Task Remaining Before USA
by U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Christina Russo
December 28, 2019
More than 25 Reserve Citizen Airmen and civilian personnel from
Youngstown Air Reserve Station traveled to Gettysburg on October10,
2019, for a three-day leadership staff ride.
Col. Don Wren, 910th Mission Support Group commander at YARS, and
Col. Barry Crane, individual mobilization augmentee to the director
for Life Cycle Management Center at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base,
the staff ride followed the events that unfolded over the three-day
Battle of Gettysburg that took place in July 1863.
we at Gettysburg now?” asked Crane. “It is simple. Gettysburg is a
fantastic leadership laboratory.”
The staff ride was not just
focused on the historical events, but rather, the leadership and
command tactics used during the Battle of Gettysburg.
1906, the Army began the practice of staff rides to help provide
practical studies into tactics, leadership, communication, and
terrain studies,” said Crane, addressing attendees. “Staff rides
were a way to add to the military educational experience and to put
in place the human side of historical perspectives and events. Our
trip to Gettysburg is a new take on staff rides, one which will add
to your own educational experience and continued self-improvement.”
Army Col. Phillip Cuccia, U.S. Army War College academic engagement director, highlights opening actions of the Battle of Gettysburg to U.S. Air Force field grade officers at Gettysburg National Military Park, PA
on April 18, 2019. The officers took a tour of the park during the 2019 Air Force District of Washington Squadron Commander and Spouse Orientation Course to learn about leadership principles from the past, and how they relate to the present. (U.S. Air Force photo by Master Sgt. Michael B. Keller)
Much like Crane, Wren also describes Gettysburg as a laboratory
“When you take this terrain, the political
environment of the time, as well as the leaders, and you put that
all together, we can learn something from that,” said Wren.
For Wren, American history has always been a topic of interest. His
respect for it invokes a sense of determination to educate those
“If you don’t know your history, you don’t know
your country,” said Wren.
Throughout the three-day staff
ride, Crane and Wren took the Airmen and civilians from YARS on a
personal journey which provided the chance to allow the
battlegrounds to speak to them.
“Gettysburg is ripe for
teaching us leadership through critical analysis of decisions made
during this crisis, and applying that learning and understanding to
our own style and methods,” said Wren.
The staff ride
concluded with YARS personnel walking the same ground that soldiers
charged on during the third and final day of battle. Crane and Wren
asked the Airmen and civilians from the installation to reflect on
the ultimate sacrifice that was made during those three days. They
also challenged them to take in the examples of leadership shown
during the Battle of Gettysburg and to use it as motivation to
strengthen their own leadership skills.
Lincoln stated in his Gettysburg Address that we have a great task
remaining before us-that these dead shall not have died in vain.
Through the use of staff rides, Crane and Wren are doing their part
ensuring those dead did not die in vain by educating military and
civilians on the importance of leadership and command. Both men
understand and value the significant role Gettysburg played during
the Civil War and in the history of our nation.
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