Leadership Programs at the Letterman Institute

Testimonials from the Letterman Institute

Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences put together this great video. It’s a window into what we do as a museum, an institute and as a partner with the military medical community.

“Thank you for your work with Federal healthcare professionals. Your efforts, both directly and indirectly have proven indispensable to those military officers in harm’s way and those leading Federal treatment facilities in garrison who are fighting one common cause – the global war on terrorism. You are making better, stronger, and more confident leaders of us all.”

“…your timely lecture provide and in-depth understanding of the significant improvements made in military medicine during the Civil War and how those improvements form the basis of current field military medical care.”

“It was a great day and I learned a lot about what true leadership can be. The fact that our classroom was a battlefield made the lessons even more vivid to those of us in a military organization. Now the challenge is take what I’ve learned and start to seriously think about my leadership style and how I can be a more effective leader. Can’t wait for the second class.”

“Often we overlook or misunderstand decisions that are made by others. To have the ability to review and understand mission critical decisions that have been made/not made in the past can only lead to opening our minds to alternate courses of action as we ourselves make decisions/take guidance.”

“…this was a very well organized activity and the information was incredible.”

“Thoroughly enjoyed the course and how the facilitator descriptions made you feel actively participating in the events of that period. During many points of the narrative provided by the facilitator, I began to wonder who had actually won the war. This occurred because he made the South’s strategy and battle wins turn to project total victory. It was awesome as the youngsters would say.”

“The presenter was amazing!”

“Excellent. Waiting for Part II”

“Can’t wait for the next one.”

“I enjoy and look forward to each course.”

“I went into this without knowing if I would get any benefit and came out with more knowledge for future uses.”

“Outstanding experience…applicable to daily current operations.”

“Appreciate this superb experience.”

Sample Programs

Full Day Antietam

Letterman Programs usually begin with the facilitator meeting the group at their site at the start of the day. During this time, the knowledge level of the group will be assessed, as well as the areas of greatest importance to your group then tailoring the rest of the day based on those evaluations. During the drive to the Battlefield, the facilitator will begin setting up the background of why the Battle of Antietam happened, why it happened in Sharpsburg and other information that will help prepare the participants to better understand the rest of the day.

The group will visit all significant sites associated with the Antietam campaign including, but not limited to: the Visitor’s Center, Cornfield, Dunker Church, Bloody Lane and Burnside Bridge among other sites specific to the needs of your group.6th Med Corps Antietam Letterman-Civil War Museum, Jonathan Letterman

Planned stops or stands along the route will be selected for historical significance, visual impact, vignette suitability, or logistical necessity. Some of the topics covered during stops include:

  • Leadership-strengths and weaknesses
  • Courage and innovation
  • Communication
  • Logistics and resources
  • Stress and fatigue
  • Artillery and its effects
  • Medical understandings of the day
  • Military medical care before and after Letterman Plan
  • Need for change in a system
  • Strategic Policy
  • Critical thinking
  • Evacuation
  • Healthcare issues

A Letterman Program consists of systematic preliminary study of the battle of Antietam, an extensive visit to the actual sites associated with that campaign, and an opportunity to integrate the lessons derived from each. This program links the historical event, systematic preliminary study, and actual terrain to produce battle analysis in three dimensions. It consists of three distinct phases: preliminary study, field study, and integration.Training aids will improve both the preliminary and field study phases. Aids used may be maps, group activities, photographs, film, artifacts, and a terrain board. Instructional methods include lecture, facilitation, and group discussion.


Antietam Full Day LettermanSample Full Day Schedule

8:00am   Facilitator arrives at meeting site
9:00am   Board bus for Antietam Battlefield
    Program with Letterman Institute Staff, during which Antietam Battlefield and Pry House Field Hospital Museum will be highlighted.
11:30am   Depart Antietam
12:30pm   Boxed lunch or lunch at local restaurant
1:30pm   Program/Tour of NMCWM with George Wunderlich and Letterman Institute Staff
4:30pm   Return to meeting site


Half Day Antietam

The Half Day Antietam Program focuses on the same issues and concerns as the full day, but in a more truncated fashion. Half day programs may or may not include program/tour at NMCWM, depending upon the client’s needs and limitations.

