Mountain Troops in Florida

Mountain Troops in Florida

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  • Jan, 27 , 23

Today, the 10th Mountain Division is one of a handful of particularly famous and prestigious divisions in the US Army. Although very closely associated with the Second World War, the modern iteration of the unit did not actually take shape and reach full strength until 1989.

The Army’s original 10th Division was raised in the summer of 1918 and fully deconstructed by February 1919, having never been deployed to Europe. Remnant sub-units of the division lingered on, having been renamed or reassigned, but when the 10th Light Division (Alpine) was activated in 1943, it was a completely new unit with no carryover from the original. In late 1944 the 10th Light Division was renamed 10th Mountain Division; that unit was demobilized at the end of the war. From 1948 to 1958, the 10th Infantry Division, with insignia that alluded to the elite 10th Mountain, served as a training and occupation force both at Camp Funston in Kansas and then in West Germany.

The new 10th Mountain Division was activated in 1985 and operational by 1989. A small portion of the division, primarily from the Supply and Services Battalion, deployed to the Middle East during Operation Desert Storm. The first large scale deployment of the new 10th Mountain Division was to South Florida in the aftermath of the 1992 Hurricane Andrew.  When the relief force arrived, one of its most urgent missions was to clear debris and reopen the lines of transportation. There is a certain irony that the Army’s elite mountain division spent much of its first large deployment clearing flood debris in South Florida, in August.

Since then, the 10th Mountain has more than proved its merit, being one of the most deployed division-sized combat units, if not the most deployed, in the entire Army. The mountainous terrain of Afghanistan in particular has served as a reminder that there is a place in the modern military for a dedicated mountain troop.

The 10th Mountain Division: A History from World War II to 2005 by Dennis Chapman (a West Point graduate and former officer in the division) will be arriving very soon.

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