SAVANNAH, Ga. – When former Eagle Scout Spc. Mark Garvin of the 3rd Squadron, 17th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Combat Avatiaion Brigade, stepped into the Calvary Day School of Savannah, Ga., cafeteria for the Boy Scouts of America, Tidelands District, awards banquet, a powerful memory resurfaced in his mind.
“I remember myself being that nine, 10, 11-year old Scout and going ‘Wow – being in the military looks so cool, they’re so crisp and so clean,” said Garvin, a crew chief in Troop D, 3/17. “It’s great to be able to, almost 15 years later, take a step back and say, ‘I’m that guy that I looked up to now.’”
Garvin joined five other crisp, clean Lighthorse soldiers as a color guard detachment for the Tidelands District awards banquet, Dec. 1 at the Calvary Baptist Church in Savannah.
The volunteer Scout leaders from across the Coastal Empire honored one another for their efforts in continuing an American tradition that goes back more than 100 years. According to statistics from the Boy Scouts of America, more than 35 percent of United States Military Academy at West Point cadets were scouts in their youth.
The color guard joined the district members for a hot holiday meal prepared by the Troop leaders. After the meal, Savannah Mayor Otis S. Johnson reminisced about his formative time in a Savannah Scout chapter during the 1950s.
“I was always grateful for those experiences,” said Johnson of his scouting activities. “I can tell you, young men, you will never forget, because it becomes a part of your life.”
The banquet continued with door prizes before the presentation of district awards. In addition to honoring its own, the district thanked the color guard detachment with certificates of appreciation.
When the ceremony ended, the detachment retired the colors. Scouts young and old saluted the flag of the country they serve.
Jon Hiott, assistant district commissioner, said it is this service, exemplified in the 3rd CAB’s presence at the banquet, which is central to the Scout mission.
“One of the aims in scouting is citizenship,” said Hiott. “Of course part of that is respect for the national colors, and if the unit leaders see that from the national level, from the color guard, from the military, it helps instill everything [the soldiers] constantly do.”
Garvin said he knows firsthand the importance of the color guard’s presence at the ceremony.
“A lot of the discipline, the drill you go through as a Scout, really prepares you for a life in the military,” Garvin said. “The respect that they earn for the colors carries over into their adult life. It’s not something they just put in their youth and then put in a basket and never use again.”