Capt. Ryan Nehus
Leaders from 2nd Battalion, 15th Field Artillery Regiment, 2nd Brigade Combat Team recently traveled along the “Knox Artillery Trail” as part of a staff ride in which the Soldiers focused on the topic “Artillery and the Beginning of American Revolutionary War.”
The group set out to explore Col. Henry Knox’s “Noble Train of Artillery” from Mount Defiance to Bunker Hill, Mass., to Lexington, Mass., to Concord, Mass., and ending in downtown Boston.
As the leaders traveled the route, they stopped at sites to discuss how the commander, exercising mission command, empowered his subordinate leaders to use disciplined initiative when making decisions.
During the staff ride, many officers were designated a specific historical event or leadership concept to research before the trip.
Mount Defiance, overlooking Fort Ticonderoga, was the starting point of the winter trek across New York state in which artillery pieces were delivered to Gen. George Washington, stationed near British-occupied Boston.
The delivery of artillery pieces was directly responsible for driving the British forces from the city, one of the first victories for the Continental Army.
“It makes you realize that people really believed (in) their cause and understood (that) they had to go through the pain of moving 60 tons of artillery in three months,” said 1st Lt. Michael Bertha. “This amazing accomplishment also teaches us, the participants, that a little initiative and thought can go a long way.”
Ultimate football and a sprint relay kicked off the following day before participants boarded the trolley to visit the location of the first major conflict between the British and Continental armies at Bunker Hill. After climbing 294 steps to the top of the Bunker Hill monument, the group traveled to Lexington Green and Concord, sites of the beginning skirmishes of the war.
“Learning about the Battle of Concord was interesting, (because) the British described the militia fighting as ‘cowardly,’” explained 2nd Lt. Samuel Chapin. “I saw it as the militias making an educated decision to fight smarter in order to minimize casualties. With all that we have learned, it is easier to see how disciplined initiative is a trait that all leaders should strive to have. The historical sites we have traveled to and the briefs that everyone has received from many of the participants show us that it is a trait that successful leaders throughout history possess.”
The “Allons” leaders topped off their staff ride with a tour of downtown Boston and a social hour in Charlestown Naval Yard.
“It was great that we all get to take this trip throughout Boston and see all of these historical sites,” said Sgt. 1st Class Charles Gibson. “I would have never done this on my own.”
The staff ride brought the historical battles during the American Revolutionary War to life while providing a valuable opportunity for the team to study leadership concepts and foster a deeper pride in their organization.