June 30, 2010

116th BCT Soldiers relive Gettysburg

By Maj. Nevin Blankenship
116th Brigade Combat Team Public Affairs

GETTYSBURG, Pa. — Senior leaders from 116th Brigade Combat Team spent a day reliving the Battle of Gettysburg during a staff ride June 18.


Soldiers from 116th Brigade Combat Team in front of the Virginia Memorial monument at the Gettysburg battlefield.
(Photo by Maj. Nevin Blankenship, 116th BCT Public Affairs)

Soldiers were assigned a key leader to do an in-depth study on that person and the battle role.  The preliminary study helps facilitate the staff ride by each Soldier giving input at each stop on their respective role.  

The Battle of Gettysburg was a chance meeting in July 1863 between the General Robert E. Lee’s Army of Northern Virginia and the Union Army of the Potomac led by Maj. General George G. Meade.

Gettysburg was the great battle of the Civil War and it marked the point when ultimate victory for the Union became clear to both sides. More men fought and died at Gettysburg than in any other battle in American history.


Soldiers from 116th Brigade Combat Team listen to Col. A. Dwight Raymond (ret.), U.S. Army War College, at a stop during the Gettysburg staff ride. (Photo by Maj. Nevin Blankenship, 116th BCT Public Affairs)

The Soldiers are able to see what the key leader say the day of the battle at each site. They use the terrain and battle timeline to analyze what their leader was thinking during the battle and describe their actions.

“We do staff rides to gain insight into the tactical, operational and strategic aspects of the Gettysburg campaign and apply lessons learned to contemporary operations,” said Col. William J. Coffin, the deputy commander of the 116th Brigade Combat Team.

Soldiers are able to see the effects of the decisions on the battlefield and are able to apply this knowledge in their own decision making. They see how effective leaders can influence subordinates to do great things in dire circumstances.

Soldiers deal with the same issues that the leaders did back in 1863. The key is to learn how leaders dealt with the issues then and how they should deal with them now to be better leaders.

“I always enjoy giving insights to the battle to leaders and I am honored to do another staff ride with the Stonewall Brigade,” said Col. A. Dwight Raymond (ret.), director of Second Year Studies, U.S. Army War College.

This was the third consecutive year that the brigade has conducted a staff ride and is planning to conduct one staff ride per year in the future.

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