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The Ski Bulletin, 1941

The Ski Bulletin, Mar 14, 1941, p. 5 - Crawford, Howard C., "Fifteenth Infantry Ski Patrol"

This article was written for The Reserve Officer magazine before the patrol finished its work in the winter of 1941. It focuses on the the patrol's mission rather than its results. The 3rd Division was directed to establish an experimental ski patrol of eighteen enlisted men and two officers--all to be the best skiers and ski-instructors available. The division assigned the task to the 15th Infantry Regiment. The author, assistant plans and training officer of the regiment, was assigned to establish and command the ski patrol detachment. 1st Lt. John B. Woodward, Pacific Coast all-around ski-champion, was ordered to active duty and assigned as instructor in skiing. Two other reserve officers were detached as assistant instructors. [The author does not mention Capt. Paul Lafferty by name.]

The patrol established its base camp on Mt Rainier on December 7, 1940 and two days later began a daily program of 6-7 hours of ski practice. The author writes: "The Patrol will train on security, reconnaisance and combat missions, traversing all negotiable terrain in all weather, making the proper use of concealment, and camouflage, and endeavoring to harden the individual so that he can engage in sustained operations in the field for several days."

The patrol has three primary missions. The first mission is to adopt means of "dry land" warfare to mountainous terrain. The author describes the selection of skis, the use of shelter halves, dehydrated foods, Primus oil stoves, camouflage clothing, ski technique (the Arlberg system is being taught), and training via cross country trips of increasing length and exposure. The second mission is to test issue equipment with an eye for its adaptations. Ski boots and cold weather clothing are of special concern. The third mission is the training of each patrol member as an expert ski instructor, so the knowledge and experience gained by members of the patrol can later be disseminated among many. The patrol is to complete its task by the end of February 1941.

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