Tunisia Staff Ride – U.S. Army Africa Soldiers apply WWII North Africa campaign lessons to current mission – May 2010

U.S. Army Africa Soldiers apply lessons of WWII to current mission

By Rick Scavetta, U.S. Army Africa

KAIROUAN, Tunisia – Col. Stephen Mariano looked down into a foxhole carved atop a rocky hill top near El Guettar, where in March 1943, troops from U.S. Army II Corps battled German panzers.

Nearby, retired Army Col. Len Fullenkamp conjured tales of U.S. Army Rangers under Lt. Col. William Darby marching through darkness along a nearby ridge to surprise sleeping enemy infantrymen with fixed bayonets. Soldiers from the 1st Infantry Division hacked fighting positions from solid rock as enemy tanks rumbled into the valley. U.S. Army artillery units skimmed shells across the desert at approaching German armor.

Mariano began to wonder, “Had my grandfather dug one of these foxholes? Was his artillery position somewhere nearby? Did he fire on Germans coming through this gap?”

Mariano, 45, of Redlands, Calif., was among several U.S. Army Africa officers who took part in a four-day “staff ride,” – onsite discussions of Tunisia’s World War II battlefields geared toward finding insights into U.S. Army Africa’s present challenge – building cooperative relationships with African land forces to increase security, stability and peace in the region.

For more information, go to: http://www.usaraf.army.mil

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