Friday, August 2, 2013

Strategic Studies Staff Ride: A SAIS Tradition

The Johns Hopkins University Gazette recently published an article about the legendary SAIS Strategic Studies staff rides, which have been a SAIS tradition since 1998. 
This year’s staff ride brought SAIS faculty member and Vietnam War veteran Thomas Keaney back to Vietnam for the first time in 42 years.
On the Vietnam trip, Keaney portrayed himself and gave his presentation at a military museum in Hanoi. Not wanting just to recount war stories, he focused instead on characterizing his role and daily life during wartime. Keaney told one story of a day he spent more than an hour locked in traffic traveling from his residence in Quy Nhon to the air base where he would later launch a fighter strike. “It just struck me, the irony of fighting traffic and dodging motor scooters on the way to a battle,” he says. Keaney also talked about the friends he lost in the war, and what it was like to return home to a country divided.
Eliot Cohen, director of Strategic Studies at SAIS, explains why these staff rides are so important to an education in military strategy.
From Cohen’s point of view, the staff rides are all about such exposure to the human element of war: the fears, hopes, convictions, and uncertainties of combatants and those on the periphery.
Learn more about this year’s staff ride and how this tradition began, you can read the original article here
Thanks for reading!
– Erin Skelly Cameron, Associate Director of Admissions