FORT DRUM, N.Y. (WWTI) – Around 80 years after the founding of the 10th Mountain Division, leaders conducted a battlefield ride that brought the unit back to its roots.

The staff ride went through Florence and Verona, Italy from Tuesday, August 1 through Thursday, August 3 to cover the same ground the unit did when it was founded during World War II in North Apennine mountains and across the Po Valley in Italy.

The ride first visited the Florence American Cemetery and Memorial and a wreath ceremony. A representative from the American Battle Monuments Commission said that the grounds and monuments are kept in great condition to honor the service members who died in Italy.

Flags were placed at the gravestones of the soldiers that died serving in the 10th Mountain Division. The cemetery contains 4,392 headstones of military service members – 356 belonging to 10th Mountain Division Soldiers – and the names of 1,409 missing in action inscribed on the Tablets of the Missing.

Many of you have served in combat and have lost people you know, comrades killed and wounded. It is always tough to come back to the cemeteries and reflect on the cost of what our business is ultimately about. It’s the risk of being in this profession. I thank you all because you know the costs, you know the risks and you are still willing to serve and sacrifice.

Maj. Gen. Gregory Anderson, 10th Mountain Division

The ride then climbed a narrow passage up Riva Ridge to a strategic vantage point at Mount Belvedere. The nighttime assault on Riva Ridge in February of 1945 and the subsequent attack on Mount Belvedere was one of the first actions for the unit. The campaign was finished in five days after many assumed it would take weeks.