History & PurposeOur unit was started in 2006 and has since grown tremendously. The majority of our chapter is based out of the Northern Illinois area, but we have members from the Central Illinois area, Wisconsin, Indiana, and Ohio. Over time the 10th Mounted Recon, 10th Medical Battalion, Signals, Engineers, 5th Army WACs, civilian, and resistance groups were included within the scope of our organization. Our parent organization, the Tenth Mountain Living History Display Group, Inc., is based out of Colorado and has members around the world. We are 501(c)(3) recognized organization. Members also generally keep up membership with the Living History Reenactment Association (LHRA) or the WWII Historical Reenactment Society (HRS), non-profit organizations which host several events a year and also enables members to participate in events run by other organizations.
The 10th Mountain Division Living History Display Group, Midwest Chapter is meant to be a living memorial to the brave men and women of World War Two and to the men of the 10th Mountain Infantry Division in particular. Our objective is to portray as authentically and accurately as possible, the elite mountain trained infantryman of WWII and in particular that of the 87th Mountain Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division Mountain Recon Troop, and 10th Medical Battalion. We strive to create an accurate mountain soldier impression of the period with respect to our uniforms, equipment, mounts, vehicles, and appearance. We believe that a living history portrayal is best reflected by not only emulating the appearance of the individual Mountaineer, but also reenacting the other facets of military and civilian life of the 1939-45 period.
Our chapter elects two sets of officers every year, normally in January. The first set are the positions needed to run the organization, a chapter president, vice-president, treasurer, and secretary. These positions keep the chapter running smoothly and direct meetings, operations, and other efforts.A second set of positions are also elected, this is the Commanding Officer in the field (usually a sergeant) and subordinates (corporal(s)). The number of and rank of these positions vary depending on the size of the unit. The unit is nearing the size of two squads in the field, so more positions will be added going forward. These positions generally will rotate among members, so all members have a chance to lead the unit in the field for a year. As a general rule, the president may not hold the position of commanding officer, and visa-versa. The other 'sub groups' (Mounted Recon, Medical Battalion, etc.) establish their own organization in the field and elect their own leaders (if any). Usually all groups follow the leadership CO of the 87th MIR while in the field.
Bureaucratic? No, not really, it just sounds that way. In fact, we despise unit politics and these 'evil necessities' and do them with as little fuss or ado as possible. We acknowledge that a command structure is necessary in any non-profit organization (and by law) as well as any military organization.
ActivitiesThe 'event year' runs November 1st to October 31st for our unit. We attend roughly a dozen events throughout the year, mainly from April to October. These events are both large and small, busy and quiet, far and close, private and public. With a dozen events (or more, the record year was 23 events), you certainly have an opportunity to do something you like doing! Attendance by our members at these events varies from one or two to nearly all. Our display can vary greatly in size and scope. All gear, uniforms, and equipment are privately owned by unit members. Some members have enough to pack a truck and trailer while others can walk on site with everything they have in hand. When it comes to set up or tear down, we do it together.
Our displays incorporate not only the arms, uniforms, and equipment that are specific to the 10th Mountain Division, but also that of the ordinary GI during WWII - there was much overlap. With that in mind, we often portray a standard rifle or MG squad that would be typical of any infantry division.
Many members also have impressions for different sides in the war and even different time periods altogether. Within the WWII period alone, our members also can and often do portray the: US Marine Corps, US Army (outside of the 10th Mountain), Army Air Corps, US Navy, Imperial Japanese Army, German Infantry, German Fallschirmjäger (Paratroopers), German Cavalry, and Polish Lancers. Members are encouraged to follow where their interests take them and build second (third, fourth, and nth) impressions.
In addition to the main 10th Mountain 87th MIR unit, our female members portray members of the WACs of the 5th Army. They offer the public an opportunity to learn more about women in the war and their service. This rapidly growing element accurately portrays the life and role of women in the field and stateside.
Members also participate as resistance/partisans and as civilians at events. French or Italian resistance harass and confound the Axis forces at every opportunity. Perhaps it is a little sabotage, or an assassination of high ranking officers at the cafe, or just leading a squad of GIs to the German's back door, it is all in a day's work as a member of the resistance. Meanwhile civilians portray life and its struggles both stateside or in occupied Europe.
Unit members see one another quite frequently outside of events and throughout the year. Our unit usually has a couple meetings outside of the annual one to discuss events (our Year-End AAR meeting) or issues/decisions that come up throughout the year. The unit will also go out to ball games, the rifle range, BBQs, parties, etc.. We almost see one another as much 'on the field' as we do off. Translation: we are all close friends.
The 10th Mountain Division Living History Display Group is NOT affiliated with any political, subversive or para-military organization. We would be more trouble than they could handle. Oh, and we hate Illinois Nazis....
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