LITTLETON—The story of the famous World War Two era 10th Mountain Division will be the focus of the final event in the 2016 Littleton Public Library Author Series.
The featured speaker for the Wednesday, October 19, event will be Jeff Leich, longtime executive director of the Franconia Notch–based New England Ski Museum and author of the book, “Tales of the Tenth,” which chronicles the history of the 10th Mountain Division.
Following its formation in November 1941, the U.S. War Department engaged the National Ski Patrol to fill the ranks of the new mountain troops, and this unique recruiting method brought together thousands of like-minded men oriented to a life in the outdoors. Three intensive winters of experimentation with military mountain doctrine and high altitude training, two of them at Camp Hale, Colorado, hardened 10th Mountain Division soldiers to an elite level of fitness and skill in mountain operations. When the 10th entered combat in the Apennine Mountains of Italy in January 1945, they distinguished themselves in a series of brutal battles in the waning days of World War II.
After the war, many of its veterans drew upon the skills that had gotten them into the mountain unit, and turned them into modes of living, and of earning a living, in the mountain environment. Some of their efforts resulted in thriving educational and business in the outdoor recreation field that would boom in the 1950s and thereafter.
In recognition of their activation seventy five years ago, the Ski Museum is currently hosting an exhibit that focuses on the profound influence that 10th Mountain veterans had on the direction that skiing and outdoor recreation would take in postwar America. The exhibition, The Mountain Troops and Mountain Culture in Postwar America, can be seen at the Museum in Franconia Notch State Park through mid-April 2017.
This program is free and open to the public.