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Tonight on war stories.
Soldiers on skis.
Were an experimental units.
We've had postings here.
The brave men who took on the German.
In the mountains of little everything I didn't get that going up.
Heroes all including senator Bob Dole who nearly paid with his life -- -- radio.
-- Thing in my right shoulder America's tenth mountain division.
That's next on war stories.
And Oliver North and this is Cooper mountain.
-- in the Colorado Rockies and it was on this very slow but.
That the tough and tenacious -- of the legendary tenth mountain division race for battle during World War II.
The tenth was America's first and only -- warfare division in the face one of the toughest -- the Second World War.
To break Hitler's iron grip.
And the mountains of northern middle.
In this episode -- war stories you'll hear from the man who fought those high altitude battles among them senator Bob Dole.
And we'll hear their struggles with unrelenting folds the -- And the weather.
Forcing -- and steep slopes in bitter cold tonight.
You'll discover why all those -- ever worn the tenth mountain division -- are proud to be called the mountaineers.
Lawrence -- article.
Where a -- -- William.
-- The -- of the tenth mountain division remember their dead 57 years after the end of World War II.
-- Half a world away and under the new.
Tenth mountain division fight the war on terror in Afghanistan.
The serene and picturesque mountains of the American west -- the birthplace of the tenth.
America's first and only mountain division.
Fight against these dates back thousands of years -- -- regiments appeared in Scandinavia by the fifteen -- Snow and cold was a major factor for George Washington's army -- valley forge and 1777.
And it was a major -- on skis when Russia invaded them.
Huge battles for.
Thousands of men on skis and across the wide cleans and steps of Northern Europe.
Split with lots dad was a member of the -- he's the author of a book on the division soldiers on -- and he heads the Colorado military history museum.
Combat didn't stop because.
Winters said to him but in America took a tireless civilian to convince the war department that it would soon meet its own soldiers and schemes.
The Germans had bigger -- -- the Italians they're -- the -- There were mountains soldiers -- soldiers in our opposition army achievement.
His name was Charles let -- bill known as mini and he's the founder of the national ski patrol.
Volunteers and rescue injured skiers.
So many became the spokesperson and took it upon himself to.
-- that persuading -- might say to try to create this within the United States there.
Initially the government.
Had no interest in gold went to the time -- president Roosevelt and army chief of staff general George Marshall.
It worked in the fall of 41 Marshall gave the order to former regiment about a thousand men for an experimental mountain force.
-- an -- -- training and tactics of mountain warfare.
And fourth most in the state of Washington they're organizing special regiment who operate amid the rugged high.
The activation date of this experiment was the fifteenth of November just.
22 days before Pearl -- Earl Clark grew up in Chicago during the depression after graduating from high school he had -- west to Colorado as rocky mountain.
There's a little bit of -- I fell in love with the list -- it's just instantly.
He became an experienced mountain climber during Summers of the grand -- times and he knew the -- troops were for him.
That was what I was pointed toward because of my skiing and mountaineering and -- I have three letters of recommendation at that time for the tenth mountain division.
You Evans was born and Sandra -- California and became a rock clearance year as a youth.
Spent some time in the high Sierra.
Six -- pack trips I was reading of the Christian Science Monitor -- evening.
-- was a little story about the formation of the 87 -- -- Richard.
Bob Parker was the son of a teacher from an old New England -- you fell in love with skiing as a team.
We're -- careless there -- -- -- at all.
Either -- toes or.
Early people are live.
Old Hickory boards -- -- wedges and toast strapped -- binding.
The question church even which it didn't give you much purchase on this -- We've pretty much ran efficiently gotten to the bottom of the hill and it made them very.
We ski down.
Went back up but it was wonderful fun man and it still it.
Then there's the newly minted mountain troops were undergoing the first trading on the slopes of washing his Mount Rainier Japan bombed Pearl Harbor.
It made it look it up on the map.
Didn't know much about geography.
I was at the University of Kansas attending every farewell party and out of my classes.
This stuff that I remembered like it happened yesterday.
Bob Dole would later fight valiantly in the mountains of Italy and eventually run for the highest office in the land.
