Keene Valley The local members of the 10th Mountain Division were celebrated at the Keene Valley Congregational Church as part of a benefit for the Keene Veterans Memorial Fund on Aug. 8.
The 10th mountain division began 70 years ago while the globe was embroiled in World War II. The division, made up of ski patrolmen, skiers, and mountain climbing enthusiasts, suffered more casualties than any other unit and trained unlike any army division.
Original 10th Mountain Division members and residents of Keene and Upper Jay area Charles Smith, Lou Vincent and Bob Trumbull were special guests to the showing of the film, “The Last Ridge.” The men were honored with a standing ovation following the film.
Following the showing, the audience joined the soldiers to talk about their experience in the division amongst displays of photographs and some of their original gear.
Through the film it depicts the Divisions birth and their feats of bravery, doing the impossible in the mountains of Italy, scaling a 2,000-foot cliff on a cold winter night to knock the Germans from an, “impenetrable perch.”
But the 10th Mountain did more than turn the tide for the Allies in Italy. They revolutionized winter mountain warfare abroad, transformed winter sports at home and blazed a path of honor for generations to come.
Produced by 10th Mountain descendent Abbie Kealy, the program was filmed extensively in Colorado, Italy, Afghanistan and Yugoslavia, with insights from over 100 10th Mountain soldiers.
Smith said he has a copy of the film at home but it was great to watch the film and experience it alongside members of his community. The experience with the division is something he is grateful for and he said he loves to tell people about it.
“It was great, even around Plattsburgh people like to hear about what it was like in the 10th Mountain Division and everyone seems to know about it,” Smith said.