Thursday, July 29, 2010

Eagle Scouts Soar in Intel Battalion

These 83 soldiers with the Utah National Guard's 141st Military Intelligence Battalion have earned the rank of Eagle Scout from the Boy Scouts of America. The battalion will deploy to Iraq later this year. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. First Class Scott Faddis
By Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke
National Guard Bureau

ARLINGTON, Va., July 29, 2010 - The Utah National Guard's 141st Military Intelligence Battalion will deploy to Iraq in a few weeks with 83 soldiers who have earned Eagle Scout badges from the Boy Scouts of America.

"It's easy being a battalion commander of Eagle Scouts, because you don't have to worry about them," said Army Lt. Col. Matt Price, the battalion commander and a scout leader for his sons, who include three Eagle Scouts. "They have high values, because they have been taught that as young men. You can trust them."
The 286-member unit is in field training at its pre-mobilization site, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash.
During a recent meeting with civilian employers, Price said, he asked all the Eagle Scouts in the room to stand. Almost half of his unit stood up. So during the next battalion formation, the Eagle Scouts were asked to stay behind for a group photo. That is when they counted off as 83 Eagle Scouts representing all ranks and many military occupational specialties.
The unit's senior noncommissioned officer, