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History comes to life for JROTC cadets at Gettysburg and D.C.

Posted: by Patricia Gibson, Communications Director
News Blog Category - News As part of a leadership class, 10 JROTC cadets from Marion High School recently traveled to Gettysburg Battlefield National Park where they had the opportunity to undertake a military-style staff ride, a learning experience rarely available to the average high school student.



Marion High School JROTC cadets pause for a photo by the Indiana memorial at Gettysburg Battlefield National Park. The cadets have an in-depth understanding of the battle and its effects after undertaking a military-style staff ride, a historical study and analysis of the battle.
 

A staff ride is a historical study of a campaign or battle that is used as professional development by the U.S. Army for its leaders. A staff ride examines the dynamics of battle and the human dimension as well. It can illustrate how terrain, unit cohesion, leadership, technology, and more affected a historical battle, and therefore provide a framework for battle analysis. It also promotes the study of military history and heritage.

To prepare for the staff ride, the cadets had to research a particular portion of the Civil War Battle at Gettysburg. While walking the ground on the battlefield in Pennsylvania, each cadet had to describe the actions of the opposing leaders and how the events in fighting were affected by the various leaders’ decisions and the challenges with the terrain and communication.

“A staff ride is a great learning experience,” said retired Lt. Col. David Farlow, senior Army instructor for the MHS JROTC. “It is a tool that can be used to examine how internal and external factors, communication and timely decisions affect what actually happens. We can learn from the experiences of others.”

Speaking of her experience on the staff ride, MHS junior I’Yela Hornaday said: “It hit hard when we saw that people actually went there and lost their lives to fight for something they strongly believed in.”

Cadet JD Smith commented that he didn’t realize how exciting it could be to actually walk the battlefield, live the history, and learn from the staff ride experience.



Marion High School JROTC cadets recently traveled to Gettysburg Battlefield National Park where they conducted an in-depth historical military study called a staff ride, analyzing the actions of leaders during the three-day battle that changed the course of the Civil War. Here, the group stands by the sign welcoming visitors to the historic site and museum. 
 

The MHS cadets then traveled on to Washington, D.C., where they spent two days visiting the U.S. Capitol, the monuments on the Washington Mall, Arlington National Cemetery, and the Holocaust Museum.

“The memorials and monuments [on the Mall] were beautiful,” MHS senior Haley O’Neil said. “They also showed all of the sacrifice people have made for all of us.”

Probably the most somber experience for the cadets came as they toured the Holocaust Museum. There, they followed the journey of a Holocaust victim, not knowing if their person survived or died until near the end of the tour.

At one point in the tour, junior Josiah Hamilton, was captivated by a picture of a little boy and girl.

“It was like looking in a mirror,” he said. “It could have easily been my sister and me. I thank God that I was born in a different time and age.”



Marion JROTC cadets pose for a photo outside the U.S. Capitol building during their class trip to Washington, D.C.



Marion JROTC cadets listen to their tour guide inside the rotunda of the U.S. Capitol Building in Washington, D.C.

 

The cadets on the trip were Cheyenne Russ, Anyssa Shultz, Haley O’Neil, Hailey Teeguarden, I’Yela Hornaday, Jade McKoon, Angel Morales, Kaleb Starr, Josiah Hamilton, and DJ Smith. All agreed they learned a great deal about their country from the trip.

This trip was made possible in part due to a generous Grant from Round Robins Bingo.



 

Did you know that the MHS JROTC is open to any Grant County high school student?

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