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Feature Stories

NEWS | March 1, 2018

Developing leadership through the lens of history

By Sgt. Dylan Grace 371st Sustainment Brigade

Six groups of ASG-KU personnel were assigned an attribute or competency during the staff ride. A staff ride, which can be anything from studying a historical military campaign to visiting a battlefield site, is a technique designed to further the professional development of leaders. The participants were asked to brief an application of their assigned leadership attribute in each of the locations visited.

“Our objective is to create a fun event that educates our leaders on the Liberation of Kuwait and the six leader attributes,” said Capt. Quincy Banis, ASG-KU plans officer. 

Character, presence, intellect, leads, develops, and achieves, were the six competencies and attributes that were reviewed during this two-day event.

The staff spent the morning of the first day at Kuwait Naval Base learning about why and how Iraqi forces invaded Kuwait in 1990 and the reaction of the Kuwaiti government to the attack. The guest speaker, retired Brig. Gen. Faraj Esmail, served as an Engineer Company Commander from 1986 to 1990 and an Engineer Battalion Commander in 1995. “At the time we did not have any troops on the border,” said Esmail. “We were trying to make peace diplomatically; we didn’t want a war.”

Individuals from ASG-KU gave examples of how one of the six leadership attributes applied to the briefing during a discussion. The discussion allowed the staff members to come together and apply the lessons learned from the history of the Liberation to how they operate their section.

Day two of the Staff Ride was spent at the Al-Qurain Martyrs Museum, which is housed in a building where members of the Kuwaiti resistance group Al-Messilah fought against the Iraqi invaders and provided crucial intelligence to coalition forces. The building still has the scars from the conflict.

“I want us to understand history and one advantage we have is that we can see where the battle was fought,” said Colonel Steven R. Berger, ASG-KU Commander.

The staff was able to explore the museum — and get a deeper appreciation of the intense fighting and sacrifices made by the Al-Messilah Martyrs — before sitting in on a presentation by Gustavo Ferrari, a photojournalist who documented much of the aftermath of the Iraqi invasion.

After the presentation, the different groups shared leadership ideals that they learned through the lens of the Kuwaiti Liberation and examined how those ideals apply to their experiences in today’s operational environment.