SR Page  

Publishing Disclaimer: In all of its publications and products, Army University Press presents professional information. However, the views expressed therein are those of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Army University, the Department of the Army, or any other agency of the U.S. government.

Virtual Staff Rides


The CSI virtual staff ride (VSR) consists of simulated terrain built in a 3D virtual environment produced largely from satellite imagery, digital terrain elevation data, photographs, video, and first-hand accounts. The Staff Ride Team developed its first VSR in 2005 as a means to study Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. Since then, the team has developed multiple VSRs to replicate terrain that Army organizations cannot readily access from the Continental United States.

The Staff Ride Team follows the same three-phased approach to a virtual staff that we follow for the more traditional ground staff ride as outlined in The Staff Ride. For the field phase of the virtual staff ride, we normally travel to the requesting organization’s venue. The VSR has some particular setup and support requirements as detailed here. Visit our FAQs for more information on how we conduct virtual staff rides or view an example of a VSR that the team conducted for the University of Hawaii’s Army ROTC program here.

Virtual Staff Ride Image

Available Virtual Staff Rides


Look for this download icon imageIcon to find Staff Rides with available resource materials and files that are ready for download. The resource files include instructor support materials, student readings, and virtual terain with instructions on using everything.

Please check back for more downloadable content involving our other Staff Ride options.


Stalingrad (1942-1943)

Munda Point

Munda Point (1943)


Bougainville: Defending the Lodgment (1943-1944)



Lone Tree Hill

Lone Tree Hill (1944)

Invasion of Normandy

Invasion of Normandy (1944)

VSR Image

The Encirclement of Nancy (1944)



VSR Image

Okinawa (1945)

VSR Image

Battles of the Korean War (1951)

VSR Image

Hamburger Hill, Vietnam (1969)



TF Normandy

TF Normandy: Deep Attack (1991)

VSR Image

Operation Anaconda (2002)

VSR Image

OIF March to Baghdad (2003)



Ambush of the 507th Maintenance Company

Ambush of the 507th Maintenance Company (2003)

VSR Image

Battle of Fallujah (2004)

VSR Image

Palm Sunday Ambush (2005)



VSR Image

Check Point 541 (2005)

VSR Image

Battle of Wanat (2008)

Remote Virtual Staff Ride

The Staff Ride Team can conduct virtual staff rides remotely over MS Teams. For this option, we ask the organization to host the Teams meeting and to invite the instructor team to attend. Staff Ride personnel will connect to the Teams meeting from Fort Leavenworth. Once the meeting begins, the staff ride historian and the computer tech will alternate sharing their screens for all participants. Though not as effective as conducting the VSR in person, the remote VSR serves as a suitable alternative when the staff ride instructor team and the participants cannot meet in-person.

Virtual Staff Ride Image

MS Teams Instructor Podium

Virtual Staff Ride Image

MS Teams Computer Tech Workstation

Building a Virtual Staff Ride

Building a Virtual Staff Ride

The Staff Ride Team endeavors to build new virtual staff rides every year. We program our VSR builds 3-5 years into the future and balance our builds between traditional staff rides and virtual staff rides. Virtual Staff ride builds come from three sources: CAC/AU directives, internally, and requests from the field. The Staff Ride Team Chief recommends the order and priority of staff ride builds through the chain of command for approval. Building a virtual staff ride is a lengthy project that involves both historians and virtual terrain developers. Historians build products for all three phases of the VSR and includes historical and doctrinal research, writing and editing, creating visual aids, and visits to the actual terrain whenever possible. Virtual developers work in concert with historians to build virtual terrain as historically accurate as possible. See graphic depiction for the steps involved in building a virtual staff ride and a general timeline: