as Paktika Province , going places previously untouched by the war in search of Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces.

Fighting in several small-scale conflicts such as Operation Avalanche , Operation Mountain Resolve , and Operation Mountain Viper , the division maintained a strategy of small units moving through remote regions of the country to interact directly with the population and drive out insurgents. In and into , the division's aviation brigade deployed for the first time to Afghanistan. As the only aviation brigade in the theater, the brigade provided air support for all US Army units operating in the country. The brigade's mission at that time focused on close air support , medevac missions, and other duties involving combat with Taliban and Al-Qaeda forces in the country.

The 10th Mountain Division was the first unit to introduce contract working dogs into southern Afghanistan.

The 10th Mountain Division U S Army Soldiers training with the M240L machine gun

The teams were trained to detect explosives and perform patrol duties throughout the region. The brigade returned to Fort Drum in On the return of the division headquarters and 1st Brigade, the 10th Mountain Division began the process of transformation into a modular division. It returned to the US in late The division and brigade served in the eastern region of the country, along the border with Pakistan , fulfilling a similar role as it did during its previous deployment.

In the winter of , the 10th Aviation Brigade, 10th Mountain Division, was deployed again to Afghanistan to support Operation Enduring Freedom as the only aviation brigade in the theater, stationed at Bagram Air Base , Afghanistan. Named "Task Force Falcon," the brigade's mission was to conduct aviation operations to destroy insurgents and anti-coalition militia in an effort to help build the Afghan National Security Force 's capability and allow the Afghan government to increase its capabilities.

In addition, the Task Force provided logistical and combat support for International Security Assistance Force forces throughout the country. After a one-year rest, the headquarters of the 10th Mountain Division was deployed to Iraq for the first time in April The division headquarters served as the command element for southern Baghdad until late March , when it displaced to Basrah to replace departing British forces on 31 March to coordinate security for the Multinational Division-South area of responsibility, a consolidation of the previously Polish-led south central and British-led southeast operational areas.

The 10th Mountain participated in larger scale operations, such as Operation Phantom Phoenix. The 3rd Brigade Combat Team was slated to deploy to Iraq in , but that deployment was rerouted. The 2nd Brigade Combat Team was scheduled to deploy to Iraq in the fall of , as a part of the — rotation to Iraq. The 1st Brigade Combat Team was scheduled to deploy to Iraq in late , but deployed instead to Afghanistan in March for 13 months. Notably, elements of the regiment were responsible for numerous large-scale engagements, including The Battle of Shahabuddin [73] and securing a High Value Target HVT after an air assault raid.

The brigade redeployed to Fort Drum in March after a twelve-month deployment. In May , the brigade deployed again to Afghanistan returning home in February In , Diana M. Holland became the first woman to serve as a general officer at Fort Drum , and the first woman to serve as a deputy commanding general in one of the Army's light infantry divisions specifically, the 10th Mountain Division.

Between late summer and early fall , 1, soldiers from the 1st Brigade Combat Team were deployed to Iraq to support Operation Inherent Resolve. The brigade will arrive with approximately 60 aircraft, including CH Chinooks, UH Blackhawks and medevac helicopters, the brigade will be headquartered in Germany and the brigade's units will be forward-based at locations in Latvia , Romania and Poland. The 10th Mountain Division was awarded two campaign streamers in World War II, one campaign streamer for Somalia, and four campaign streamers in the War on Terrorism for a total of seven campaign streamers and three unit decorations in its operational history.

Note that some of the division's brigades received more or fewer decorations depending on their individual deployments. The 10th Mountain Division is also a prominent element of the book and film Black Hawk Down , which portrays the Battle of Mogadishu and the division's participation in that conflict. Skiing associations subsequently contend that veterans of the 10th Mountain Division had a substantial effect in the post-World War II development of skiing as a vacation industry and major sport.

Ex-soldiers from the 10th laid out ski hills, designed ski lifts , became ski coaches, racers, instructors, patrollers , shop owners, and filmmakers. They wrote and published ski magazines, opened ski schools , improved ski equipment, and developed ski resorts. Up to 2, of the division's troops were involved in skiing-related professions after the war, and at least 60 ski resorts were founded by men of the division.

People associated with the 10th Mountain Division later went on to achieve notability in other fields. Among these are anthropologist Eric Wolf , [90] mathematician Franz Alt , [91] avalanche researcher and forecasting pioneer Montgomery Atwater , [92] Congressman Les AuCoin , mountaineer and teacher who helped develop equipment for the 10th Mountain Robert Bates , noted mountaineer Fred Beckey , [93] United States Ski Team member and Black Mountain of Maine resort co-founder Chummy Broomhall , [94] former American track and field coach and co-founder of Nike, Inc.

Additionally, four members of the division have been awarded the Medal of Honor. In John D.

The Mountain Soldiers of the U.S. Army: From WWII to Today

Magrath became the member of the division to receive this award during World War II. Monti , received it posthumously in , for actions during a combat operation on 21 June as part of Operation Enduring Freedom. Swenson , received it in , for actions on 8 September , during the Battle of Ganjgal in Afghanistan. Atkins , received it posthumously on 27 March , for actions on 1 June during a patrol in Iraq. Individuals who have served as commanders and command sergeants major of the 10th Mountain Division include: []. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.

Military deaths - Los Angeles Times

For the railroad line, see Mountain Division. Combat formation of the United States Army. The 10th Mountain Division's shoulder sleeve insignia. The Institute of Heraldry. Archived from the original on 4 March Retrieved 18 December Washington, DC. Skely, Pocasset. Archived from the original on 8 June Retrieved 6 July Fort Drum Public Affairs Office.

Archived from the original on 12 May ABC News. Retrieved 9 July The Heritage Foundation. Archived from the original on 31 January CBS News.

Americas mountain soldiers : the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) Americas mountain soldiers : the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry)
Americas mountain soldiers : the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) Americas mountain soldiers : the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry)
Americas mountain soldiers : the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) Americas mountain soldiers : the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry)
Americas mountain soldiers : the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) Americas mountain soldiers : the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry)
Americas mountain soldiers : the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) Americas mountain soldiers : the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry)
Americas mountain soldiers : the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) Americas mountain soldiers : the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry)

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