VICENZA, Italy - Soldiers and staff from the U.S. Army Southern European Task Force-Africa G4 directorate recently participated in a battle staff ride and educational forum designed to further the professional development of U.S. Army leaders and increase their knowledge of Italy and the Italian front in World War I.
The two-day battle staff ride, which took place Sept. 24-25, 2021, began with an educational forum at the Hall of Heroes at Caserma Ederle in Vicenza and culminated with a hike on and around the military memorial and summit at Monte Grappa.
Col. Scott P. Noon, the SETAF-AF, Assistant Chief of Staff, G4, Director of Logistics, hosted the two-day event to support building staff cohesion and educating G4 Soldiers and civilians on the Italian campaign in the First World War and on the lessons learned from the Italian army’s battles at Monte Grappa.
“The First World War provided us with a lot of lessons learned at the tactical and operational levels,” Noon said. “Specific to the fight on the Italian-Alpine front, Italian forces faced challenges in logistics that still appear in our military today. In addition to battling the high altitude and harsh winter conditions of the Italian Alps, Italian forces dealt with issues in mission command, communications, integration and logistics.”
To highlight the strategic significance of the Monte Grappa massif in the First World War, the G4 employed the expertise of U.S. Army Garrison Italy Senior Italian Officer Col. Michele Biasiutti, retired Italian Brig. Gen. Edoardo Maggian, and Italian author and military historian Professor Paolo Pozzato.
During the educational forum, Pozzato shared a personal collection of pictorial accounts showcasing forces’ experiences on the Italian front and provided a socio-historical perspective contextualizing Italy’s geopolitical climate leading into the war.
Similarly, while conducting the hike, Biasiutti and Maggian provided an overview of Italy’s military strategy, putting into context the key strategic and operational aspects of the war and the strategic significance of the Grappa massif as a final line of defense for Italy.
All three host nation experts discussed the factors in homeland defense and how a series of battles on the Italian-Austrian border would ultimately lead to Italy’s redeeming victory against German and Austro-Hungarian forces.
“In dealing with the current COVID environment, this staff ride was a year in the making,” Noon said. “A lot of hard work and tactical patience went into planning and executing this ride.”