LAGO PATRIA, Italy - Senior officers and some spouses from Joint Forces Command, Naples went on a staff ride on March 27 and studied Operation Avalanche, the US 5th Army, including Great Britain’s 10th Corps, landings near the port of Salerno, in 1943, as part of the Italian Campaign.
Senior British, German, and US Service personnel gave briefings at different ‘stands’ during the day.
"Today presented a fantastic opportunity to learn lessons from history which shape today’s approach to military operations; remember those who made the ultimate sacrifice in WW2; and generate understanding, through discussion, among senior officers of JFC Naples’ Command Group from across NATO Ally nations,” said British Lieutenant Colonel Carl Harris, Military Partnership Branch Section Head.
The day was organized by a core of British staff in the headquarters with significant contributions from several Allied officers. "This is just one example of the continued British commitment to NATO,” said British Colonel Nov Nanovo, a JFC logistician.
The battlefield guide was retired British Lieutenant Colonel Frank de Planta, who briefed the history of the campaign, focusing on notable sites in the US area of operations.
"We need to consider monumental events that affected the creation of NATO more often”: said British Lieutenant Commander Matt Feeney, the officer of prime responsibility for the event and the Executive Officer of NATO Reaction Force’s (NRF) Permanent Team. "It can only strengthen the alliance by understanding the failures and faults that brought us together in the first place.”
The day lasted 12 hours and had a physical element with some stands located off hardened surfaces that required moderately strenuous activity to reach.
"Staff rides are essential professional development, important in understanding the contemporary pull through of doctrinal lessons and for realizing the visceral, practical business of the armed forces,” British Colonel John Whatmough, the NRF’s Permanent Team Leader remarked at the outset. "They are also good fun and helpful for integrating multi-national service personnel into a single, coherent body of staff.”