Fort Drum - 10th Mountain Division Challenge Coin

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The 10th Mountain Division, Fort Drum challenge coin commemorates the exceptional valor and devotion to duty of these unique US Army “mountain warriors.” No one can forget the images of these courageous soldiers riding into battle on horseback, leading Afghan troops. The 10th Mountain Division provided infantry for the quick reaction force sent into Somalia to rescue troops trapped there after “Blackhawk Down.” Two of the 10th did not return, killed in the brutal hand-to-hand combat. Since September 11, 2001, 10th Mountain units have deployed at an even greater frequency. Among these has been the rescue of downed Navy SEALS during Operation Anaconda in Afghanistan.

Designed to be rapidly deployed anywhere in the world, the 10th Mountain Division is a non-mechanized, light infantry division currently based at Fort Drum in upstate New York. The specialty of the 10th Mountain Division is to fight on harsh terrain. This comes from their origins as a unit designed for winter warfare. During the “Winter War” of 1939 when Russia invaded Finland, the Finnish ski-troopers defeated the mighty Red Army, with a kill ratio of 30-1. Americans took notice. In 1941 the Mountain Infantry Battalion was activated at Fort Lewis, Washington.

This coin salutes the fearless determination of soldiers who know they always go into battle under the worst conditions, facing the worst odds. The obverse of the coin proudly duplicates the 10th Mountain Division shoulder sleeve insignia, finished in rich enamels of red, gold, and blue, the circumference reading “10th Mountain Division—Climb to Glory.” The reverse is the Great Seal, surrounded by “United States Army.”