MARINE CORPS AIR STATION CHERRY POINT --
Forty-Four Marine noncommissioned officers with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron here toured the once-bloody battlefield of Chancellorsville, Virginia, during a battlefield study field trip April 22 – 24.
During the tour, guest speaker and retired Col. Joe Dowdy explained the history of the Civil War and the significance of the Battle of Chancellorsville in relation to the Marine Corps today.
The Marines learned about influential leaders including Maj. Gen. Joseph Hooker, Gen. Robert E. Lee and Lt. Gen. Thomas “Stonewall” Jackson. While learning about these different leaders, the Marines also learned how each of these leaders used different war tactics and training to lead their troops into battle.
“In order to know where you’re going, you have to know where you came from,” said Cpl. Andrew Moman, an aircraft rescue firefighter with H&HS. “My favorite part of the trip was when we actually went to the spot where Stonewall Jackson spoke to his troops and we walked part of the actual 12-mile hiking trail the troops had to march.”
During the trip, the Marines walked the heavily wooded terrain while reading trailside signs about major events in the battle, as well as the structure and types of units that were used by the Confederate and Union armies.
According to Moman, as corporals and sergeants of Marines, NCOs learn and get taught various tactics and leadership skills, but don’t always see the significance of what they are being taught.
“The best parts of this trip for me were actually getting to see the baseline for the tactics we currently use and getting to spend time learning about our country’s history with my fellow NCOs,” said Moman.
According to Lt. Col. Jeremy L. Gettings, H&HS commanding officer, he chose to take his NCOs to Virginia so they could not just hear about important events in our history, but so they could also get a small taste of what the field was like to the soldiers of that long-ago war.
“The NCOs are the future of our Corps,” said Gettings. “These types of trips and PMEs are the Marines chance to see how effective and ineffective leadership has operated throughout history and to become better tacticians and leaders because of it.”