It had a big change of a generation of course and in a member of the illicit reserve in December 1942.
With more declared our forces begin a massive mobilization.
And general Marshal ordered a tripling the size of the mountain regiment.
We went mountain climbers -- You'll spinners to handle the pack animals -- -- veterinarians.
87 quickly swallowed up most of the college ski teams from the east along with their coaches most of them were Europeans.
The famous olympians join them one of the most famous world champion ski jumper -- to -- from Norway.
-- among jumpers was part of -- One launched the second record for the longest jump of his -- -- tremendously good 288 feet.
But there were ordinary Europeans to even Germans.
Well I got my first -- I know -- fiction.
-- Marat was born in Munich and spent much of his youth hiking and skiing in the rugged peaks where skiing was born the -- Because walking up -- we did a lot of then Hitler's dark cloud begin to spread across his native land.
My father was Jewish and my mother was Catholic and my mother saw the handwriting on the launch of you but you know so he meant to San Francisco and and he told me once you come on over do.
Bob was considered an enemy alien -- he fell in love with American wanted to join the army.
His -- -- and several letters of recommendation got him in a became a ski instructor and I enjoyed it very much.
-- all these -- of the mountains coming together in one place camaraderie morale rents sky high.
And -- traditions along with soon -- If it would have come -- You know first cadre of officers in the 87.
When they're on Mount Rainier.
-- At Fort Lewis they made up a lot of these wonderful songs opting -- -- contributions haven't.
They took -- -- and European -- -- sounds and changed the words to suit our environment in the situation.
And for instance the famous bell bottomed trousers one of the great sums of the navy became ninety pounds a ruck sack for a good.
It contributed greatly to them.
And still -- it recently.
But the state troopers knew these sweet sounds of music would soon be replaced by the deadly cacophony of combat.
It was their job to figure out how to wage war in the mountains.
You're not just out there to see the sights and -- don't use torture out there make contact with the enemy and defeat the -- you're going to die.
The weather warriors test a new weapon of war.
We'll take -- for a ride one of these reasons when war stories for.
Shortly after Pearl Harbor the war department realized it would have to expand the small mountain training -- -- division.
And we'll have to find a place big enough for almost 151000.
And then -- and don't.
They -- someplace remote and someplace mountainous places -- lot of snow.
They picked a spot in Colorado and called it can't prevailed.
The recruited a veritable army of workers and the lure of a dollar ten an hour in wages.
And there probably as many.
Men who were working on building the campus or were who were eventually station -- when it was completed.
Just to keep them fed cooks dished out three pounds of potatoes 3000 loaves of -- 700 pounds of butter and 20000 eggs every single day.
They were in a race against time to build an entire base before the winter snows.
Really a miracle to put into community.
From nothing they chopped down seventeen square miles of trees and leveled the valley -- two million cubic yards of earth over I was in buildings were created.
In the valley and so forth from an empty valley and April of 1942.
To a bustling base just seven months later.
There were barracks mess halls chapels -- theater -- Barnes warehouses.
Even a combat village.
And not far away as ski slope for training Cooper bill.
What was this hillside like you first got here in the midst of World War II.
Well there were more there were more trees than -- them and you see here today the trail and fly.
-- appeal is actually twelve miles -- that -- yes.
Yup that's the old RG railroad line that was one of the reasons they -- -- -- Because it was on the railroad line as the troops poured in testing of equipment stepped up.
-- may first 1940s who.
Euphoric -- in the development there was no vehicle for a special operations.
McCain's already developed were investigated.
-- -- -- -- -- I have practice round and it.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- Factory vehicle with -- -- differential here.
This is -- and 29 C -- made by Studebaker and tested right here for the tenth mountain division.
It looks small but this tough little vehicle that all of the 12100 pounds about what it would take six -- -- -- And the weasels a whole lot -- -- They call that -- weasel because it could go just about anywhere.
Leaves them all -- your -- -- their training it enables them to.
Get supplies two the troops when they're out on maneuvers around the belly.
They also couldn't -- -- tow ropes to the back of the weasel.
