August 28, 2005
By Maj. Cotton Puryear
Boy Scouts on the Merit Badge Midway at the Boy Scout Jamboree got the benefits of Virginia Air National Guard’s 203d RED HORSE Squadron experience in meeting the requirements for the plumbing merit badge. The team from the 203d were among the 28 merit badge teams supporting Merit Badge Midway where Scouts can earn or make progress on a wide variety of merit badges during the National Jamboree held at Fort A.P. Hill from July 25 to Aug. 3.
The instruction for the plumbing merit badge consisted of two one-hour blocks, explained Master Sgt. Louis Dafoe. The first block gave Scouts an overview of basic plumbing and also had the Scouts drawing an interior schematic of house plumbing. In the second hour, Scouts got the chance to work hands on soldering a pipe and threading a pipe.
A total of six personnel were on hand to teach the class, and most of them had experience from overseas deployments. Staff Sgt. Antonio Arnold, one of the instructors for the merit badge class, explained that the 203d is used to deploying to the middle of nowhere and setting up water purification and supply to units, as well as building shower units and field latrines.
“We are experts in maintaining the quality of life for the Air Force,” he said. That expertise is what the Airmen of the RED HORSE have shared with the Scouts. The principles of providing water are the same whether in a field environment or in the scenarios presented in the merit badge requirements, Arnold said.
“It has been absolutely awesome,” Arnold said of the experience of working at the Jamboree. “We have been having a great time.”
“It is a lot better than that I was it was going to be,” said Tech. Sgt. Kenneth Jankowski, a heating and air conditioning specialist. “I am not used to being around kids, so I thought it was going to be really hard. The Scouts really want to learn, and that makes it easier. We came out here to help, but we didn’t expect them to be so grateful. The Scouts deserve the positive reputation they have."