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From Mail to Mountain is a detailed portrayal of the daily life of an Army private who served in World War II. Chuck Jackson enlisted in 1944, began his tour in Italy sorting mail, and quickly became an integral part of A Company, 86th Mountain Infantry Regiment, 10th Mountain Division. Despite having little mountain training, he scaled the side of Riva Ridge at night and went on to distinguish himself as an ammo bearer during the Apennine Mountains and Po River campaigns, for which he was awarded the Bronze Star. The author, John A. Jackson, uses documented activities taken from A Company morning reports along with experiences Chuck described, to envision and develop dialogue between Private Jackson and the soldiers around him.
"From Mail to Mountain is a great story, actually a great set of stories. It’s a story of one soldier, Chuck Jackson, the author’s father. A story of “just doing his job” under the most difficult of circumstances—being wet, cold, tired, hungry, often uninformed, in danger, and missing his family and his wife. And it’s a story of combat buddies looking out for one another, forming friendships that will last a lifetime, and grieving losses that ended in the immediacy and randomness of death on a battlefield. It’s a story of grit, determination, humor, excitement, routine, and longing to be home. In sum, it’s the story of every soldier who has gone to war. John Jackson has done a great honor to his Dad, and in the process a great honor to every 10th Mountain Division soldier, past and present. Read From Mail to Mountain; you’ll be very glad you did."
- Lieutenant General (U.S. Army, Retired) James M. Dubik, PhD. Former Commander, 2nd Brigade, 10th Mountain Division during Operation Uphold Democracy, 1994-95 in Haiti; Commanding General, Multinational Security and Transition Command, Iraq during the Surge of 2007-2008; and author of Just War Reconsidered: Strategy, Ethics, and Theory.
Chapter 3 Excerpt
….“Circle on me,” Sergeant Bando quietly told the men of the 1st platoon as soon as they arrived. “Men,” Bando began, “tomorrow we will be part of a major offensive. The jump-off time hasn’t been passed down yet but it’s probably going to be late in the day. All I can tell you right now is the objective is the top of the mountain we’re sitting next to. It’s called Mt. Mancinello. I don’t know how we’re supposed to get there but I do know we will be told where and when to climb. The head shed decided this platoon will be a supply platoon, which means we won’t be the first ones up there,” Bando continued to explain. “When we do go up though, we will be carrying double packs to make it easier for our boys on the attack. The reason we marched in at night was so the Krauts don’t know we’re here. We want them to think everything is normal, so that means during daylight tomorrow everyone stays inside and stays quiet. Do you understand me?”
Chapter 10 Excerpt
…. The eerie silence was finally broken several minutes later as three P-47 Thunderbolts dove quickly out of the brightening sky to strafe the German troops, making three passes each.
“Time to move out boys,” Chuck heard Bando say. And just like that, in an instant, Chuck was moving forward ready for whatever he had to do as the momentary uncertainty faded quickly away.
The battle was not a quick one. The platoon crept forward inch by inch as the attack unfolded. The A Company soldiers were met with fierce automatic machine gun fire, mortars, and 88 shells. However, the 88s re-focused their attention on the platoon’s right flank when Charlie Company moved in, successfully getting their accompanying tanks across the bridge before the German 88s could destroy it.
Chapter 10 Excerpt
…. Twenty minutes later, the company began to engage German forces in another small village, not unlike the one from the previous day. Chuck once again worked hard, racing between machine gunners continuously. The battle lasted until 1630 when the remaining sixty-three German soldiers surrendered.