Letterman Full Day Gettysburg

Sample Half Day Schedule

8:00am   Facilitator arrives at meeting site
9:00am   Board bus for Antietam Battlefield
    Program with Letterman Institute Staff, during which Antietam Battlefield and Pry House Field Hospital Museum will be highlighted.
12:30pm   Depart Antietam

Letterman Programs are able to be held at numerous sites, including, but not limited to: 

Antietam Battlefield

Gettysburg Battlefield

Town of Gettysburg

Harper’s Ferry

Frederick City

Leadership and Professional Development Programs

How do you determine if you need a Letterman Institute Program? If your company is undergoing any of the following 

  • New Product Launch
  • New Employees (especially hiring veterans)
  • Changes in Corporate Structure
  • Stagnant Growth
  • Technological Innovations
  • Fast-paced Company Growth
  • Updating Leadership Styles
  • Change in Mission/Direction

Once you’ve determined you’re ready for the Battlefield, each Letterman Institute program is developed in collaboration with our clients in order to achieve a customized program designed to cover those topics that address your organization’s most pressing needs.  Focus may include: Civil War Museum, Clara Barton Museum, Civil War Beer, Jonathan Letterman

  • Team Building
  • Commitment Building
  • Personal Initiative
  • Overcoming Adversity
  • Mission Awareness and Dedication to Mission
  • Logistical Management
  • Leadership and Management during Crisis
  • Communication & Effective Communication
  • Cultural Differences
  • Goal Setting
  • Effective Planning
  • Problem Solving
  • Esprit de Corps
  • Team Support

Our goal is to ensure that upon completion of a Letterman Institute Leadership Training seminar, your team will return to work with the tools and motivation that will allow for immediate improvement in job performance and outcomes.

  1. The Letterman Institute is based on a servant/steward leadership model that stresses social, environmental and civic responsibility as a foundation of leadership rather than a method or style of leadership.  We use the history of compassionate leadership in the face of human tragedy as a model for long-lasting leadership results.  While many battlefield leadership programs focus on the tactical decisions made in light of the events of a single battle, we broaden the focus to decisions made in the light of foundational compassion that changed the world and continues to do so to this very day.
  2. The Letterman Institute programs are not about “the” battle, or the decisions made as much as the methodology of the decisions and the reasons behind those decisions.  We also view the personalities and motivations of the decision-makers so we can better understand the key players’ methods.  This allows us to turn the battlefield into a parable of leadership that is easy to follow and interesting even to those who may not enjoy history.  It is a story that sticks in the mind and heart, not merely facts of an historical event.
  3. A Letterman Institute Program is meant to change lives, not only achieve results to a bottom line.  It is about people and communities — not about sales goals and benchmarks.  By focusing on changing the world one person at a time we will achieve much more than simply trying to meet a quota.  Our participants achieve much more than can be measured on a spreadsheet- they excel at life.
  4. Our training is for those who are willing to be mission-driven individuals for whom there is something greater than self.  It is for those who wish to change the world — not simply profit from it, and it is for those who realize that good leadership is based on timeless principles and not simply the latest fad.
  5. The Letterman Institute Program teaches that leadership is not only for managers and CEOs.  An organization desiring to exemplify good leadership needs everyone to participate in learning leadership skills.  The principles of leadership must extend from the mail room to the boardroom.


