10th Mountain Division (Light infantry) – Climb to Glory

10th Mountain Division during patrol
Soldiers from the U.S. Army’s Bravo Company, 1 battalion, 32nd Infantry, of the 10th Mountain Division based in Fort Drum, New York, patrol in Pengram district, Logar province October 14, 2009. REUTERS/Nikola Solic (AFGHANISTAN CONFLICT MILITARY)

The 10th Mountain Division is a light infantry division in the United States Army. They are based at Fort Drum, New York. The 10th Mountain Division is a subordinate unit of the XVIII Airborne Corps.

Originally, 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) of US Army is constituted as a unique mountain warfare unit. It was the only unit of its size in the U.S. Army to specialize in fighting in mountainous and arctic conditions, thus earning the division the “MOUNTAIN” tab.

Today, the division retains its mountain designation for historical purposes and is organized as a light infantry division.

Originally founded as the 10th Light Division (Alpine) in 1943, the division was redesignated the 10th Mountain Division in 1944 and fought in the mountains of Italy in some of the roughest terrain in the country under heavy fire and conditions. Following the World War II, the division was deactivated, only to be reactivated and redesignated as the 10th Infantry Division in 1948. It first acted as a training division and in 1954 was converted to a full combat division and sent to Germany before being deactivated again in 1958.

Members of 10th mountain division (history)

Reactivated again in 1985, the division was designated the 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry), to historically tie it to the World War II division and to also better describe its modern disposition. Since its reactivation the division and/or elements of the division have deployed numerous times since.


Missions since last reactivation (1985)

The 10th Mountain Division (Light Infantry) has been involved in:

  • Operation Desert Storm (Saudi Arabia)
  • Hurricane Andrew disaster relief (Homestead, Florida)
  • Operation Restore Hope and Operation Continue Hope (Somalia)
  • Operation Uphold Democracy (Haiti)
  • Operation Joint Forge (Bosnia and Herzegovina)
  • Operation Joint Guardian (Kosovo)
  • several deployments as part of the Multinational Force and Observers (Sinai Peninsula)

Since 2001, the division, and its four combat brigades have seen over 20 deployments to both Iraq and Afghanistan in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom and Operation Enduring Freedom, respectively.

Patch: 10th Mountain Division (Light infantry)

The only Medal of Honor recipient Private First Class John D. Magrath – April 14, 1945

On April 14th, Private First Class John D. Magrath, from East Norwalk, Connecticut, assigned to Company G, 2d Battalion 85th Infantry, became the division’s only Medal of Honor recipient. His company was pinned down by heavy artillery, mortar and small-arms fire near Castel d’ Aiano, Italy. Shortly after the company had crossed the line of departure, it came under intense enemy fire and the company commander, Captain Halvorson was killed.

Volunteering to accompany the acting commander with a small reconnaissance party moving on Hill 909, radioman Magrath set out with the group. After going only a few yards, the party was pinned down. But instead of flopping to the ground as the others had done, Magrath, armed only with his M-1 Garand, charged ahead and disappeared around the corner of a house. Coming face to face with two Germans manning a machine gun, Magrath killed one and forced the other to surrender. Five more of the enemy emerged from their foxholes, firing at Magrath and retreating toward their own lines. Discarding his rifle in favor of the deadlier German MG-34 machine gun, Magrath mowed down the fleeing enemy, killing one and wounding three.

He then saw another German position, moved forward, and exchanged fire until he had killed two and wounded three and captured their weapon. The rest of Company G followed his lead with amazed admiration. Later that day, Magrath volunteered to run through heavy shelling to gather a casualty report. As he was crossing an open field, two mortar rounds landed at his feet, killing him instantly. John Magrath, age nineteen, was awarded the Medal of Honor, posthumously. In June 1995, Fort Drum, New York renamed its Soldiers Sports Complex as the John D. Magrath Gymnasium. A plaque and portrait at Magrath Gym honor his memory.

Obviously, the 10th Mountain Division (Light infantry) is one of the brightest examples of the good and capable unit with a great history in United States Army.

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