News: Guard supports national Boy Scout Jamboree
Story by Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke
ARLINGTON, Va., -- More than 600 Army National Guard members from 15 states will support this year's national Boy Scout Jamboree, which will celebrate 100 years of scouting in the United States, at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia.
The annual event will also include several special guests with ties to the National Guard, including NASCAR drivers Dale Earnhardt, Jr., and Jeff Gordon, AMA Super Bike rider Jake Zemke, Indy Car driver Dan Wheldon and several FLW professional fisherman and World Wrestling Entertainment personalities.
"All will be interacting with scouts and representing what the National Guard is all about," said 1st Lt. Benjamin J. Bullington, a program manager for the Army Guard's recruiting office.
Four states, including Alabama, North Carolina, New York and Tennessee, will provide military police for security missions, while infantry troops from the New Jersey and Mississippi Guard will operate as a Quick Reaction Force during the event, which began July 26.
"We think it is going to be an interesting mission to do, considering the Boy Scouts have the same values as the military," said 2nd Lt. Stephen Groene, the officer in charge of New York's 206th and 107th Military Police Companies. "We are looking forward to going down there."
Although Groene finished his Boy Scouting career as an Eagle Scout, he never attended a Jamboree as a boy. He said he looks forward to seeing what he missed.
Aviation units from Kansas, New Jersey, Virginia and West Virginia will provide two UH60 Blackhawks each for various aviation missions during the two-week event. Arkansas will send an additional air crew, while North Dakota and Georgia plan to send an aviation battalion headquarters section.
The only Guard medical personnel will come from Alabama's medical battalion headquarters. Three air ambulance aircraft from Maryland Guard will also join the mission.
On the ceremonial side, two bands from Virginia and Rhode Island will support the festivities and an artillery battery from the Virginia Guard will provide the cannon salute.
More than 44,000 Boy Scouts will visit various service exhibits that will be based in the Armed Forces Adventure Area during the jamboree. "The AFAA is an area allocated to all services in order to provide a venue for them to showcase what their branch does and what they are all about," said Bullington.
The Army Guard's Mobile Event Team assets will be on display in this area, including the NASCAR, Indy car, AMA Motorcycle and Bass Fishing Ranger Boat.
"These displays will be static and provide Scouts and visitors an up-close experience with the National Guard's national racing programs," Bullington said.
The Army Guard will also set up an air-conditioned theater tent, where a video will be show that "showcases the continuity of ideals and beliefs held by both organizations," Bullington said. "There will be a dedicated master of ceremonies in the tent as well greeting and interacting with the scouts, providing an enthusiastic and motivated face for the National Guard."
Promotional items available to the scouts will include a special edition GX Magazine made specifically for the Centennial Jamboree celebration, a commemorative t-shirt and a sew-on patch.
"The promotional items inform Scouts about the Guard and how scouting is very similar to what the Guard does in our communities," Bullington said. "They also provide a keepsake for the scouts to hold onto for years to come."
The Army Guard will showcase the patches that the Boy Scouts traded with them in 2005, the last time the Guard attended the Boy Scout Jamboree.
"These patches, at the time, were posted on a wall that now contains highly sought after commemorative patches from that year's jamboree," Bullington said. "This year, the Guard has constructed a bigger wall that we will again post patches that the Boy Scouts give us.
"We look for this to be a hot focal point for scouts at the Armed Forces Adventure Area."