Responding to the call for additional men to join the Mountain Troops, 30 College undergraduates have registered with the War Service Information Office and will be interviewed shortly by Charles M. Dole, chairman of the National Ski Patrol System. Under the new system recently announced by the Ski Association, men accepted for service in the mountain forces may apply for voluntary induction or be drafted directly into this special Army branch without undergoing the usual prescribed training period at Fort Devens or its equivalent.
According to the War Service office, the first troops accepted into the 87th Mountain Infantry, some of whom are on duty in Alaska, have shown themselves so valuable that it has been decided to form an entire mountain division of about 15,000 men. As before, the Ski Association of America has the duty of selecting and recommending qualified applicants for this service.
This organization will pass on to the Army Adjutant General's office the names of those men it feels to be best suited for this arduous work, basing its decisions in each case on a candidate's general experience in outdoor work and any particular qualifications he may have. "Men who have lived and worked in the mountains are preferred; if they ski, so much the better," states the official Ski Patrol bulletin on this subject. However, applicants who can show exceptional fitness as raw material, although without previous outdoor experience, will be considered.
Civilians have referred to the ski or mountain troops indiscriminately without really understanding the nature of the duties involved, said the War Service Information Office yesterday. Although skiing ability is not a vital prerequisite for a mountain trooper, it would prove extremely useful since a large part of his time will be spent on skis, whether engaged in 13 weeks' basic training in the Mountain Training Area in the West, or on active service in Alaska and elsewhere.
May Become Officers
Physical requirements for the new mountain division are the same as those in effect for the regular Army, but men classed for limited service may find employment in this branch in some special capacities. "Members of mountain units are eligible for assignment to an Officer's Candidate School on recommendation of local commanding officers," the Ski Association has announced.
Those who wish to serve in the mountain division should fill out the regular application blank to be acquired at the War Service Information Office at 12 Little Hall. Those already inducted into the regular army may also apply for transfer to the ski and mountain troops.