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First Lieutenant Gabriel Walton talks to the Marines about the Battle of Antietam at the Antietam National Battlefield at Sharpsburg, Maryland, April 23. The officers in the unit were in charge of leading the professional military education on the Battle of Antietam.

Photo by Pfc. David Staten

Quantico Marines conduct hike, PME

27 Apr 2015 | Pfc. David Staten The Official United States Marine Corps Public Website

Marine Corps Air Facility Quantico personnel, from Marine Corps Base Quantico, Virginia, conducted a 7.6-mile hike and professional military education event at the Antietam National Battlefield at Sharpsburg, Maryland, April 23-24.  

The battlefield study, funded by the Marine Corps University Foundation, gave Marines an opportunity to understand the strategy and tactics used during the Civil War and walk a few miles in a Union and Confederate troop’s shoes.

“We want to build unit camaraderie,” Maj. Michael Shull said, an operations officer for MCAF Quantico. “Harder times, hard evolutions bring people together. You see that a lot on deployments and unfortunately for us we’re not a deploying unit so it’s important for us to get out and do these types of evolutions to maintain that unit cohesion together.”

The Battle of Antietam is the bloodiest single-day battle in American history. It was the first major battle in the American Civil War, which took place on Union soil.

“Learning about the battles of the past and the different wars that we have overcame has opened my eyes and the eyes of some of my fellow Marines here,” said Cpl. Calvon Williams, a motor transport Marine with the facility. “Now it’s our turn to do our part as the Marines of this generation.”

The 100 Marines of the unit were given the opportunity to walk the rolling hills, forests and farmland surrounding Antietam Creek. The group stopped and received lectures at key locations explaining the evolution of the battle, which took place 153 years ago.

“To actually visit one of the battle sites and walk on historic grounds is a humbling experience,” said Sgt. Patrinio Canela, a career planner with the facility. “Hiking, history and hanging out with the Marines and developing this unit cohesion is making it a memorable experience at MCAF.”