10th Mountain Division Memorial - Breckenridge, CO
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Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member Outspoken1
N 39° 28.735 W 106° 02.841
13S E 409921 N 4370448
Quick Description: Memorial to the 10th Mountain Division in Breckenridge, CO
Location: Colorado, United States
Date Posted: 2/2/2008 6:14:56 PM
Waymark Code: WM337K
Published By: Groundspeak Regular Member "Paws"itraction
Views: 265

Long Description:

The 10th Mountain Division holds a special place in Colorado for several reasons. First, their training in the rugged Colorado Rockies help provide victories in the European mountains during WWII. The returning soldiers then helped propel the growth of the recreational ski industry in Colorado and the rest of the Rocky Mountain west. Their contributions helped to provide safety for America and economic growth for Colorado. Special vehicle license plates are available to honor the 10th Mountain Division.

In 1941, Minnie Dole approached the US Army with the need to train troops for winter survival and skiing. The site, 17 miles north of Leadville, 7 miles north of Tennessee Pass was chosen. The camp was planned to house more than 15,000 soldiers and support personnel of the newly established Tenth Mountain Division. Construction of Camp Hale was completed in November 1942. The camp lay at 9,300 feet altitude and was selected for its abundance of snow. Four trails were cut and the longest T-Bar in the country was installed at Cooper Hill.

Following two years of rigorous training, the Tenth Mountain Division was ordered to Italy in 1945 to spearhead an advance of the U.S. Army. In a series of actions that included Riva Ridge and Mt. Belvedere, the Tenth Mountain Division breached the supposedly impregnable Gothic Line in the Apennines and secured the Po River Valley to play a vital role in the liberation of northern Italy. By the time the Germans surrendered in May 1945, 992 ski troopers had lost their lives and 4,000 were wounded. This was the highest casualty rate of any U.S. division in the Mediterranean.

A monument has been placed at the entrance to Ski Cooper that is in memory of the soldiers who were killed in action in Italy. A second adjacent monument commemorates the soldiers of the 99th Battalion, Norwegian nationals who liberated Norway in May of 1945. Each year a Memorial Day service is held in May and a Ski-In-Reunion in March. Many ski troopers returned to Colorado after the war and were instrumental in the development of the Colorado ski industry. Several books have been written about these special veterans. Oliver North filmed a special segment of his "War Stories" about the Tenth Mountain Division on the slopes of Ski Cooper.

Camp Hale was placed on the National Register of Historic Places on April 10, 1992. There are interpretive signs at the site of Camp Hale and at the entrance to Ski Cooper. U.S. highway 24 from Leadville to Minturn has been designated as The Tenth Mountain Division Memorial Highway and is on the National Scenic and Historic Byway.

The Breckenridge 10th Mountain Division Memorial is in Riverfront Park in Breckenridge. The sculptor, Robert Eccelston stands 6’ high X 7’ wide X 3’ deep and was completed in 2003. "This monument is dedicated to the brave mountaineers who fought and died spearheading the allied drive to push the German Army out of Italy during World War II. This monument also pays tribute to the veterans of America’s “ski troops” who in their peacetime role became leaders in business, sports, and the ski industry in America."

Date of Dedication: 1/1/2003

Property Permission: Public

Access instructions: Riverfront Park in Breckenridge, CO

Website for Waymark: [Web Link]

Location of waymark:
Riverfront Park
Breckenridge, CO USA

Commemoration: 10th Mountain Division

Access times: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Include a photo containing, at minimum, the monument and your GPSr. We'd prefer a photo containing YOU at the monument, but we understand that some people are camera-shy.
Also include a bit about your visit here.
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