* Lowell Skoog has a copy of each article marked with an asterisk.
p. 21: McLane, Charles, "Of Mules and Skis" *
An account of the Mt Rainier phase of mountain troop training, during the winter of 1941-42. When the author arrived at Fort Lewis in autumn 1941 with his orders, he was told, "Lad you are the Mountain Infantry. You're a one man regiment." Pearl Harber was attacked shortly thereafter and during the blackouts and confusion that followed, "we guessed at the odds of the Regiment's surviving that first week."
During an eight-week training period, the mountain troops were on skis six hours a day, six days a week. Instructors ironed out conflicting theories, for example Swiss versus Austrian ski techniques. A highlight of the season was the Silver Skis championships, in which the Army placed seven men in the first ten. The author describes the social life at Paradise, including the Glee Club performance each Saturday evening. The most popular song was a story of the Paul Bunyan-like hero Oola and his cousin Sven, with words fitting the tune, "There Was a Desperado from the Wild and Wooly West."Later the Heavy Weapons Company added its two bits:
Oola had a cousin from the wild and wooly west.
While Oola liked the skiing, Sven liked snowshoeing the best.
They got into the mountain troops to put it to the test
And everywhere they went they gave their war whoop!
Oh, give me skis and some poles and klister
And let me ski way up on Alta Vista.
You can take your snowshoes and burn them, Sister,
And everywhere I go I'll give my war whoop!
Everyone was keen to see how it would all come out.
The Winter Warfare Board was standing anxiously about,
And even Axis agents had been sent up there to scout,
And everyone was waiting for the war whoop!
The Colonel pulled the trigger and they started out to race.
Sven got an early start and set a most terrific pace,
But Oola whipped right by him with a sneer upon his face,
And when he reached the top he gave his war whoop!
Two seconds later Oola finished in a mighty schuss,
Passing on the way poor Sven a-lying on his puss.
The moral of this story is that snowshoes have no use.
Now poor old Sven no longer gives his war whoop!
The 87th had a Heavy Weapons Company.
It spent six weeks at Paradise but never learned to ski.
The reason for this tragedy as you can plainly see
Was everywhere they went they wore their snowshoes.
Following the Silver Skis race the troops dropped ski instruction and pursued a simulated enemy throughout Paradise Valley. This was revealing, and the author writes: "We stumbled, found ourselves clumsy and slow. We were not clever yet at fighting in the mountains. It would take time."
p. 20: U.S. Army Signal Corps photo: "Camouflaged mountain troops..." *
A long line of troops skis down Alta Vista on Mt Rainier (fine).
p. 23: U.S. Army Signal Corps photo *
Five troopers with equipment stand on skis with the Tatoosh Range in the background (fine).
p. 33: U.S. Army Signal Corps photo: "High altitude patrol." *
A long line of soldiers climbs past Alta Vista with the Tatoosh Range in the background (fine).
p. 42: Dole, Charles M., "The President and Aide Go Travelling" *
This article describes a trip financed by the War Department enabling NSA representatives to visit para-ski troops in Utah and the 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment in Washington and to coordinate activities of the National Ski Patrol System throughout the country. The national office of the NSPS is the only civilian agency authorized to assist in recruiting specialized personnel for the Army mountain troops. At the time of this writing, over 1,500 men have gone to the 87th Mountain Infantry through this office. Charley McLane was the first such recruit. The author describes visiting the mountain troops at Paradise on Mt Rainier and riding on a snowmobile. On p. 47 is a photo of the author and Colonel Rolfe with Mt Rainier in the backgroud.
p. 94: Laughlin, James IV, "Ski Parachute Troops" *
In January 1942, the War Department began an experiment with ski paratroops at Alta, Utah. Dick Durrance headed the ski teaching staff and 150 men, already skilled paratroopers, but not skiers, received instruction in skiing. The soldiers began with snowplow and worked up to a fast lifted stem. They were also given instruction in cross-country steps. They moved on to ski tours around the Alta basin and eventually overnight tours. Finally, they practiced parachute jumping in the mountains. The author writes: "Thus we have available now a force ready to undertake small scale demolition operations against military objectives located in alpine territory as well as the knowledge of how to train a larger force for such tasks in short order."
p. 99: McNeil, Fred H., "Skiing and the War" *
The author discusses what will become of skiing now that the U.S. is at war. He predicts that despite shortages of gas and rubber, people will still get together and head out for snow country. The big tournaments are over for the duration, but junior competitions should thrive. Older skiers will keep clubs and associations alive, and the men and women in the war effort will thank them for it when they get back. "I know this because I was ever so grateful to the old heads who kept my outing club going while I was away in the last war."
p. 108: Dole, Charles M., "Mountain Forces to Be Enlarged" *
This bulletin from the National Ski Patrol System seeks men for the mountain forces:"Men who have lived and worked in the mountains, such as rock climbers, trappers, packers, guides, prospectors, timber cruisers, etc., are preferred; if they ski, so much the better. Good skiers without extensive mountaineering experience, if they are physically fit for rigorous winter and mountain training, will be acceptable. We shall be glad to consider the applications of any young men who can show evidence of exceptional fitness as raw material, even though they have had no broad mountain experience. The emphasis is on toughness and the ability to 'take it.' No candidate need be a member of the National Ski Association or of any ski or mountain club."
p. 171: Clifford, Howard, "The Year at Rainier" *
Despite travel restrictions, one hundred thousand skiers visted Paradise Valley at Mt Rainier during the 1941-42 season. Several tournaments and carnivals were held and members of the U.S. Army mountain troops training at Paradise participated in some of them. The article summarizes competition results.
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