Gordy Wren, one of Roberts' closest friends, competed at the 1948 Winter Olympics at St. Moritz, Switzerland. Wrenn took fourth in the ski jump-the highest finish ever for an American.§
Carl Blanchard was a friend of Robert Galaher's before the war. Photos of Carl can be found by following the Sepino Italy link above, or by clicking here.
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1998 Oct 29th
Today I received my Blizzard and in the Buddy Hunter I saw a name from the long past. I was in a company on Mt Rainier as was my brother Don. Don was a very close friend of your father as was I. Don took these two pictures of Bob at Fort Lewis.
The other two pictures were taken after the war, in Austria- Bob was member of our Army Ski Team - We trained at Garmish Partenkirchen Germany. We raced at Chamonix France, Zell am See Austria and Zermatt Switzerland.
I did not see Bob during the war, only at Fort Lewis and Camp Hale and after the war on the Ski Team.
Nov 1, 1998
I first met bob in the spring of 1943 in the 10th Recon at Camp Hale when we were training as climbing instructors. In July we were sent to Seneca Rocks West Virginia. Where we trained troops on maneuvers.
Many of these men had no desire to climb and were frightened to start with, but after 2 weeks they would be doing real well. Even if it was something they would never use, it was a confidence builder. I can remember Bob telling a trainee as he was preparing to go off a ledge on his first rappel "Don't worry, the ropes hardly ever break". Typical Galaher humour.
Bob, Al Corbett, Freddy Pieren, Cliff Schmidtke, Gordy Wren, and I (The officers were Ed Link and Hal Burton) went to Pine Camp NY (now Fort Drum) to train an Armored Div in winter survival. Primarily it was how to live as comfortably as possible in snow and cold. We were there as short time and returned to Camp Hale.
Our Seneca Group was joined with a group of 87th Regiment just back from Kiska. There were three officers Jack Clements, Gordon Patterson and Bob Weldon. The nine enlisted men were Carl Blanchard, Wendall Broomhall, Dave Conger, Paul Duke, John Lawson, Eldon Metzger, Peter Pringsheim, Herb Rasor, and Harald Sorensen.
On Dec 14th 1943 we left to join a British Mountain Warfare School in Lebanon. We flew from Miami to Natal Brazil where we spent Christmas. We flew from Brazil to a small town South of Dakar where we were stuck waiting for a flight. Finally we reached Algiers only to find that the Lebanon School had folded, but was opening again in Sepino Italy.
There we worked with troops from the British 8th Army which included units from many countries. We taught some skiing, some climbing, some living in snow, and some mule packing. We were in Sepino about six months then ended up in a replacement depot near Naples. After about a month of not knowing where we were going to be placed we were assigned to the British Mtn. School again.
We had a two week break and spent most of it in the Grand Sasso area. Lots of good climbing rock. I especially enjoyed one climb with Bob on Corno Piccolo with lots of exposure§. It was my best climb ever.
The school was located at Mt Terminillo east of Rome. We taught skiing and living in snow conditions. We had good food, good place to stay and our group worked well together. Christmas we had a great meal and held ski races.
After Terminillo we trained replacements for the 10th Mtn Division which arrived in Italy in Jan 1945 and was having heavy casualties. Mostly we were teaching mountain survival and mule packing. The mule packing in Sepino was with small Station Mules. In Cacenta(sp?) we got those big missiourri monsters. It took two men to get the saddle on and the load had to be lashed on with diamond hitches. It was a challenge.
After the war ended in Europe some of our group headed home, while others stayed for awhile. Bob and Freddy Pieren were stationed in Austria. Both of them could speak German and they checked on returning Nazi Soldiers. If they had weapons they confiscated them. There was some fear of rekindling the Nazi system.
I was stationed in Frankfurt and was able to visit Bob who was in a small Austrian town. We went skiing together but unfortunetly I cracked up and had a collar bone separation. Now days that would be taken care of by surgery but then they put me in a cast of six weeks. I spent two months in the army hospital in Frankfurt and left for home in February 1946.
When Bob lived in Portland he came up to Seattle a few times and we would go fishing. I remember one time taking him to the train station with a salmon in his rucksack. I am sure he had a great seat to himself going home. He was a Bohemian type (That's a hippy before there were any). I enjoyed his company and found him to be a true friend.
Harry C. Walsh
November 10, 1998
The Blizzard, the quarterly publication of the Tenth Mountain Division, calls upon the membership to forward any information we may have concerning your father, Robert 'Bob' Galaher. The name is instantly familiar to me.
Fifty plus years ago we were good friends, likely together in Company A, 1st Battalion, 87th Mountain Regiment eventually grew into the 10th Mountain Division. As the organization grew into size, men were taken from Company A, 1st Btl and transferred as cadre to newly formed Companies within the Regiment and the Division. Many friends were transferred away and close friendships were lost, and this just may have happened with my fine relationship with your father.
At Camp Hale, and for whatever reason I do not recall, I listed (without a date) the names of thirty-eight troopers, all of whom I recall as good soldiers and good friends. Your father's name is listed as follows: 'Bob Galaher (Sergeant) - Excellent Skier from New England'. Most likely, our paths parted in 1942 or 1943. I left the 10th in the Spring of 1944.
Just for the fun of it, right or wrong, I will describe your father as follows: About five feet, ten inches in height. Slender, Blue eyes. Blond or Brown hair. An easy smile.
I made a lot of small loans without interest to many troopers -- usually five to ten dollars ($10.00 and $15.00 would finance a 2 day weekend first class with free lodging with USO). In cleaning out some files a couple of years ago, I discarded all by bank statements and cancelled checks dating to my days with the 10th, except I returned cancelled checks as memorabilia to all troopers listed in the 10th Mountain Roster. I am very certain I had one or two cancelled checks drawn in favor of Sgt Robert Galaher which were discarded. It was a lot of fun returning the checks. One check for $35.00 ran to Corporal Ken Seigman and was returned to Capt. Ken Seigman, Commanding Officer B-86 -- he simply could not believe it. The only unpaid loan involved the only loan to an officer who was transferred out.
I have a roster dated Camp Carson, Colorado December 1943 listing and approving all Company A troops for leave on furoulgh for two weeks following the return from Kiska. Excluded from the list were those volunteers who stayed behind to guard the grounds, fire the furnaces, feed and exercise the mules, etc. Those remaining in camp and missing Christmas at home, were given three week furloughs in January 1944. Your dad's name is not on the roster list for furlough nor is my name as I volunteered to remain in camp for the advantages.
I liked your dad very much and he was like a big brother to me.
§Exposure is a climbing term meaning far above the last protection point, which in turn means there is very little between you and the ground.