Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Training Future Heroes Through “Epic Experience”

A group of midshipmen from the U.S. Naval Academy hike through Shenandoah National Park in Virginia.

For midshipmen, ‘teachable moments’ hiking Stonewall Jackson’s Shenandoah trail

By Daniel de Vise, Published: April 15

Swift Run Gap, Va. — This is the U.S. Naval Academy’s idea of spring break: a 70-mile march along the craggy spine of the Blue Ridge Mountains, in a sesquicentennial tribute to Confederate Gen. Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson and his torturous Shenandoah Valley Campaign.

Fourteen midshipmen forsook Cancun or Panama City last month for a five-day slog along the Appalachian Trail, eating peanut butter and gorp and drinking water collected from mountain streams. Only nine completed the journey. Injury and exhaustion claimed the rest — a development that only reinforced the week’s lessons about hardship and resolve.

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