And told us from troops on skis.
Paths there's amphibious skipped the troops on the front -- -- -- -- Use it in water and the troops would.
-- -- -- -- water so it was a very personal machine that they live up to their expectations.
I think they did there are very versatile there obviously were certain.
Parts of the terrain -- couldn't go and that's when the mules came in -- The army at all but phased out animals except for the -- they got horses and thousands of mules.
Clothing and other gear was high tech for its time to types and.
The gloves have -- -- that no on the inside that had a trigger finger built into it so that you could.
Where the glove and still be able to fire your weapon.
But there was one thing the equipment could not protect them from.
-- had -- strange -- I've built in black smoke and most coughing so the smoke from.
Heeding the barracks along with the train smoke created this inversion.
And many of us most of us got to handle hack what was the -- that came from.
Bringing in the coal smoke.
As our ski troops -- across the Atlantic the German soldiers that eventually -- reported by their positions in the Italian Alps.
They were creating a defensive line that would frustrate numerous allied attempts to break through it.
Could not have.
Anything -- great respect for them they were fierce warrior.
Coming up the metal -- -- to a frigid -- three weeks about or maneuvers and harsh winter weather.
Wizards -- walls a whole lot worse than this that's ahead on war stories.
In June 1942.
Many americans' worst fears were realized -- Japan seems to American soil.
On the islands of apt to -- These -- part of the last resolution should.
Mountainous and -- outposts in the frigid Bering Sea in the spring of 43.
FDR ordered them retake.
And took -- after very very.
Many American boys died in part because they weren't prepared for the cold weather and harsh mountainous terrain.
The 87 mountain regiment wars.
We were given an assignment to be part.
Of the lending Porsche on the added that casket.
It was called -- task force -- that set sail from San Francisco July 20 ninth 1943.
-- strong it was the largest army amphibious operation of the -- today.
Then we -- because they're positive -- -- landing on August 15 of 43.
Seventh was to land at a different place this -- take the -- -- -- the mountain.
So that the regular flat land army infantry and land on the -- -- a little under the protection.
What they did not know what the time was at the enemy has already slipped away.
The -- of American blood was shed and -- it.
Japanese booby traps killed several.
A mind -- -- navy destroyer taking with a 300 sailors.
And two separate units of the 87 were involved in -- harrowing friendly fire fight.
The -- that they assaulted.
Was basically U shaped bridge.
So that if you went to the tip of that you were really directly in front.
Of the unit at the other end of.
-- when they got up into this fall and they couldn't see who's on the other side you.
And so firefight between two and began firing back and forth that -- one other.
They can -- people -- the -- -- the enemy in fact they were.
They're very comrades from their their own regiment eleven men died and several others were wounded.
That was of particular sadness to me because of the first lieutenant killed on the and a -- as -- -- room.
It -- simmer 43 the 87 was back at -- -- And by then the new 85 and 86 regiments have been added.
And all were about to face a challenge some remember.
As the most difficult of their lives.
In World War II every army division.
Before could be deployed combat.
Month long series of tests that you called.
It's that particular -- which turned out to be absolutely the most severe five weeks -- -- was.
-- -- -- snowstorms and extremely low temperatures.
We were high in the mountains underneath -- feet.
It was really cold and we let them know.
We were told that it may have even hit fifty.
Guys were stranded upon mountains -- couldn't get to them with rations the equipment -- because it became so brutal.
And one day over a hundred cases of frostbite.
Had to be effective.
But we survived I didn't think.
And they now believe there wasn't anything they couldn't do.
All of us felt that we had accomplished something that we really beyond belief.
And that's when they were details -- to.
Texans can reflect -- tree at camp swift near Austin.
Two wrong after we got there that the reason there was -- the stage -- -- appreciation.
There were about to get a -- lieutenant from Kansas named Bob Dole.
I got what goes on to date commissions.
Fort Benning Georgia class street 60 December 194490.
Days I've lost everything.
Did you at that point no you were destined for.
Know what I knew I was just somewhere because -- -- short on second lieutenants that somewhere was the mountains of Italy.
