Leaders and staff from William Beaumont Army Medical Center participated in a staff ride on May 6, 2022, to Columbus, New Mexico, to visit the location of Pancho Villa's siege of Columbus, otherwise known as the Battle of Columbus.
The staff ride was conducted by John Hamilton, former historian for the Air Defense Artillery Center and former director of the Fort Bliss Museum, who also gave extra educational material to WBAMC personnel.
“A staff ride allows present military officials to go back in time and learn how conflicts were fought in the past. Staff rides like this one serve to boost morale and unit cohesiveness,” said Staff Sgt. Ria Keathley, dental specialist, Fort Bliss Dental Health Activity (DENTAC).
During the staff ride, participants learned about friendly and hostile forces as well as the parallel contrasts between the current conditions facing U.S. Army units in Iraq and Afghanistan.
During Pancho Villa’s siege, Mexico was in social and political upheaval. Government officials started a series of revolutions to counter Pancho Villa's attack. In October 1915, President Woodrow Wilson said he would use force if needed to stop the new leadership.
According to Hamilton, the town of Columbus had ten causalities, including eight soldiers who died due to their injuries. Several more were injured during the conflict. The camp was occupied until 1924 when the 1st Cavalry Division relocated to Fort Bliss.
Staff rides also provide opportunities to learn about military operations, leadership, and the geography where significant wars were fought.
“The tour gave an atmosphere conducive to the dissemination of information and knowledge, which also gives participants the chance to see historic battlegrounds and encourages the growth of future leaders,” said Keathley.
Staff rides are also a common and popular technique for lower-ranking Soldiers to have the chance to learn about historical conflicts. These past experiences will assist military leaders in planning for future conflicts to be fought on the battlefield.