Published: Feb. 22, 2023

MSIV Cadets attend the Virtual Staff Ride on February 22, 2023. Photo courtesy of CPT Chris Head.

MSIV Cadets attend the Virtual Staff Ride on February 22, 2023. Photo courtesy of CPT Chris Head.

A “staff ride” consists of traveling to an historical battle or campaign site to conduct a preliminary study and analysis of the terrain where the action took place. This on-site study and learning opportunity lends to numerous ways to derive and integrate several key lessons into the pre-formulated documented curriculum. If a physical trip is not possible, the lesson is presented in a “virtual” format where the historical terrain is recreated in a virtual environment. The use of satellite imagery, digital terrain references and even 3D modeling is employed to mimic the in-person experience. Several monitors are used to project the battle or campaign terrain in the most realistic replication of the area as possible.

All senior level (MSIV) Golden Buffalo Battalion Cadets are mandated to attend this curriculum training that is a graduation requirement deemed necessary by the U.S. Army Cadet Command. This year the Cadets convened on the CU-Boulder campus at the University Memorial Center (UMC) in room 247, one of their high-tech interactive/classroom style conference rooms.

The presenter for the class session was Mr. Troy D. Lewis, Army University Press Combat Studies Institute Instructor. This four-hour session concentrated on the Combat Action in Afghanistan in 2008 – specifically the attack at Wanat (COP Kahler) on July 13, 2008. Where nine U.S. Army soldiers lost their lives and 27 others were wounded (16 of the wounded requiring immediate evacuation). At the time, this represented the highest U.S. fatality total from any enemy engagement seen in the country since the U.S. operations began in 2001.

Cadets were required to read the official detailed report on the attack at Wanat before the presentation. This allowed them to be prepared to fully discuss the “ins-and-outs” of the entire operation.