Letter to the Editor
Dear Editor:It is always fun to read the Times Weekly section, “25-50-100 Years Ago.” Last Sunday in “50 years ago” on page 15, I spotted the following in reference to The Mountain and Cold Weather Training Command’s trek from Camp Hale over Independence Pass to Aspen, March 1955 (thanks to the Times’ sharp-eyed Sara Garton): “Charles Paterson is one of the members of this group and has been assigned to the reconnaissance squad that will make several side trips along the main line of march. Charlie expects to be in Aspen for dinner on Thursday evening.”I feel I need to fill in some comments for your readers regarding this memorable trip in the midst of winter. MCWTC was a small command formed after the 10th Mountain Division was disbanded after the war. Our mission was to train instructors and special forces in skiing and cold-weather survival, climbing and mountain rescue in summer. The article fails to mention that we were on skis from the east side of Independence, where the trucks left us, to the summit, where we picked up rations that had been dropped by plane, and thence to Lost Man Creek, where we built snow caves and bough shelters and spent the night comfortably in our double down sleeping bags.Next morning we skied to Aspen and straight to the Red Onion. Since I already had built my cabin, which is now surrounded by the Boomerang Lodge, I went home, had a hot shower and changed to a white shirt and black ski pants. When I showed up at the Red Onion a little while later, the colonel looked at me sternly and said, “Paterson, you are out of uniform.” I thought surely that meant KP as soon as we got back to Camp Hale. Instead he smiled and said, “Well, since you are home I am giving you a three-day pass over the weekend.”The rest of the command was happily trucked back to Camp, singing merrily after quite a few Red Onion beers. Needless to tell you, I did have dinner in Aspen that night – an Austrian goulash cooked by my dear father – Steve Shanzer – who by the way I suspect was responsible for the article, which I had never seen before.Charles PatersonAspen
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