Modern Soldiers Using Country's Past to Learn Military Tactics

Published 07/21 2014 05:51AM

Updated 07/21 2014 09:38AM

BATTLEFIELD, Mo. -- Using yesterday's past as a learning tool for today's military is not uncommon but having a place like Wilson's Creek is one like any other.

U.S. Army Captain Jason Burford is a small group leader at Fort Leonard Wood.

"There is only so much that you can accomplish by showing them slide shows and movie on a screen, out here they get to walk the ground, they get to actually see the terrain, the elevation changes," says Burford.

Students with the Captains’ Career Course study the battle to learn any comparisons to today's wars.

"They study the battle, each pick a commander or topic, they research that and we come back to the battlefield and walk where the soldiers walked."

Assistant Historian Christy Lindberg says it helps understand tactical maneuvers.

"I'll have them describe what that commander did and then we kind of get to play arm chair general and say what should they have done and did they make the right decision and how does that play out in the rest of the battle."

Captain Hassan Kagoni is from Mombasa, Kenya and looks at the American Civil War differently.

"Just not being from here, you think America doesn't have any history, doesn't have any culture, but as you come back and walk through the battlefield, you are realizing they have history."

No matter how war changes, the principles stay the same.

"The principles of war that were established by Clausewitz are timeless and can be applied to any time period or any battle."

Burford says walking the hollow grounds is better than any slide show can be.

"Its a chance to get the students to put what we try to teach them in the classroom, give them a visual to go along with it."

Lindberg hopes  students will leave with a greater understanding of the battle and its impacts today.

"History is not just about learning the names and dates and places, its about learning the why is this significant and how can I use this myself," says Lindberg.

"They have history and its well ingrained in them and they take pride in it, so that's pretty neat."

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