Reached soon discover the special bond the men for me.
I think one of the things it.
Made the tenth mountain division as great as it later became.
Was the feeling of total confidence in -- in your -- in your comrade in in years.
In the mountainous little Italy's -- the Germans did in their -- -- allies tried over and over to break through without success.
The -- called.
Finished the job that's ahead.
On war stories.
On July ninth 1943 more than a hundred -- thousand Americans and British soldiers landed on the island the system.
The giving the drive to retake it.
Two months later the US fifth army -- Salerno.
On the main.
The last allied invasion gathers momentum with each passing day.
-- -- -- Destined to blast their way on the Italian -- On June 4 nineteen.
For nearly -- relate to allies finally took Rome from the Germans.
-- three quarters of him telling students who was -- LA he's.
But like 44 the Germans have retreated north to a defensive line running east to west through the mountain range known as -- happen it's.
It went from solution totally -- -- they had approximately 500000.
US fifth army suffered 151000.
Casualties in just six weeks.
Trying to break through the German defenses.
Basically the -- beat coma stalemate in the northern happens the ski troops now a full fledged division the tenth now.
Will be assigned to break through the German defenses on the would rely.
This is basically -- the last line of mountains and defenses before the -- -- some Germans really.
Needed to hold on that this would keep the and this is running like crazy.
Through the flat -- into the -- belly and then into the Alps.
They arrived in Naples with the Italian people were surviving in desperate conditions.
I just remember there is many boats upside down there were right side up.
In the harbor many many attend and children out there with -- -- trying to big for who.
Little boys selling their sisters and prostitution.
The vulgarity of the situation really hits you between the eyes -- for combat the men headed north -- staging area near flawless.
They begin patrolling to give a sense of working with the front lines were like finally went from positions were.
They're objective no -- A peak overlooking the Germans crucial main supply route from northern city highway 64.
The importance of that from a military standpoint was that controlled the highway ramp and parts and -- That high ground would be able to prevent any kind of troop movements through those valleys.
-- -- take Belvedere they first need to take another series of meetings known as Riva ridge.
Did rises about 3500 feet from the valley floor and on the side that was facing the allies.
It was almost this year cliff face.
The Germans on the summit of Riva ridge totally control and but the approaches tomorrow -- think.
And what the officers of the tenth mountain side it was they would do with sneak attack in the middle of the night and basically.
Surprise the Germans.
They hit an Italian homes for several days.
We that Laura wood and after dark you know moving trucks -- the dark but.
Then laid on the eighteenth of February 700 wins the first defendant 86 begin a daring night climb up the sheer cliffs -- -- -- Something the Germans never expect.
We put 1205.
Companies have been freed -- five different -- wrote.
-- in between 15102008.
Elements reach the summit without being detected.
Came -- behind the German positions on me read.
And it was ours is one.
The next night just before midnight five battalions in the tenth mountain began their assault on -- Belvedere and its sister be -- -- I was assigned to be -- scout for the third societies have.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- Bob narrowly escaped death I would.
Running -- -- diving into a shell hole.
And it -- landed right next to me.
-- and then it -- hole I would have been killed instantly.
Revenues courage and -- we're gonna -- earned him the silver star.
Who led the charge on the Nazi physician at the peak.
The enemy -- engaged us.
They were shelling.
Firing machine gun fire and I came Bob Fisher made -- ripple through the chest.
He died they're saying dear god.
Please tell me.
And that infuriated me at the time and and let's say.
And you're probably is an important.
Part of the dangerous part.
Any combat situation.
Go up and see where these machine gun fire.
Threw a grenade into what was a fox hole and jumped -- Dead German here and there were two Germans gave up.
Looked ahead down the next -- some stuff.
Somehow I hit the guy who ran down jump into treatment and there was it.
German machine gun.
-- down and they gave.
And I saw the Germans running down.
Turn the Russian.
Troops and troops.
Now started coming over the ridge.
The soldiers came up their hands of any one of those if they've had their head -- -- definitely with me.
