U.S. Army Europe staff learns from the past during visit to Normandy

May 21, 2012

By U.S. Army Europe Public Affairs

Keeping heroes active
U.S. Army in Europe commanders and staff listen as Maj. Gen. (Ret.) Bill Stofft recaps the Normandy Breakout Staff Ride at the Mémorial de Coudehard–Montormel near Chambois, France May 18, 2012.

HEIDELBERG, Germany -- The U.S. Army Europe Commanding General, Lt. Gen. Mark Hertling, spent last week training his subordinate commanders and staff via a staff ride on the Normandy Breakout battlefields near Caen, France.

Hertling led 45 USAREUR Soldiers and several guests on the historical tour, focusing on building the Army of tomorrow by learning from the past about trust, relationships, communications, logistics, and combined arms and joint combat.

“The history associated with the Staff Ride is a point of departure,” Hertling said. “The history is important, but we should use it as a springboard for thinking about the future.”

Participants included the honorable Robert A. Mandell, Ambassador of the United States of America to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg; U.S. Air Force Lt. Gen. Craig A. Franklin, Commander, 3rd Air Force; Brigadier (UK) Ben Bathurst OBE, Director of Training–Army, United Kingdom; and journalists Jennifer Griffin of Fox News and Robert Fox of the Evening Standard (London).

Participants also included USAREUR Deputy Commanding General, Maj. Gen. Jim Boozer; Maj. Gen. Aundre Piggee, 21st Theater Sustainment Command commanding general; Maj. Gen. David Elmo, USAREUR Deputy Chief of Staff for Mobilization and Reserve Affairs; Ms. Kathleen Marin, IMCOM-Europe Region Director; Mr. Larry Gottardi, USAREUR G-1; Brig. Gen. Michael Bills, USAREUR G-3; and USAREUR Command Sergeant Major, Command Sgt. Maj. David Davenport.

Many of the participants were assigned to “role-play” significant decision makers such as Gen. Eisenhower, Field Marshall Montgomery, Lt. Gen. Patton, and key corps and division commanders. Role players focused their character sketches and operational vignettes on transitions, contingencies, leadership and cross talk, values and discipline, political considerations, and the media.

Primary references for the participants were the U.S. Army Center of Military History’s comprehensive volume from the European Theater series “Breakout and Pursuit,” authored by Martin Blumenson; and the USAREUR prepared senior leader staff ride battlebook—both available online.

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