Members of the Eighth Army staff conducted a staff ride to visit significant sites of the Incheon Landings in the city of Incheon, South Korea, Dec. 9.
The amphibious assault at Incheon gave the forces of Eighth Army and the Republic of Korea a chance to go on the offensive and relieve pressure off the forces holding the Busan perimeter by cutting the supply lines and reinforcements of the North Korean People's Army.
The staff ride gave the attendees a unique opportunity for officers and noncommissioned officers to gain insight into the experiences of the planning required to pull off this pivotal battle during the Korean War.
"The staff ride is a technique used mainly by the military for professional development and team building," said Dr. Harold Raugh, the historian for The United Nations Command/Combined Forces Command/U.S. Forces Korea. "It uses the lessons of a historical military operation and applies them to current military doctrine, planning, and operations. With a certain amount of effort, the modern commander can provide a powerful and enduring impetus to the professional improvement of his subordinates."
The Incheon Landings represent a unique opportunity for the staff to study the only unified land operation conducted by the Eighth Army during the Korean War.
"As members of a field army headquarters, the Eighth Army staff must focus on the operational level of war," said Raugh. "Unfortunately, the preponderance of combat operations during the Korean War occurred at the tactical level. South of the Demilitarized Zone, the Battle for Incheon provides the most appropriate case study for 8A planners to consider ULO at the operational level."
It also allowed for the different staff sections, ranging from human resources to logistical planners, to see first-hand how their area of expertise can influence the tactics and strategies of a major operation.
"I think staff rides are very important," said Maj. Gen. Tammy S. Smith, the deputy commanding general-support for Eighth Army. "They do a couple of things, they get the team together to focus on something other than the day to day grind of work, but more importantly they give context to the work they do as staff officers and commanders. It provides an opportunity to explore technology differences, leadership differences, troop formation differences and I think they're just an absolute wonderful learning experience."
Through the exploration of the sites, including a museum that housed a large-scale model of the operation, equipment and information on the operation and numerous important objective sites that were achieved during the battle, the attending staff learned many things they can take back with them to enrich their day-to-day jobs.