“While at each location, we discussed the leadership challenges which were faced, how what may have seemed to be small key leadership decisions affected the outcome of the battle, and how many of the tactics, leadership challenges and key turning points are instructive to the battles that we find ourselves in today.”
Upon arriving at the battlefield, the Officers made their way into the Visitor Center to view the artifacts that were on display, as well as watch a 20-minute, informative video. This video laid out the Civil War up to this point, as well as the Battle of Bentonville. Once the video was completed, we began to drive the battlefield, discussing the crucial decision points that were made on that very same ground just over 149 years ago.
As we moved along on our unit tour we stopped at four points where critical events took place. While at each location, we discussed the leadership challenges which were faced, how what may have seemed to be small key leadership decisions affected the outcome of the battle, and how many of the tactics, leadership challenges and key turning points are instructive to the battles that we find ourselves in today. The group discussed the similarity in tactics between those used at Bentonville and those we employ in today’s Marine Corps infantry. We saw that split second decisions made over 149 years ago relate very commonly to those which we make on today’s battlefield whether it be Afghanistan, Iraq, or elsewhere in the future. At each stop, Lieutenant Colonel Wallis led us through the key phases of the battle as we discussed them based on the Marine Corps’ warfighting functions, constantly relating them to today’s wars, and how we as commanders may develop our thought processes and decision making.
Finally, we all climbed into the van and headed back to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina with a better understanding of 19th Century warfare and considerations in our decision making today. We also developed a greater appreciation for the history of our great nation and those who made our independence possible. The Officers of Infantry Training Battalion, School of Infantry-East wish to extend our utmost gratitude to the Marine Corps University Foundation for funding what was a great learning experience in the professional and personal development of our young Officer Corps.
From Left to Right: Capt Greg Kirsch, Maj Lance Davis, Capt Phil Skillman, Maj Lawrence Lowman, and Capt Karl Kurbikoff read about where General Johnston established his headquarters. In the
background, you can see the Confederate flag flying. Each brick in the path has a name engraved.
The tan bricks signify a man who was at Bentonville, but did not fight, the red signifies men who fought, and what you cannot see, are the crosses on some, which signify that man was killed at Bentonville.
From Left to Right: Capt Daniel Loyco, Capt Joe Reed, Capt John Strange, Capt Vince Thompson, Maj Lawrence Lowman, Capt Greg Kirsch, LtCol Wallis, and Capt Karl Kurbikoff sit in the shade following the battlefield tour to glean last minute observations from the stops.
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