Vail Valley man is the modern end of the 10th Mountain Division spectrum |

Vail Valley man is the modern end of the 10th Mountain Division spectrum

Lane Dobransky graduated Eagle Valley High School in 2016 and is already a sergeant

VAIL — When Lane Dobransky enlisted in the army after graduating from Eagle Valley High School, he did not know where he would land. He was over the moon when he was assigned to the 10th Mountain Division.

“I knew it originated in our part of Colorado, and I had learned about the 10th Mountain Division tradition. I am proud to be part of that tradition,” Dobransky said.

The Vail Valley native is with the 10th Mountain Division’s 3rd Brigade Combat Team out of Fort Polk, Louisiana.

He’s 20 years old, graduated from Eagle Valley in 2016 and is already a sergeant. He deployed to Iraq’s Anbar province, where the enemy made several serious attempts to kill him.

“Eventually you come to expect it and deal with it. You never get used to it,” Dobransky said.

Dobransky leads security patrols for what’s called Key Leader Engagements. Coalition leaders meet meet with other leaders to discuss things like logistics, planning and humanitarian aid — whatever they need to discuss.

“The point is for the sides to meet,” Dobransky said. “4-H allowed me to learn to work with all types of different people in different situations.”

Dobransky’s unit is tasked with keeping everyone safe, including him and his crew. It’s war, so a lot of unsafe stuff happens. He gets shot at occasionally. Members of his brigade are the targets of mortar fire. Sometimes they encounter a vehicle-borne bomb — someone loads a truck with explosives and tries to blow them up with it.

Dobransky loves it, though. He just signed up for another six years in the Army.

10th Mountain spectrum

Dobransky is the 2019 end of the 10th Mountain spectrum in the Vail Valley. At the World War II end of that spectrum are Hugh Evans, Dick Over and Sandy Treat, as well as deceased Vail pioneers Pete Seibert, Bob Parker and thousands of others who trained at Camp Hale and fought in World War II.

The surviving 10th Mountain Division veterans from World War II will all be at Vail’s July Fourth parade along with Matt Spang, who will carry the flag for the local Veterans of Foreign Wars post and Vail Veterans Program.

Vail’s July Fourth parade honors the 10th Mountain Division, whose members returned from World War II to found many of the resorts that make up the nation’s ski industry, including Vail.

Forged in 4-H

While the military has taught Dobransky countless lessons, he first learned leadership right here at home in Eagle County 4-H clubs. He was part of the 4-H County Council leadership group.

The County Council runs all kinds of events, from the 4-H’s part of the Eagle County Fair and Rodeo to the annual Rocky Mountain Oyster Fry. If they do it right, the events are a success. If they don’t, the events are something else. They always do it right.

“They offer lots of leadership programs, and that gave me a good foundation to be able to work with everyone as I do now … to be able to handle all kinds of situations … to be able to speak in public and work with others,” Dobransky said.

Dobransky started in 4-H when he was 9 years old and stayed in as long as he could, until he was 18.

“For me, 4-H wasn’t so much about showing the animals,” he said. “It was more about working with others to create something and bring it to fruition.”

Vail honors the 10th Mountain Division

The local VFW Post has led Vail’s July Fourth parade for the past 30 years, and is joined this year by the Vail Veterans Program. Spang is a Vail Veterans Program alumnus. He’s in town with his family and will carry the flag that leads Vail’s parade.

“The VFW just loves leading the parade all of these years,” the VFW’s Buddy Sims said. “And all of these veterans appreciate the thanks and praise they get marching in the parade.”

Spang was a combat engineer in Iraq and Afghanistan. He cleared streets and fields of bombs — improvised explosive devices. The vehicles in which he was riding were hit four times. He was lucky three times — the fourth, Dec. 7, 2011, took both legs below the knee.

He says he’s still lucky, though, and will walk the Vail parade route.

“Vail has become such a special place to Matt, and to be able to walk through the whole town representing not only our organization but our great nation is great,” Vail Veterans Program Founder Cheryl Jensen said.

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