Tuesday, October 30, 2007

10th Mountain Division Leadership

For those of you that are not familiar with the historically impressive 10th Mountain Division, it is worth noting that this group of men have been a source of strength and acheivement from the Division's inception in 1943.

The 10th Mountain's specialty involves fighting effectively in harsh conditions. It is designed for rapid deployment anywhere in the world.

The development of a specialized unit began before the United States entered World War II. In 1940 the War Department began working with the American Alpine Club and the National Ski Patrol Committee of the National Ski Association to develop equipment and training for winter and mountain warfare. The 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment was activated at Fort Lewis, Washington on November 15, 1941, drawing its initial members from men already in the Army who had previous ski and mountaineering experience. Thereafter the National Ski Patrol recruited volunteers for the unit, under a contract with the War Department.

So you can see that these guys were chosen for being tough and resourceful...and the results show in some of the Division's alumni...

Bob Dole Former Senate Majority Leader and Presidential candidate
David R. Brower Founder of the Sierra Club
Bill Bowerman Co founder of Nike
Pete Seibert Founder of Vail Ski Resort
Paul Petzoldt Founder of NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School) and inventor of the carribiner.

A very impressive group of men that were put into a situation where they had no template. Due to the fact that they were doing something that had never been done before, they were required to create their own training exercises and drills. They attempted to simulate extreme environments so as to be prepared for any situation that they would encounter throughout their deployments. This had them field testing equipment in the mountains that was crude at best...and it was through their ingenuity that they not only survived but thrived.

They are a wonderful illustration of resourceful ingenuity and comraderie...not unlike what my climbing partners and I have experienced through our own alpine challenges.