Park City • A 17-year oversight was remedied Saturday when a new plaque honoring 11 Utah soldiers who died in the mountains of Italy in 1945 was dedicated on the plaza at Park City Mountain Resort.
The name of Dan M. Wilson, of Randolph, was not on the original plaque dedicated to the U.S. Army's 10th Mountain Division in 1995, but it is now.
His nephew and namesake, Danny Wilson, of Ogden, was among the crowd of 25 who gathered for the dedication.
"It took us 17 years, but we did it!" said Frank Chuk, 86, a former Salt Lake City resident who served as a medic in the storied 10th Mountain Division as a young man.
Utah survivors of the battles that wrested control of Monte Belvedere and the Po Valley from the Germans wanted the plaque at a ski resort because of the long-standing connection between members of the 10th Mountain Division and the ski industry throughout the United States.
Among those who died in Italy and whose name appears on the plaque is John Paul Jones, a member of the Ogden Ski Club who is remembered at Snowbasin ski resort with a ski lift and run. Park City has a run named for the 10th Division, and the main road leading into Park City is known as the 10th Mountain Division Memorial Highway.
Chuk and Bill Christensen, of Salt Lake City, another veteran of the 10th, worked with descendants of fellow soldiers to raise money and update the plaque first erected on Memorial Day in 1995. At the time, they were not aware of Wilson; a former Army buddy alerted them to the oversight months later.
Wilson's nephew said Saturday that the soldier was raised on a farm, the ninth of 10 children of the local sheriff. Two brothers including Danny Wilson's father, Stanley Wilson, of Ogden, served in World War II, but Dan Wilson was the only one to lose his life.
Christensen, 86, gave a brief biographical sketch of the 11 members of the 10th Mountain Division from Utah who died Vearl D. Broderick, Howard J. Burdett, Thomas Larson, Orval R. McDaniel, William S. Ryberg and Frank Raymond Slight, all of Salt Lake City; James Barker and Jones, of Ogden; Harry Molanas, of Price; Harry Thomas, of Provo; and Wilson, of Randolph.
All but one Thomas was single, and most were young, just 18 to 20, he said. "These men and the things they accomplished at a young age were truly remarkable," Christensen said.
The 10th Mountain Division was organized in 1944 to train for mountain warfare, a somewhat elite division. Young men with skiing and mountain climbing experience were especially drawn to the unit, but others simply were athletic or had outdoor skills, Chuk said.
They trained at Camp Hale in Colorado and with mules in Texas before landing in Italy in January 1945. The division pushed into the North Apennine Mountains and within months had routed the Germans. Some 992 soldiers lost their lives, and 4,154 were injured before fighting ended in May that year.
An estimated 100 Utah men were in the 10th Division. The third survivor at Saturday's dedication, Emmett Parker, of Ogden, said there are likely fewer than 10 still alive.
The 10th Mountain Division was deactivated after World War II but reactivated in 1985, with the emphasis on light infantry. It's based at Fort Drum, N.Y.
Lt. Col. Robert Ryan, a battalion commander in today's 10th, attended Saturday's dedication.
"These are our greatest generation," he said. "We don't have a ton of them anymore."
Ryan, who will soon lead a battalion to Afghanistan, said today's young soldiers have much in common with their elders.
"Thank you for setting the bar high," he told the three surviving veterans Saturday.