Weather squadron goes back to the future, visits American Civil War site

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Alexandra Sandoval
  • 2d Bomb Wing Public Affairs
Officers and senior non-commissioned officers from the 26th Operational Weather Squadron took a trip here April 29 for a tour of one of the most decisive battles of the American Civil War; the campaign, siege and defense of Vicksburg. 

The purpose of the trip was not simply a history lesson, but designed to give the members of the squadron a chance to build a stronger working relationship as well as give an opportunity to learn from each other in a setting away from the office. 

"The junior officers had a chance to get a SNCO's perspective and hopefully internalize some of the lessons they have learned," said Maj. Patrick Williams, 26th OWS flight commander. 

The tour of Vicksburg was made by bus with a 16-mile drive though high hills and winding roads as the tour guide discussed the political views of the campaign between the Confederates and Unions.

"This trip accomplished several goals: separated (most of) our officers and SNCO's from the work environment to learn about each other, exposed squadron members from other areas of the United States to local area historical significance, planted a seed to study our past -- for those who forget our history are doomed to repeat it -- and exposed that same number to activities sponsored by Outdoor Recreational Center," said Lt. Col. Timothy E. Dreifke, 26th OWS commander. 

The Vicksburg National Military Park is located in the northeastern portion of Vicksburg, near the Mississippi River bridges. When established in 1899 by Congress, the park encompassed the entire extent of the siege and defense lines. Many state and regimental markers, monuments and tablets are located on former park property. 

The battlefield at Vicksburg is preserved with 1,325 historic monuments and markers and 20 miles of reconstructed trenches and earthworks. There are 144 emplaced cannons, the restored gunboat-USS Cairo and the Vicksburg National Cemetery. 

During the ride back to Barksdale, the officers and SNCO's had the opportunity to mingle and continue the discussion they started in the morning. 

"I expect a stronger relationships and bonding to occur between the officers and SNCO's," said Major Williams. "I also expect both sides to learn about each other and take away some tools for their leadership rucksacks. Time will only tell." 

Colonel Dreifke agreed with Major Williams. 

"I hope our leadership get inspiration to lead, listen and inspire their Airmen on what they saw at Vicksburg," said Colonel Dreifke. "I want them to appreciate our history and sacrifices that were made to make us the greatest nation in the world, and to know that sacrifices are still being made today, will be made tomorrow and forever in the future to maintain our way of life."