By Capt. Matthew PargettAugust 9, 2019
Mount Washington, N.H. -- Soldiers from 1st Battalion, 87th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 10th Mountain Division paid their respects to fellow Soldiers whose lives were lost during combat operations in the Global War on Terror, during their 'Climb for the Fallen' hike, Aug. 6, 2019.
Beginning at dawn, eight Soldiers began the climb up 4,280 feet to the top of the tallest mountain in the Northeast- Mount Washington, New Hampshire.
The mountain may be best known for having the worst weather in America, but for these Soldiers the hike was less about challenging their physical and mental toughness than it was about remembering those who came before them, and those from the Summit Battalion who made the ultimate sacrifice.
"This was an opportunity to climb the highest peak in the Northeast to pay homage to the Soldiers that we have lost since the start of the Global War on Terrorism," said Command Sgt. Maj. Jeffrey Bond, senior enlisted leader for 1st Bn., 87th Inf. Reg.
With the battalion's lineage dating back to Mount Belvedere and Riva Ridge during World War II, it was important to remember these fallen Soldiers in a manner symbolic of the battalion and its history, Bond said.
As they made their way to the top, the Soldiers carried more than just the memories of their Fallen with them. They also each carried an American flag and dog tags with the names of the fallen Soldiers inscribed.
"With the help of 'Camaraderie for Courage', a unit organization that provides assistance to Soldiers across the 1st Brigade Combat Team, we will build shadow boxes for the flags and coins and send them to our Gold Star families so they know that they are always on our minds," Bond said.
Along the route, other hikers often commented on the unit colors and offered condolences and appreciation for their cause, while some even shared their memories of fallen Soldiers they knew.
At the summit, the Soldiers each took a moment to read about those they were hiking for, passing around photographs and reading short biographies.
"We chose Mount Washington for this trip, but I think there's an opportunity to do future hikes in the Adirondacks too," said Bond. "The significance for us is to go back and revisit our heritage of being in the mountains with our unit colors and guidons and taking time to remember those who fell while serving in this battalion."
Before leaving the summit, the Soldiers took a group photo at the site of another remembrance - a plaque placed in honor of another group of 10th Mountain Division Soldiers, those who fought and died fighting through Italy in World War II.