Aug. 6, 2010

National Guard assists JTF with 2010 National Scout Jamboree

By Staff Sgt. Andrew H. Owen
Virginia Guard Public Affairs

FORT A.P. HILL, Va. — When more than 45,000 Boy Scouts and adult leaders gathered at Fort A.P. Hill July 26 to Aug. 3 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Boy Scouts of America during their 2010 National Scout Jamboree, the National Guard activated hundreds of personnel to help accommodate the mass exodus to the U.S. Army training facility.


Senior Airman Daniel Hertzog of the Virginia National Guard's 203 RED HORSE Civil Engineer Squadron instructs Scouts on the proper way to thread pipe Aug. 2 as part of the Plumbing Merit Badge on the Merit Badge Midway of the National Boy Scout Jamboree at Fort A.P. Hill. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia Department of Military Affairs)

More photos of the Boy Scout Jamboree are available on the Virginia Guard Flickr page.

Approximately 600 National Guard Soldiers and Airmen from 19 states worked as part of the 2,000 men and women that comprised Joint Task Force – National Scout Jamboree providing a variety of support including weather forecasting, military police assistance patrols and traffic control as well as working as merit badge counselors and providing musical entertainment for the Scouts at Fort A.P. Hill from July 26 to Aug. 3.

“Fun is the watchword of the jamboree,” said Robert J. Mazzuca, the BSA’s Chief Scout Executive. “This week is all about the boys.”

While fun may have been the watchword for the Boy Scouts, safety was the watchword for the Guardsmen on hand to watch over the fun and make sure the boys had fun in a safe and secure environment, according to Col. Walt Lord, deputy commander of the Pennsylvania Guard’s 28th Infantry Division and Title 32 deputy JTF commander for the jamboree.

The JTF was responsible for emergency services and provided medical support, air and ground medical evacuation and a 60-bed expeditionary hospital while Airmen from the Virginia National Guard’s 200th Weather Flight provided around-the-clock weather forecasting to assist with aviation operations and help ensure the safety of the Scouts, Scout leaders and visitors taking part in the various activities.


Pfc. Brent Wilson of the North Carolina National Guard's 211th Military Police Company directs incoming traffic Aug. 2 at Fort A.P. Hill for the National Boy Scout Jamboree. Wilson is a native of Asheville, N.C. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia Department of Military Affairs)

More photos of the Boy Scout Jamboree are available on the Virginia Guard Flickr page.

According to Lord, the expeditionary hospital turned out to be beneficial when during the first several days of the event temperatures remained in the hundreds, and they were averaging two heat casualties an hour. “That [estimate] included Boy Scout leaders and then Scouts once they got here, our own JTF members and units that were training here on A.P. Hill,” added Lord.

“I think we’ve gotten folks to understand how to prevent the heat casualties, now were starting to see injuries that are typical for camping: bumps and bruises, a few minor fractures, things of that nature.”

Although it was not in its mission statement, one of the JTF’s key tasks was to provide program  support by manning stations at the Merit Badge Midway, an area where scouts could come and test for and earn badges. When a Scout would come to test for a badge, they were often met by a member of the Guard administering the tests in areas of the Soldier’s or Airman’s expertise.


Soldiers from the Virginia National Guard's 29th Infantry Division Band's rock ensemble, Raising Cain, perform at the National Boy Scout Jamboree Aug. 2 at Fort A.P. Hill. (Photo by Cotton Puryear, Virginia Department of Military Affairs)

More photos of the Boy Scout Jamboree are available on the Virginia Guard Flickr page.

Units from the Virginia Guard supported several of the Merit Badge tests throughout the midway. Soldiers from the Petersburg-based 29th Infantry Division Band provided testing at the Music Merit Badge, and Airmen from the Virginia Beach-based 203d REDHORSE Civil Engineer Squadron taught the Plumbing Merit Badge where Scouts learned to cut and thread pipe, solder and conduct repairs on sinks and toilets.

“It has been absolutely packed and standing room only,” said Spc. Jonathon Sublett of the 29th Division Band, one of the counselors for the Music Merit Badge. “We have had about 120 Scouts a day come through here.”

According to Tech Sgt. Aprille Canniff of the 203d REDHORSE, the hands-on nature of the class made the class very popular with the Scouts. “The Jamboree newspaper reported that this was one of the most favorite Merit Badges with the Scouts,” she said.

The Plumbing Merit Badge class takes about two and half hours to complete all the requirements, and Canniff estimated more than 100 Scouts per day were earning the badge.

“We are teaching the Scouts something they can use in real life,” said Senior Airman Daniel Hertzog. “If they get home and have a clogged sink, they will have the knowledge to fix it.”

The 2010 National Scout Jamboree provided a medium for the Soldiers and Airmen of the Guard an opportunity to share their experiences, and show the Boy Scouts of America some of the many ways that Guardsmen and women give back to the community every day, in every state across the country.

“We’ve got over 37,000 examples of the future of our country here,” said Lord. “We’ve got a chance to show them what we do as a military, and especially as National Guardsmen, that’s different than we what we do in Iraq and Afghanistan, what we do to contribute to our communities.”

According to the BSA, since 1937, the National Scout Jamboree has provided unforgettable experiences for more than 650,000 Scouts and adult leaders. More than 2.8 million young people between the ages of 7 and 20 are members of the Boy Scouts of America.

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