In -- -- You Evans had just captured Al Gore -- -- -- And during the final days of the Belvedere battle Bob Dole was assigned my company 85 regiment of the tenth mountain.
Viewers sighed as rift between commanders.
As a replacement for a lieutenant who killed you know.
Most of those guys have been together ever since you on the only strange.
Your town here they gonna accept me other gonna say this -- I didn't know any thing but they accepted me and we had.
Great group of guys.
The successful capture of Riva ridge Belvedere and guerrillas to more than three men in the tenth mountain was killed and 706.
-- There was little time to mourn their dead.
For the division was ordered to push north to take more the Italian high ground from the German defenders.
One mountain peak after another peak and valley after valley remembering that the enemy is on the top of everything.
Near the bottom of -- The mountain troops victories and Riva ridge of mount Belvedere encourage the allies and -- the Germans really.
There's still bloody battles ahead that's next on war stories.
Put this victory at river ridge and -- Belvedere the tenth mountain division had quickly established a reputation as fierce combatants.
And Riva ridge they also demonstrated amazing engineering skills.
-- our troops 15100 feet above the valley floor how do you supplied them.
-- engineer company was.
Asked to put an imperial family between the valley floor and the summit of Riva ridge and that was done in one day.
And so we were able almost immediately.
To take food and ammunition to some of freedom by aerial tram and evacuate they killed in the wounded and so forth bring them down by that.
Beyond -- supplying troops is accomplished by mule -- -- Or anything that works we were in charge of -- goes hand in character surprise -- Lieutenant Bob courthouse -- quartermaster but I was born in 1909 less than a year after Henry Ford's first model -- rolled off his production line.
A lot of -- quarter masters the world so combat.
Infantryman and -- like doing core work.
All through march and early April they advanced inch by inch pushing the enemy back.
And suffered of course occasions with the local -- secured the -- So -- American girls from the Red Cross they were handing out donuts.
As we went high few hundred yards from where the the Frontline at the end of me that earlier that morning I thought this -- -- -- Among the advancing soldiers were two members of the famous -- -- singers Rupert and world.
-- -- stepmother Gloria that one day be immortalized in the Broadway musical movie the sound of music.
Bob -- often Rupert were friends.
He -- in the same.
First battalion -- that I was.
Berger spoke fluent German.
Weaver an infantry and he saved countless lives on March 5 when he was able to eavesdrop on the German twenty ninth -- -- Planning -- -- And relay that information to his commanders.
And and containment.
Another famous European world champion ski jumper to order to -- from Norway it wasn't so lucky.
Saw his body in fact on -- hill had been shot and killed it put a shock through the division -- they just could not believe.
That tour could be killed him he was their hero.
By early -- American and British commanders have prepared a major offensive they hope.
We'll deliver the decisive blow to the Germans in this.
As part of operation craftsman -- and Bob Dole and his men -- to drive the Germans from the mountains.
And sees the -- river valley below.
And Bob Dole was.
Given the task of taking and machine gun so to build and.
I went out to get a radio man.
What -- Drag him back into the foxhole because he'd been hit for.
And about time I got to him -- got them back in the -- I felt the sting in my right shoulder.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- my -- in my blood morphine.
Give me morphine that was about nine hours from time I think so the long not a member of going down the hill on the -- because I'm.
It's vaguely remember that sharp pain in my back.
Lieutenant dole wasn't expected to live.
But he proved doctors wrong so we've never regain the full use of his right arm.
The April 14 offense -- the broken through the last line of German mountain defenses but the cost was enormous.
-- in the tenth mountain division were killed or wounded.
Captain one day alone.
Now -- a race to the po river.
The Germans and full retreat.
First it's only -- unit of any kind of those two armies to actually physically.
They crossed under heavy fire and amphibious vehicles known as ducks and even small -- -- And pretty soon everyone was -- You know stroke.
Stroke it was a riot.
-- Germany 88 exploding overhead but.
We got across pretty good order and was relatively -- -- Next it was on the -- garden with a towering -- not far beyond that took.
Mussolini's -- But the much feared dictator had already been captured by the Italian resistance and they had taken him to Milan.
And killed him.
