In the footsteps of leaders

  • Published
  • By 911th Airlift Wing, Financial Management Office
  • 911th Airlift Wing, Financial Management Office

In September, Joseph Bridge and Brian Zator, members of the 911th Airlift Wing Financial Management Office, participated in the Federal Executive Board’s two-day joint leadership training held at Gettysburg National Military Park.

Thirty federal employees from agencies such as the Department of Defense, Department of Energy, Federal Bureau of Investigation, Center for Disease Control and the Defense Logistics Agency participated in the event.

Personally escorted by a Gettysburg Foundation guide, the events of the battle began to take on a new meaning for the group. As they walked around the Gettysburg battlefield, the guide explained the leadership styles of those in command positions from both the Union and Confederate armies.  Learning the viewpoints of both General’s Robert E. Lee and George G. Meade as they opposed each other from across the fields, the class was able to reflect on their own leadership methods.

Through individual and group exercises at strategic stops along the battlefield, members were able to gain a better understanding of the effects of the decisions made during the course of the battle.

While making the walk of Pickett’s Charge, named after General George E. Pickett, the general who led the charge in 1863, the group’s demeanor took on a different appearance. Each member was handed a card which represented one of the 165,000 soldiers who took part in the Battle of Gettysburg.  Following the walk through Pickett’s Charge, each class member was then revealed the fate of the soldier whose name was written on their card.

One of the final group events was the reading of the Gettysburg Address by one of the class members.


The 272 words contained within the address took on a new life for the class as the speech was read aloud just a mere 75 yards from the believed location President Lincoln gave that powerful address, November 19, 1863.

The group convened back in the classroom for the final three hours of the day. They were separated into smaller groups to review and discuss what they learned and how those leadership styles from July of 1863, can be applied to today’s supervisors as well as tomorrow’s leaders.

What a phenomenal experience, from both the historical aspect to the leadership training!” said Zator. “A first class product.”

Reflecting on the course, Bridge said that, whether in a military or civilian career, it was truly a great experience.

“From a historical, leadership and mentoring perspective, the overall course experience offered a tremendous amount to take away and put to use,” said Bridge.