Government Clients

  • 1st Area Medical Laboratory, Aberdeen Proving Grounds
  • 202 (M) Field Hospital Royal Army Medical Corps, Great Britain
  • 302 Signal Battalion
  • 6th MLMC, Fort Detrick
  • Armed Forces Institute of Pathology
  • Armed Forces Medical Intelligence Center
  • Army National Guard Medical Team
  • Army War College
  • Department of Defense Virtual Military Health Institute
  • DeWitt Medical Center
  • Executive Protection Detail Drug Enforcement Administration
  • Fort Belvoir
  • Fort Meade Dental Corps
  • Fort Meade Medical Officers
  • Global Encoded Teleradiology / Telemedicine Network
  • Interagency Institute for Federal Health Care Executives
  • Joint Medical Executive Skills Institute
  • National Defense University, Fort McNair
  • National Intelligence Agency
  • National Security Agency
  • North Atlantic Regional Medical Command
  • Office of Personnel Management, Presidential Management Fellows
  • Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences
  • US Air Force 78th Medical Group
  • US Army 114th Signal Battalion
  • US Army 21st Signal Brigade
  • US Army 3rd Infantry Honor Guard (“The Old Guard”)
  • US Army Acquisition Corps, MC4
  • US Army Health Facility Planning Agency
  • US Army Garrison, Fort Detrick
  • US Army Intelligence, Fort Meade
  • US Army Medical Communications for Combat Casualty Care (MC4)
  • US Army Medical Department Center and School
  • US Army Medical Department Regiment
  • US Army Medical Materiel Agency
  • US Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases
  • US Army Medical Research and Materiel Command, Fort Detrick
  • US Army North Atlantic Regional Dental Command
  • US Army Staff College
  • US Army War College
  • US Marine Corps 2nd Medical Battalion
  • US Marshall Service
  • US Navy Directorate of Dental Services
  • US Public Health Service

Business and Organizational Clients

  • Association for Operating Room Nurses
  • Carlisle Regional Medical Center
  • Civil War Preservation Trust Educators Conference
  • Frederick County Health Dept.
  • Frederick County Medical Society
  • Leadership Frederick County
  • Lutheran Hospital Nurses Alumni
  • Maryland Nurses Association
  • National Biodefense Analysis and Countermeasures Center
  • PA Association of Nurses
  • Society for Military Historians
  • Southern Orthopedic Association
  • Springfield Illinois Bicentennial Commission
  • Western MD Veterinary Association

*This list represents many of the Museum’s clients; however, it is not complete.

Vistage International

vistage_logoWe are proud to say that Executive Director George Wunderlich is part of the Vistage Speaking Bureau. Vistage is a group of top level executives from around the world. They have found great value and insight for their corporations in our Letterman Institute Program. The Letterman Institute and the National Museum of Civil War Medicine are now a valued resource in corporate training – specifically in leadership, team building and problem solving.

Value to Members: The greatest story you’ve never heard. This highly participatory session is led by a master story teller who transports you back in time into the shoes of Dr. Jonathan Letterman – a man who changed history. These historic lessons will enlighten your understanding of mission and what is required to support that mission. Participants will leave with a renewed energy and a complete set of tools needed to re-write their own organizations history.

Title: Just what the doctor ordered – a shot in the arm for your mission

Introduction: Over a century ago a Civil War doctor reached across time and touched your life…and you probably never heard his name. His innovation brought us the modern emergency room, the modern ambulance and made today’s 911 system possible. He did it all with a simple prescription: every organizational mission needs a healthy foundation of sub-missions. Learning the concepts of mission, sub-mission and personal submission as the foundation helps you fulfill all of your organizational goals. This method saves lives every day and it can help your organization survive the daily battlefield of business.

Biography: George Wunderlich is the Executive Director of the National Museum of Civil War Medicine and founder of the Letterman Institute. A natural born storyteller, he draws on his experiences as a corporate executive, police office, firefighter, banjo maker, historian and entrepreneur to enlighten and entertain. His leadership programs have been used by the Army, Navy, Air Force, Public Health Service and Veteran’s Administration since 2004. In 2012 he was awarded the Order of Military Medical Merit by the Army Surgeon General for his work. George can be regularly seen on PBS, History and National Geographic networks covering topics from ballistics to religion.

The Barton Patient Rolls

Search through the patient list from Clara Barton’s records.

The Barton Rolls

Frederick Patients after the Battle of Antietam

Search through our list below of patients that were treated in Frederick after the Battle of Antietam.