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Charles C. Bradley - Aleutian Echoes
This book describes the author's experiences in the North Pacific Combat School (NPCS) of the U.S. Army on Adak Island in the Aleutians from June 1944 to October 1945. The instructors of the NPCS came from the 10th Mountain Division, and the author provides insights into the personalities and events of the 10th in its early days.
p. xiii: The introduction by Pat Roppel provides good background on the strategic importance of the Aleutian Islands during WWII and the motivations for the Kiska operation.
p. xxi: Roppel provides background on the 10th Mountain Division and the Mountain Training Center.
p. 6: The author describes how he got into the 87th Infantry Regiment at Ft. Lewis, WA.
p. 8a: Photo of an 87th Regiment ski class on Mt Rainier.
p. 8b: Photo of Capt. Paul Lafferty, Company A, 87th Mountain Infantry.
p. 10: Describes Capt. Lafferty's leadership style, including the "rocks in the rucksack" incident.
p. 12: Photo of a soldier thrashing on snowshoes the day "Sven" was born. The following page has the lyrics of the 87th Regiment song, "Sven" (sung to the tune of "A Bold Bad Man"), with the chorus,Oh give me skis and some poles and klister
And let me ski way up on Alta Vista.
You can take your showshoes and burn them, sister
And everywhere I go you'll hear my war whoop.
p. 14: Describes the Mountain and Winter Warfare Board and the role of Col. Onslow S. Rolfe and Capt. Albert Jackman.
p. 15: Photo of Capt. Albert Jackman.
p. 16: Describes the 12-day expedition to the summit of Mt Rainier by eight soldiers led by Capt. Albert Jackman and Lt. Paul Townsend in May 1942. The members of the summit party are named, along with their roles in the ascent. The author writes:"The main objectives of the expedition were to test food and equipment under conditions far more severe than those at Paradise. Coincidentally we would be learning the arts of survival and mobility, under these same conditions, which included rough mountain terrain, glaciers, fierce winds, heavy snowstorms, and the threat of avalanches."Chronology:
- May 8: Climbed to Camp 1 (Muir).
- May 14: Established Camp 2 at 12,300 feet on "Rolfe Cleaver" (Disappointment Cleaver).
- May 16: The eight-man party climbed to the summit in two rope teams led by Cpl. Peter Gabriel and Cpl. Eldon Metzger.
- May 17: Returned to Camp 1.
- May 20: Returned to Paradise with the help of porters.
p. 17: Photo of the summit party and "porters" enroute to Camp Muir on skis.
p. 18: Photos of Cpl. Eldon Metzger, Pvt. Paul Estes, Lt. John Jay, and Sgt. Ralph Wiese, members of the Mt Rainier summit party.
p. 20a: Photo of Capt. Albert Jackman and Lt. Paul Townsend in a tent on Mt Rainier.
p. 20b: Describes equipment tests during storms on Mt Rainier, particularly involving tents and stoves.
p. 21: Photo of Cpl. Charles Bradley in a tent on Mt Rainier.
p. 24: Photos of tents at Camp 1 (near Camp Muir) and a soldier enroute to Camp 2.
p. 26: The cover of the 1943 American Ski Annual is shown. The cover has a photo of a tent on "Rolfe Cleaver" with Little Tahoma below.
p. 28: Photos (on this page and the next) of Peter Gabriel cutting steps to cross a crevasse high on Mt Rainier.
p. 30: Photos (on this page and the next) of soldiers nearing the summit and sitting on the summit rocks in fog.
p. 32: Photo of soldiers on foot and skis near a bergschrund. On the next page is a photo of porters at Camp Muir ready to help on the descent.
p. 33: Describes the problem of training officers to lead the 10th Mountain Division.
p. 34: Photo of mountain troops in whites milling about near Paradise.
p. 35: In Autumn 1942, the author completed officer's training and returned to the mountain troops at Camp Hale. He was assigned to the Mountain Training Group (MTG), the instructor cadre commanded by Capt. John Woodward.
p. 36: Describes a food test carried out in sub-zero temperatures in which the author and his squad lived on pemmican and water for two weeks during maneuvers.
p. 89: The author speculates that the transfer of the 10th Division to Texas and "conversion" to a flat land division was intended to throw enemy intelligence off the track.
p. 92: Describes failures of the Weasel and the problem of individual clothing adjustment in the 10th Mountain Division.
p. 179: Describes the problem of waterproof clothing in the climate of the Aleutians.
p. 192: Describes (and debunks) the romantic image of the mountain soldier.
p. 195: Describes the problem of skiing with a combat load.
p. 206: Describes the role of songs and singing in the 10th Mountain Division.
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