Eight or nine years ago, if you asked Chris Anthony if he thought he’d be meeting military leaders and receiving prestigious awards, he would have told you no way. Anthony was embarking on a journey he had no idea he was to take. He was about to tell the story and create a documentary about the happenings of the 10th Mountain Division, and this story wasn’t even his to tell.
“Back in 2014 or 2015 a small fraction of the 10th Mountain Division history was brought to my attention by a retired general of the Slovenian Mountain Division. Next thing I knew, I was flying around in a Slovenian military helicopter learning about the geography of the region and the unrest that was taking place in the area during 1945,” Anthony said.
Anthony, a veteran of being in front of the camera, appearing in over two dozen Warren Miller ski films, was being presented with information that led to the creation of a documentary called “Mission Mount Mangart,” and it became a passion project. Instead of being the star on camera, Anthony was now acting as the writer, director, editor, narrator and producer of a film that highlights the events of the 10th Mountain Division from 1939 to June 3, 1945 when a ski race was held near the border of former Yugoslavia, hosted and organized by the soldiers of the 10th Mountain Division on Mount Mangart.
The 10th Mountain Division, the famed winter warfare unit for the U.S. Army, trained just south of what is now Vail Mountain at Camp Hale to prepare for battles in Europe during World War II. Since 1985 the 10th has been the most deployed unit of our military.
“I tried to get others to partner with me on this project, but no one believed in it. Yet, strangers in other countries without even meeting me volunteered to make things happen in faraway places I could have never pulled off with the small budget I was working with,” Anthony said. “This story had its own life, and I became a passenger just trying organize the information coming at me from so many angles.”
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“Mission Mount Mangart” premiered on Veterans Day in 2021 at Boettcher Concert Hall in Denver and was screened in front of World War II veterans and current, active military.
Since that premier, Anthony has had a whirlwind of experiences, from meeting the Slovenian Ministry of Defense and touring that country, to NATO’s Mountain Operations, meals with generals and ambassadors. He’s also received Challenge Coins and letters from multiple high-ranking individuals and was invited to tour the Supreme Court and sit in one of the judge’s chambers, all because of “Mission Mount Mangart.”
The latest stop on what Anthony calls this “Forrest Gump Journey” was back at Fort Drum, New York in late June. Anthony has been invited to the current home of the 10th Mountain Division a few times before, but this trip included an induction into the Warrior Legend Hall of Fame.
Anthony was brought on stage and was presented a plaque by Major General Gregory Anderson, Commander, 10th Mountain Division and Command Sergeant Major Nema Mobar, Division Command Sergeant Major, 10th Mountain Division. The plaque reads:
For exhibiting the best qualities and characteristics of the 10th Mountain Division through a lifetime of service. Mr. Anthony significantly contributed to the legacy of the 10th Mountain Division in his public and private life. He provided extraordinary support of the soldiers, families, veterans and the community of the 10th Mountain Division.
CLIMB TO GLORY, June 23, 2024
SIGNED BY: Major Commanding General Gregory K. Anderson, USA
“I still cannot believe this even took place. The adventure this project of the documentary has taken me on is hard to actually explain. The level of people I have met around the planet, the doors I have walked through and people I have had the chance to sit down with and hear information I have heard has been so far beyond my scope, it’s mind boggling. Surreal, but is real. All those late nights sitting at the computer editing I would have never thought this would happen,” Anthony said.
Anthony tours with the film to benefit his Chris Anthony Youth Initiative Project, whose mission is to improve quality of life through introducing youth to educational enrichment opportunities in and out of the classroom. He also partners with various nonprofits along the tour. To learn more about Chris Anthony and his film, “Mission Mount Mangart” and upcoming showings or how to schedule a showing, go to ChrisAnthony.com.