10th Mountain soldiers celebrate their history in song

10th Mountain soldiers celebrate their history in song
Published: Dec. 2, 2022 at 6:21 AM EST
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FORT DRUM, New York (WWNY) - “My grandpa told a story how he once went off to war.”

The 10th Mountain Division’s barbershop quartet, the Singing 10th, are carrying on a tune from World War II.

“We’re singing, 90 pounds of rucksack, an MRE or two. We’ll climb the mountain like our grandpas used to do.”

“‘Ninety Pounds of Rucksack’ is a traditional 10th Mountain Division song, sung by skiing soldiers,” Spc. Benjamin Pryse said. “They’d come home after a long day of training on the hills, they would get together and drink some beer and sing songs together.”

These alpine soldiers were the first of their kind. U.S. Army leaders knew allied forces were freezing to death overseas and they needed soldiers who specialized in winter tolerance, skiing, and mountaineering.

“Those brave men aren’t among us now, they’re mostly passed and gone. So, we want to honor them with this new mountain song.”

Charles Minot Dole founded the National Ski Patrol and these elite alpine soldiers went off to northern Italy by 1945.

“It’s a song about mountain life and what soldiers, specifically alpine soldiers, do on a daily basis,” Pryse said, “90 pounds on their back.”

“Music in general is therapeutic, so for them in those stressful situations I’m sure that’s where the song came in,” Sgt. Delany McCarthy said. “‘We’re stressed right now, let’s just sing and get that stress out.’ The songs connected everybody together, basically.”