Whenever a transitioning Service member asks me “What should I do next?”, I like to point out the Riva Ridge ski run at Vail for some inspiration.
Today, Feb 18th is the anniversary of the 10th Mountain Division (10th Mtn,) assault on Riva Ridge. This assault on Riva Ridge enabled the further assault on Mt Belvedere, in the Italian Apennine mountain range. The German military had entrenched their defenses in the “Gothic Line” and were told to die defending it, while blocking allied movement to the north. This was the first combat the 10th Mtn. saw as unit, and despite the casualties, was an incredible success. Many other units had failed.
The 10th Mountain Division is the first, and I believe the only, unit that was lobbied for by US civilians. Charles “Minnie“ Dole, who founded the US National Ski Patrol, was inspired by the Finnish success against the Russians. He saw the need for the United States to develop a team of specialized, winter-operating troops. He the presented this idea to Army Chief of Staff, General George Marshall, who then approved the establishment of the 10th Mountain Division. “It’s easier to make a skier a soldier than a soldier a skier”, General Marshall said.
Among other things, the Soldiers from the 10th Mountain Division accomplished the following:
Invented/integrated the Snowmobile, the SnowCat AKA the “M29 Weasel” (When testing the SnowCat, the report included the comment “it floats”…they were not asked to test buoyancy).
Developed rudimentary chairlifts and winter/mountain medicine and climbing techniques.
Were responsible, in part, for the modern US Ski industry. They can be credited with founding or being key to the success of A-Basin, Aspen, Vail and at least 62 other ski resorts across the United States. They even cut a “Hut to Hut” route from Vail to Aspen.
Founded NOLS (National Outdoor Leadership School), the Springfield Television Corp, Skiing Magazine, and one member also served as the first Executive Director of the Sierra Club.
So today we would like to salute the 10th Mountain Division and thank them for all that they have contributed to not only the US Military, but to our way of life in America.
The gravest danger our Nation faces lies at the crossroads of radicalism and technology. Our enemies have openly declared that they are seeking weapons of mass destruction, and evidence indicates that they are doing so with determination.
The United States will not allow these efforts to succeed. … History will judge harshly those who saw this coming danger, but failed to act. In the new world we have entered, the only path to peace and security is the path of action.
~ President George W. Bush
How do we prevent the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction worldwide? (more…)
Homegrown Jihadist Terrorists: The Problem
“Homegrown” is the term that describes terrorist activity or plots perpetrated within the United States or abroad by American citizens, legal permanent residents, or visitors radicalized largely within the United States. The term “jihadist” describes radicalized individuals using Islam as an ideological and/or religious justification for their belief in the establishment of a global caliphate, or jurisdiction governed by a Muslim civil and religious leader known as a caliph. The Congressional Research Service (CRS) estimates that there have been 63 homegrown violent jihadist plots or attacks in the United States since September 11, 2001. As part of a much discussed apparent expansion of terrorist activity in the United States, from May 2009 through December 2012, arrests were made for 42 “homegrown,” jihadist-inspired terrorist plots by American citizens or legal permanent residents of the United States. Two of these resulted in attacks. Most of the 2009-2012 homegrown plots likely reflect a trend in jihadist terrorist activity away from schemes directed by core members of significant terrorist groups such as Al Qaeda. (more…)
After 9/11 the US government’s response to protect critical infrastructure throughout the country was to inact the Homeland Security Act. The primary mission of the Homeland Security Act is to prevent terrorist attacks within the United States, reduce the vulnerability to terrorism, minimize damage and assist in recovery from a terrorist attack that may occur in the United States. This Act allowed the development of the Department of Homeland Security. The Homeland Security Act provides the Homeland Security Secretary with the authority to direct and control investigations and access information needed to prevent terrorism. (more…)