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Marine Corps University . . .

A contingent of sixty-one Staff Noncommissioned Officers from Marine Helicopter Squadron One (HMX-1) attended a Professional


Education Trip to the National Battlefield of Antietam on 18 November 2015. The trip was centralized on receiving the military significance of the battle that resulted in the highest loss of life within a single day of battle on September 17, 1862. We were fortunate to be funded for our trip to the battlefield by the Marine Corps University Foundation, which without their substantial assistance would not have been possible.

Mr. Keith Snyder, a park ranger with the Antietam National Battlefield was the group’s tour guide for the day and provided a three hour passionate and thorough depiction of the entire battlefield while providing a historical research value that only a professional historian could deliver. His personal touch, passion, and military knowledge of the battle was very well received and captivated the entire group for the duration of the tour. Mr. Snyder is highly recommended to provide this tour for any future tours.

HMX-1 group in front of Private Solider Monument, Antietam National Battlefield

All sixty-one Staff Noncommissioned Officers left the Antietam Battlefield with a better understanding of the day’s events while increasing their tactical understanding of how terrain, the fog of war, centralized command and control, massing of fire power, and the era’s weaponry lead to the ultimate and significant loss of life on both the Union and Confederate Armies. Without walking this hallowed ground and being able to visualize the decisions made by both armies, the implication this battle played on shift in the purpose of the Civil War could never have been fully comprehended or appreciated.

This battlefield study is of such significance that all Marines, regardless of background should study, understand, and teach the lessons learned from this battle since such leadership decisions are still applicable to today’s leadership application of war. The Staff Noncommissioned Officers of HMX-1 have a deep appreciation for the Marine Corps University Foundation’s generous and professional dedication to ensuring all Marines receive opportunities to enhance and project Marine Corps leadership.

Sincerely, Colonel Brian E. Bufton Quatrefoil . . .

In the past three months, the Quatrefoil Club hosted three additional meetings and expanded its membership. Dr. Sebastian Gorka, the Marine Corps University’s Major General Matthew C. Horner Chair of Military Theory; Lieutenant General PK Van Riper, USMC (Ret), the Kim T. Adamson Chair of Insurgency and Terrorism; and Dr. Chris Yung, the Donald Bren Chair of Non-Western Strategic Thought. Each speaker offered outstanding insights and new perspectives for the Quatrefoil Club Members to consider and challenge their own thoughts. Additionally, membership in the club expanded from Expeditionary Warfare School Students to Captains from across Quantico, including Officer Candidate School and The Basic School.

Dr. Gorka enlightened the Quatrefoil Club with opposing views to our traditional thoughts on Counter-Insurgency and application of US power across the Middle East. Additionally, he provided extensive insights into ISIS/ISIL, their growth and influence in the region, and methods the United States and greater international community should apply to address the terrorist group.

LtGen Van Riper offered unique perspectives on combat leadership and decision-making. He opened with the history and development of the original Quatrefoil Club, and spent the majority of his time deep-diving into decision-making and thought processes needed in leadership. His discussion was a fast paced, short-course in systems analysis, the human dimension of combat, and the nature and theory of warfare.

Dr. Yung offered a new narrative on our relationships as a nation with South-East Asia and the People’s Republic of China. He created a dynamic discussion, challenging individual students and seeking counter arguments from each attendee. This meeting was the club’s best to date in terms of interaction and discourse with the guest, and each member walked away with new perspectives on our future with China and our friends in the region.

The Quatrefoil Club has proven to be invaluable to the members’ professional education and provides excellent opportunities to grow as young officers.


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