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10th Mountain Division oral history

February 11, 2011

The 10th Mountain Division, which trained at Camp Hale near Leadville to fight in the Alps during World War II, is an important part of Colorado’s history, not least because veterans of the Division returned to Colorado after the war to help develop the ski industry in our state.

I once taught Colorado history to a 10th Mountain Division veteran.  We hit it off well enough to take what seemed like the world’s longest one-day jeep trip over Kebler Pass to Crested Butte to Gunnison to Montrose to Grand Mesa and back to Battlement Mesa, but although he was proud to have served, we never discussed the specifics of his service.

During World War II, my mother lived at Climax where her dad worked at the Climax Molybdenum mine.  She told stories about the German prisoners-of-war who were housed at Camp Hale and put on a song-and-dance program for the local townspeople.

My personal interest in Camp Hale began in the 1960s when we lived near Leadville.  Since Camp Hale was off-limits, yet visible from the highway, we joined in the rampant speculation about what was really going on there.

I’m always on the lookout for 10th Mountain Division information.  Thus, I was intrigued by the Denver Public Library’s blog post today on 10th Mountain Division Oral Histories.  A sample is available in the video below.

Resources on the 10th Mountain Division and Camp Hale:

Prisoners of War at Camp Hale

Camp Hale Home Page

10th Mountain Division Home Page

Tales from the 10th: the 10th Mountain Division is born

Hazardous Materials and Waste Management Division Camp Hale

Aspen Historical Society history timeline 1940s

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