Senior leaders take staff ride to Massachusetts, discuss strategic planning

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Jamie Spaulding
  • 109th AW Public Affairs
More than 20 officer and enlisted senior leaders with the 109th Airlift Wing had the opportunity to network with each other and discuss strategic planning during a professional development staff ride to Lexington and Concord, Massachusetts, July 11-14.

"Traditionally, staff rides were something the Army had done to educate Soldiers in rudimentary combat tactics and hone their skills," said Col. Jeffrey Hedges, 109th Mission Support Group commander. "The 109th has taken that idea and used it to further varying goals; from strategic planning to mission-based communications. These trips also serve as an opportunity to get Airmen off base, working and learning together in a different environment while building relationships."

While the unit has conducted staff rides in the past, this was the first time senior leaders were invited to participate.

"We wanted to give them a firsthand look at what these staff rides do for our Airmen and why they're important for their development in the unit," said Hedges, who has been closely involved with these staff rides for several years.

Participants began the week with classroom instruction on the basic history behind Lexington and Concord and what occurred there at the start of The Revolutionary War, including key historical figures and their involvement in the events leading up to the infamous battle. The purpose of this instruction was to set the stage and demonstrate the use of strategic planning during these historical events, according to Dr. Jim Scudieri, retired Army colonel and professor at the United States War College in Carlisle, Pennsylvania.

Scudieri then lead the group on a walk of the Lexington and Concord battle road wherein British forces, following the initial battle at Lexington, march on Concord where they again met colonial militia in battle and were forced to retreat all the way back to Boston while fighting off enduring colonial attacks. The group stopped at each of the historical sites along the route and discussed the events that occurred, oftentimes comparing the tactical decisions made by both sides, and relating them to modern day concerns at the wing.

The group concluded their staff ride with a discussion of the wing's strategic plan moving forward, and how the lessons learned at Lexington and Concord might relate to the development and support of the plan.

"An event like this rejuvenates you," said Lt. Col. Ty Randall, 109th MSG vice commander. "It puts you in a better position to work toward and support the strategic goals of the unit."

Randall said he believes the staff ride was a success and hopes that senior leaders can continue to participate alongside junior ranks in the future.