Waterloo to World War 2 (W2WW2)

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Waterloo to World War 2 (W2WW2) is a week-long Christian leadership program designed for cadets, midshipmen, and recently-commissioned graduates who are about to begin their careers leading America’s military men and women. W2WW2 includes visits to a wide variety of battlefields, museums, cemeteries, and other historical and cultural sites in Belgium and France.

Participants will learn the strategic, operational, and tactical background behind many key engagements that shaped the history of Europe, from the battle of Waterloo through the WW2 Normandy landings. They will also be mentored in lessons of leadership by examining how individual heroism, mistakes, neglect, and actions or inaction often drove the outcome of key phases of important battles and campaigns.

Additionally, each site offers spiritual object lessons related to leadership, integrity, and character that can be applied to the challenges facing today’s young leaders.

W2WW2 is open to all rising military leaders who desire to grow in their Christian faith and learn how to integrate their faith with the leadership principles that they have studied and practiced during their training.

The trip to Europe will be preceded by a short orientation period for participants to learn the background, outcome, and significance of the events that took place, and will be presented with other resources that can help to prepare them to more fully appreciate the sites they will visit, including maps, reading material, and videos.

The order in which sites are visited is not strictly chronological. In several strategic locations, battles follow a split chronology because the front lines swept back and forth across the same terrain at different times. In addition, participants will visit battlefields and fortifications from other wars as the group passes through natural strong points and communication routes that have invited battles for control throughout history. Thus the presentation of the sequence of events in each war is tempered with an ongoing discussion of the timeless principles of warfare and leadership.

W2WW2 is a fast-paced program. In order to allow maximum interaction, groups are limited to 8 participants, four from the U.S. and four from the U.K. This gives participants a chance to share different perspectives at the many sites they will visit.

A notional itinerary is provided below, but the specific itinerary can be tailored for the particular school.

The group will leave the U.S. the day Spring Break begins, arriving in Brussels early the next day. Launching right into a full day of activity helps overcome jet lag more quickly. So, after picking up luggage, the group will visit places of interest in and around Brussels, including a WW2 concentration camp, a 12th century castle, the Royal Palace, and the Grand Place.

The second day in Europe begins with a trip to Waterloo, which has vantage points where one can see every major significant geographic feature involved in the battle. The visitor center and museum provide good background and present interesting artifacts from the battle, and the group will stop at key points on the battlefield that were critical in the final outcome. After leaving Waterloo, the group will visit the ruins of a nearby 12th Century abbey and discuss the impact of faith and religion on history.

W2WW2 will spend the next two days exploring sites from WW1, including the famous battlefields of Flanders and the Somme. They will visit trenches, tunnels, battlefields, museums, and memorials related to the bloody campaigns that were fought in the Flanders region. This was also the site of the first poison gas attack. They will also attend the “Last Post” ceremony at Ypres’ Menin Gate, which has been conducted every night since 2 July 1928, except during the German occupation in WW2. Participants will return with a deep appreciation of the scale of carnage that traumatized Europe and led to WW2.

Passing the site of the first tank battle, as well as the spot where the “Red Baron” was shot down, the group will drive to Normandy. En route, they will visit the castle of William the Conqueror, and will stay in the historic town of Bayeux, with its 11th century cathedral and famous tapestry commemorating the Norman conquest of England at the battle of Hastings.

Participants will climb on the German defensive positions above the landing beaches before moving to Omaha and Utah beaches where American forces landed, as well as Pegasus Bridge, site of the famous U.K. commando raid. Traveling through the area where many of the hedgerow skirmishes were fought, they will visit other important D-Day locations, including Ste Mère Église, Ste Marie du Mont, and Point du Hoc, where Army Rangers scaled heavily defended 90 foot cliffs. There will also be a stop at the United States Cemetery above Omaha Beach. Time permitting, the group will travel to the island monastery of Mont Saint Michel. Returning to Brussels, the group will fly out on Saturday morning and return to the U.S.

The 2020 trip will be led by Col Philip Exner, USMC (Ret). Cost: $2700 ($1300 for cadets and midshipmen) from U.S., including round trip airfare from Washington DC, lodging, food, transportation, and admissions.

Join an W2WW2 Event
To learn more about ACCTS’ W2WW2 opportunities, call the ACCTS office at (800) 487-8108 or (303) 985-8808, or click here for email contact.

Col (USMC, Ret. ) Phil Exner - Executive Director
Placeholder Phil Exner has been the Executive Director of ACCTS since July 2011. He oversees the ACCTS staff of approximately 60 people, most of whom are retired military or spouses who live in the U.S. but minister overseas. Phil guides the staff in their ACCTS ministries, recruits new staff, raises funds, and represents ACCTS at national and international conferences and leadership events.

