As the first United States Army Division to go through high-altitude and ski training, it can be argued that the 10th Mountain Division took part in some of the most rigorous training maneuvers the Army had ever seen. However, times at Camp Hale, Colorado weren’t devoid of all fun. The camp’s mascot, for example, was a panda bear on skis, as seen on this information booklet from the Carleton B. Shay collection.
"This first insignia was used by the 10th Mountain Division at Camp Hale and appeared on signs, the Headquarters Building, and on the masthead of the division newspaper. The railroad stop at Camp Hale was Pando, Colorado. The design became known as the Pando-Commando. The Panda Bear on skis with an M1 rifle was considered a "cartoon" design and hence The Institute of Heraldry would not accept it as the [10th Mountain Division’s] official patch. However, the design was made into a patch after the war by members of the National Association of the 10th Mountain Division."
-Don Palmer, DPL Resource Center Volunteer
Also from the Shay collection is an informational booklet warning soldiers of the dangers of malaria. If the images in this book look somewhat familiar to you, it’s because these pages were illustrated by none other than Dr. Seuss. Known in the army by his given name, Theodor Geisel lent his artistic abilities to teach soldiers about the Anopheles Mosquito, a.k.a. Ann, the mosquito who couldn’t wait to bite them.
Especially important in areas affected by the German block on the Allies’ supplies of the anti-malaria drug quinine, the booklet was full of tips and tricks about how to avoid Ann by sleeping under mosquito netting, patching holes in uniforms, and wearing repellent. Though malaria is nothing to laugh at, Dr. Seuss surely helped soldiers maintain a sense of humor.
To learn more about the 10th Mountain Division in World War II, visit the 10th Mountain Division Resource Center in the Western History and Genealogy department at Denver Public Library.
Dr. Seuss won several awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. From IMDB.com: "During World War II, Geisel joined the US Army and was sent to Hollywood. Captain Geisel would write for Frank Capra's Signal Corps Unit (for which he won the Legion of Merit) and do documentaries. Geisel recieved an Academy Award (Oscar) for Best Documentary (Short Subject) in 1945 for his writing and production of the propaganda piece Hitler Lives (1945) (a/k/a Your Job in Germany (1945) and in 1947 for Best Documentary (Feature) for Design for Death (1947))"
Hi Steve, thank you for your comment. I didn't know Geisel had won all those awards... what a talented man!
Any idea who the original designer of the Pando Commando logo was? Was this a Disney design? Did a soldier create it? Thanks!
That's a really good question! The logo was created by one or more men at Camp Hale, but that's all we know at this point. It definitely wasn't a Disney design, but the U.S. Army had a ban on cartoon style insignia, so the Pando Commando couldn't be used as the official representation of the 10th Mountain Division.