Students from the Intermediate Command and Staff Course (Land) (ICSC(L) recently took part in the bi-annual exercise, studying alongside their American counterparts at the US Command and General Staff College (CGSC) in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas.
As in previous years, the start of the exercise coincided with the US National Memorial Day, particularly poignant this as we near the 100th anniversary of World War 1 (WW1).
Students and Directing Staff supported multiple parades and services in the surrounding area, the largest of which took place at the US National WW1 Memorial which is located in the heart of Kansas City.
Memorial Day, originally known as Decoration Day, began as an act to honour the nation’s Civil War dead by decorating their graves. It was first widely observed in 1868 and, after WW1, ceremonies began to commemorate the sacrifices of those who had died in all America’s wars. Memorial Day was declared a national holiday in 1971 and sees events and commemorations across the United States.
Towering above the memorial gardens, the monument of the National WW1 Memorial dominates the Kansas City skyline. On one of the hottest spring days on record, 30 ICSC(L) students and staff joined their CGSC American colleagues to remember all those who have served and paid the ultimate sacrifice. Addresses from the President of the National WW1 Museum, the Mayor of Kansas City and two members of congress preceded a key note address from the former US Navy pilot and NASA astronaut Capt Jon McBride, all emphasising the nature of Service, sacrifice and the need to always remember. Two wreaths were laid by students from both the US Army CGSC and UK ICSC(L).
The Memorial Day commemorations in Kansas also saw the unveiling and dedication of a joint ICSC(L) and CSGC stone in the Walk of Honour based at the foot of the United States National WW1 Memorial.
Major Kelly Richards RA, Army Division, JSCSC, Defence Academy said "It was a huge honour to be part of this annual memorial day and being part of the unveiling and dedication of a joint ICSC(L) and CSGC stone in the Walk of Honour. The stone is a mark of the enduring partnership forged in conflict over so many years, and deep friendship seen in working together."