NEWS | Oct. 30, 2016

History honored, legacy preserved

By Staff Sgt. Lally Laksberg Colorado National Guard

CAMP HALE, Colo. – More than 700 Soldiers, veterans, descendants, and community members gathered at Camp Hale, Oct. 30, to take part in the historic patching ceremony of the 1st Battalion, 157th Infantry Regiment (Mountain), Colorado Army National Guard, as it became part of the 10th Mountain Division.

 

The ceremony was held at Camp Hale to honor the 10th Mountain Division’s lineage and the historical significance of the unit to the State of Colorado. Camp Hale is the historic training site of the 10th Mountain Division during WWII.

 

The alignment is part of the Army’s Associated Units initial program rollout that establishes formal relationships between units across the active Army, Army Reserve and the Army National Guard. The program leverages capabilities and capacities to meet the demands of the current military environment.

 

“This transition demonstrates the capabilities of the National Guard with the Associated Units program,” said Col. John Hancher, commander, 1-157 IN (MTN), Colorado Army National Guard, from Colorado Springs, Colorado. “We have more of a one-Army concept so we can display our readiness as America’s Army.”

 

Throughout the day, Soldiers and 10th Mountain Division Living History Display Group interacted with attendees demonstrating vintage and modern military equipment.

 

“We are delighted to have the 10th back in Colorado and embrace you all with open arms,” said Hugh W. Evans, 10th Mountain Division World War II veteran and Silver Star recipient. “I want to congratulate all of these troops on becoming members of what we think was one of the best divisions that existed.”

Evans was inducted into the Colorado Ski & Snowboard Hall of Fame in the Class of 2016. He was recognized for his guidance in the development of the 10th Mountain Division Hut and Trail system that opened up the backcountry to all ages and abilities.

Throughout the ceremony, visitors were told about the history of the division and also given the opportunity to watch scouts, wearing historical and current uniforms, rappel down and climb up a cliff overlooking the ceremony site.  The crowd was also reminded that veterans from the 10th Mountain Division were instrumental in the formation of the modern U.S. ski industry and the founding of more than 60 ski resorts and training schools across the country.

 

Several 10th Mountain Division World War II veterans attended the ceremony and participated in patching of several 1-157 Soldiers.

 

“This is an amazing opportunity in terms of aligning mountain forces together in the proper environment for training, mobilization and future training opportunities for the entire division to come to Colorado to utilize the mountain environment to train infantry tasks,” said Command Sgt. Maj. Lawrence Perreault, 1-157 IN (MTN), Colorado Army National Guard, from Colorado Springs, Colorado.

 

The 10th Mountain Division was established in 1943 at Camp Hale, Colorado. The division was deactivated following World War II but was re-activated as the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) at Fort Drum, New York. Since the re-activation, the 10th Mountain Division has been, and continues to be the most deployed division in the U.S. Army.

 

“When you talk about an environment that has low oxygen and high altitude…having an infantry battalion here in the mountains of Colorado just makes perfect sense to have that alignment with a mountain unit,” said Perreault.

 

The 1-157 IN (MTN) assumes its role as one of only three mountain infantry battalions in the U.S. Army, all hailing from Army National Guard units in mountainous states.

More photographs of the ceremony can be found on our CONationalGuard Flickr site.