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Home : News
NEWS | Oct. 28, 2016

Colorado National Guard Soldiers, World War II veterans mark return of 10th Mountain Division to Colorado

By Colorado National Guard

CENTENNIAL, Colo. – The 1st Battalion, 157th Infantry Regiment (Mountain), Colorado Army National Guard, will become part of the historic 10th Mountain Division during a ceremony at Camp Hale, Colorado, on Sunday.

The 1-157th will assume its role as one of only three mountain infantry battalions in the U.S. Army. This realignment will mark the return to Colorado of the 10th Mountain Division, originally 10th Light Division (Alpine), organized during 1942.

The 10th Mountain Division is famous for its rigorous training in the harsh alpine conditions around Leadville, Colorado, and the Soldiers' numerous victories in battle, culminating in their renowned vertical assault against German fortifications in Italy's Northern Apennines during 1945.

The vaunted ski troops trace their origins to a brainstorm of the chairman of the volunteer National Ski Patrol. Charles Minot Dole, the ski patrol's chairman, lobbied the War Department to create mountain troops for the U.S. Army.

Dole cited the success of ski-mounted Finnish troops who annihilated two Soviet tank divisions in 1939 and Gen. George C. Marshall, the Army Chief of Staff, caused the Army take action on Dole's proposals to create ski units, according to a history on Fort Drum's website.

"After their legendary service during the war, many of the Soldiers of the 10th Mountain chose to stay in Colorado and helped found our mountain culture and ski communities," said U.S. Army Lt. Col. John Hancher, commander, 1-157th Infantry Battalion. "We're proud to carry forward the legacy of Soldiers who set the standard for mountaineering."

During the patching ceremony, Colorado Army National Guard Soldiers will pay homage to World War II veterans who served in the original 10th Mountain Division.

A 10th Mountain living history group will display period uniforms as well as historic 10th Mountain equipment alongside the current 1-157th equipment. Soldiers of the 1-157th will also showcase their military mountaineering skills with rappelling demonstrations.

The 1-157th has units in Alamosa, Colorado Springs, Grand Junction, Fort Lupton, and Windsor, Colo.