Phil met Sue, his wife, at an Officers’ Christian Fellowship (OCF) Bible study in 1976, and they were married in 1980. Sue is the daughter of a pastor and had become a Christian at a church camp when she was a little girl. Phil accepted Christ as a teenager. Over the years, both have grown in Christ through the ministry of military chaplains as well as OCF and other ministries that reach out to the military.

Sue left active duty when they were married, but continued to serve in the reserves until retiring as a lieutenant colonel in 2002. Meanwhile, she and Phil raised five wonderful children who enjoyed the military family life of travel and adventure, and was active in chapel/church ministries and the children’s schools wherever they lived.

Phil’s career in the Marine Corps spanned 30 years and included operational tours in a wide variety of aviation and staff jobs, as well as command positions. He flew both helicopters and fixed wing aircraft, and was a flight instructor at the U.S. Navy’s flight school. He also spent more than 12 years in senior staff headquarters, including Headquarters Marine Corps, the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and as director of the Marine Corps Studies and Analysis Division. He organized and led the Marine Corps’ Center for Lessons Learned and was the director of the Marine Corps’ Combat Assessment Team for Operation Iraqi Freedom. He also served as Exercise Officer in the Operations Division of NATO’s International Military Staff in Brussels.

Phil and Sue began supporting ACCTS ministry in the 1980s, and after retiring from the Marine Corps in 2007, they joined ACCTS as staff members. Phil was selected as Executive Director four years later.

Click here to get in touch with the Exners

Maj. General (UK, Ret. ) Roddy Porter - MMI Board Member
Roddy PorterGeneral Porter became a Christian in 1979 at age 19 while working as a gap-year student at a small school in Devon, England. He had been a chorister since the age of 8, was well-acquainted with the Anglican liturgy, which he enjoyed, and had had the benefit of excellent religious education instruction at school. However, it took attendance at South Chard Christian Fellowship, where for the first time he heard the Gospel of Jesus Christ clearly preached and the experience of many miraculous interventions of God in the everyday life of the school where he taught to convince him that Jesus was alive. Confronted with the evidence of physical healing and miraculous answers to prayer and the real warmth of Christian love at church, Roddy felt he could not deny Jesus’ existence and asked Him into his life; which changed from that time onwards.

Since that time, he has been on a journey of discovering God in the ‘everyday’, which, for 31 years was the Armed Forces. He was convinced of a calling to the Army and has spent a great deal of time practising and affirming the church’s teaching on Just War. He served in Northern Ireland for many years, from platoon to brigade commander. He also fought in the Gulf War of 1991. He undertook two tours of Bosnia with the UN in the 1990s, being made a Member of the British Empire (MBE) for services on the first tour. He completed his deployed service by fulfilling a life-long ambition to serve as an ‘embed’ in an American formation with a year-long tour in Baghdad in 2008. He worked for the US Commanding General (Gen. Ray Odierno) and US Ambassador (Ryan Crocker) seeking opportunities for reconciliation with the Shia and Sunni militias and was deeply honoured to be made an Officer of the United States of America Legion of Merit for his service.

When he left the Army in 2011 in the rank of Major General, he worked for six years as the Director-General of The Royal Over-Seas League, a not for profit private members club with a worldwide membership and a strong classical music and arts programme. He discovered, in the bleakness and frequent loneliness of many operational tours with the Army, the richness of God’s Word and has proved God’s faithfulness, despite his own shortcomings, on very many occasions.

General Porter has always sought to support Christian organisations wherever he has served. He has been a long-term member of the UK Armed Forces Christian Union and served as their President from 2005 to 2011. He also served as a Council member of the Soldiers’ and Airmen’s Scripture Readers Association and is currently Chairman of Trustees of Military Ministries International and a Vice President of Sandes Soldiers’ Homes. He is passionate about musical worship and has been a regular worship leader in many church settings for over twenty years. He is currently one of the worship leaders at St Paul’s Church, Camberley.

Roddy married Marianne in 1987. Marianne is a teacher and has been a Christian all her life. They especially grateful to God that their three sons, Adam (27 and married to a lovely Christian, Hannah, in August 2017), Mark (25, a PE teacher) and Hugo (23, a Law student) are all walking with God in their own adult lives. Roddy enjoys rugby, cricket, golf, dinghy sailing, mountain walking, all kinds of music, travel, cooking and studying military history.

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PO Box 27239
Denver, CO 80227
Phone: (800) 487-8108
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