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NEWS | Sept. 30, 2022

MTC leaders gain historical insights during staff ride

By Spc. Holden Russell | Virginia National Guard Public Affairs Office

Virginia National Guard Soldiers assigned to Maneuver Training Center Fort Pickett attended a senior leader staff ride to Sailor’s Creek Battlefield Historical State Park Sept. 18, 2022, in Rice, Virginia. 

The staff ride was led by Maj. Jason Simulcik, the MTC Headquarters Company commander, and included senior leaders from MTC, including Lt. Col. James Shaver and Command Sgt. Maj. Ronald Howell, the MTC Fort Pickett garrison command team.

“I grew up in Amelia county and have spent numerous hours visiting this battlefield even before it was established as a state park,” said Shaver. “It was great to take the current MTC leaders there for Inactive Duty Training to participate in professional development, appreciation of the significant history in this great Commonwealth and building upon the camaraderie gained through events like this that get us away from our normal drill duties.”

The purpose of the staff ride was to educate senior leaders on the procedures and tactics used by both the Union and Confederate Armies during The Battle of Sailor’s Creek, as well as showcasing the rich history surrounding the engagement. During the tour, Simulcik led discussions on the importance of understanding the military operations that took place and why they are relevant to modern conflicts. 

“Staff rides are a valuable tool for leaders to illustrate the relevance and value of historical events in relation to modern warfare,” said Simulcik. “Reviewing prior engagements allows leaders to accurately interpret the lessons of the past and gain experience vicariously.”

Park Ranger and historian Joshua Lindamood led a tour of the battlefield complex and provided insight on the historical relevance of the battle.

“April 6, 1865, bore witness to the heaviest and most desperate fighting along the Appomattox Campaign,'' said Lindamood, who serves as park ranger and historian for Sailor’s Creek Battlefield Historical State Park and Staunton River Battlefield State Park. “The bloodshed raged through four counties, Amelia, Nottoway, Prince Edward and Cumberland, and for well over 20 miles. Though not the final engagement, the battles at Sailor's Creek saw the last major action of fighting in Virginia. Nearly 60,000 men were deployed into combat.”

Lt. Col Shaver commented on the experience, saying, “I think we all had an amazing experience through our own individual perspectives and we appreciate the support from the park staff. We are fortunate to be so close to such a major event in the forming of this nation and it truly has a regional impact in Southside Virginia along with Fort Pickett.”

“At Sailor's Creek, we strive to preserve the cultural landscape as it was in 1865, while providing the historic setting to help tell the complete story here and the impact the clash had on the citizens of Southside Virginia,” added Lindamood.

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