Along with his mistress and other fascist leaders their bodies were put on public display.
Two days later Adolf Hitler committed suicide in his bunker in Berlin.
And then on May second the Germans suddenly decided.
Had enough and the commander of the German forces in Italy.
Decided that he would surrender but general fiddling -- -- refused to give up to anyone other than general days the commander of the men who'd beaten him.
Among the troops the reaction was anything but celebration.
It was one of miraculous really.
The war is over and I am alive.
The war ends but we accomplish with the -- -- thing.
Bob -- co found -- and Bob nortel's books along this trim way in the world will take a ride.
-- war stories for.
After the war some of the ski troops continued their love affair with the mountains.
Many of them were very instrumental.
In the growth of the American skiing industry afterwards they found under manage more than sixty ski areas in the United States.
Bob Parker started skiing magazine then with other men of the -- founded -- -- the most successful ski areas in the world.
Many of the -- of the tenth mountain division were in the world skiing.
After the war felt that Bob was the marketing genius.
So we created the success of the -- can hear it -- Bob nor does became a legend in two fields as an attorney he became one of the nation's leading defenders of Indian rights.
Even arguing cases before the Supreme Court.
It's a starter a scary thing years ago before that court.
We -- that's me.
And he became known as the father of skiing in this state he is skiing in the Mexico of -- started at all.
Got two skiers started.
Build the -- way it is.
And Bob took Earl Clark Bob Parker and war stories for a ride on the -- bill.
The world's longest -- Thank god yes and 1955.
-- just gave.
It was two point seven miles rising to an altitude of over 101000 feet from Albuquerque to the -- of the -- -- Sandia peak.
Security about it and people from all over the world.
Bob Dole became the majority leader of the United States senate and a candidate for president.
But in 1945 was just another GI struggling to recover from horrendous injuries for years and -- -- -- -- -- -- On Bob Dole came from modest means that his hometown pitched in to get in the best medical care possible.
-- donations filled the cigar box that he still keeps sort of tell me about -- ago.
They had the idea that will raise enough money to get this fantasy.
That bald -- we raised about 18100 dollars I recall.
And that paid my hospital -- two remaining moments when you said the success.
I think so I think they don't try to think -- some of those.
But I couldn't use my left arm took about eleven months to get Obama feeding him.
Then you look around see somebody's really sick you think you're pretty -- if somebody's -- somebody out in the bed next season well.
The original test for these weasels and that is the new thing.
Fighting the war on terror Afghanistan that's ahead on forceful.
The -- was deactivated in 1945.
But brought back in nineteen.
No longer ski troops it's now called the tenth mountain division light infantry.
Soldiers of the tenth of -- in the gulf war.
Played a big role in operation restore hope in Somalia help restore democracy in Haiti.
We're peacekeeping troops in Bosnia.
And then they were sent to Afghanistan to take on terrorists.
-- attack America.
On September 11 2001.
Tenth mountain division -- stands.
For the skill.
And -- but our military.
And stands for the best values of the United States of America.
You have the nation's gratitude.
For all you've done.
They -- reunions when you.
-- -- -- -- -- -- -- Just recently I was in Dallas Texas and that about sixteen and these guys.
Many of the -- of the -- still -- and see each other often.
But Earl Clark hadn't seen Bob courthouse in twenty years until we brought them together and -- -- and Albuquerque.
Where hair dye her hair out around.
I remind people.
Where would you be today.
These guys not -- -- World -- -- what language you speak.
To get up and criticize your government.
You can't live in the past the -- think about the pass some time to move ahead in the future but.
-- -- And you look back fifty years it's -- liberty freedom.
Being there when your call by your country.
Sometimes paying high -- Members of the -- and I think they're great.
There's no denying you did great things before during and after the war.
The names of nearly a thousand of carved into their stone memorial right here the -- -- Cooper mountains ample evidence of that.
Most of them lost their lives thousands of miles from here on battlegrounds middle.
But they were -- in the mountains.
And this is where there's spirit resides.
Right here high in these Colorado Rockies.
Theirs is a war story that deserves to be told.
I'm all of north.
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