Sunday, April 17, 2016

10th Mountain Division Soldiers March in Formation

U.S. Tenth Mountain Division soldiers march in formation down a street at Camp Hale, Colorado, 1943 or 1944. They are carrying black regimental flags. Three barracks are in the background. Recruitment of the 10th was unique in Army history, in that a civilian organization selected and validated volunteer recruits, who came from ski clubs and schools, college skiing teams, and local search-and-rescue ski patrols. The National Ski Patrol vetted potential volunteers closely, and the National Ski Association aided in selection and screening. This was an era when such diversions as skiing and mountaineering were largely limited to the affluent, and an impressive number of the applicants held winter sports event and climbing records. Many volunteers were athletically inclined college students or graduates, resulting in the recruiting slogan “college boys to cowboys.” It was reasoned that it would be easier to turn experienced skiers into soldiers rather than train soldiers to ski. This gave the division a higher than normal number of college graduates, often from “Ivy League” universities, making them the most highly educated ground units in the service! This provoked complaints about creaming off potential officers and NCOs for other units, at a time when junior leaders were much needed. (By the time the division went to war the educational level had been watered down to some degree, but it was still higher than average.)

Source :
Book "US 10th Mountain Division in World War II" by Gordon L. Rottman and Peter Dennis

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