Gettysburg site holds leadership legacies for 87 APS

  • Published
  • By 2nd Lt. Rachel N. Ingram
  • 445th Airlift Wing Public Affairs
More than a dozen senior leaders of the 87th Aerial Port Squadron participated in a Gettysburg National Battlefield staff ride last month as part of their annual tour training.

Staff ride is a historical term for a tactical journey which provides staff field training, typically for officers.  The 87th opened this two-day tour to all senior and chief master sergeants, along with their officers.

“It was an important step toward unit cohesion since we’ve had several new officers and senior master sergeants join our squadron recently,” said Chief Master Sgt. Jackie Larrison, squadron superintendent. “Going to Gettysburg provided us numerous mentoring opportunities.”

Lt. Col. Barry Crane, squadron commander, facilitated the event, which included a battlefield tour by a retired Air Force Colonel certified as a National Guide. 

“The historical events, decisions and actions of Gettysburg were woven into leadership concepts pertinent to today's Air Force,” said Senior Master Sgt. Robert Rowe, unit program manager.

The Citizen Airmen had the opportunity to examine the leadership styles of military leaders of that time period.

“It was eye-opening to see how the military leaders performed in the face of battle and could just make changes on the fly,” said Chief Master Sgt. Rob Haye, operations superintendent.

Maj. David Borden, operations officer and one of the newer members, agreed.

“It gave me an incredible perspective on the various leadership styles used during the battle at Gettysburg,” he said. “It allowed me to reflect on my own style and how to better understand when changes can be valuable.”

For unit members, the tour also provided the opportunity to grow closer as co-workers and leaders.

“One thing I noticed those troops at Gettysburg had over our Air Force today was their deep sense of camaraderie,” Haye said.

The troops lived together, worked together, and often travelled as a marching formation. In today’s Air Force Reserve, Hayes advised, squadrons can develop camaraderie through deployments, training events, or even dinner at a restaurant during a unit training assembly weekend.

“I would press on any unit to invest in time together outside of the uniform,” he said. “Take a chance and get to know your brothers and sisters on a different level. They are more than a rank – they are a person.”

The group also visited the historic Flight 93 National Memorial in Stoystown, Pennsylvania.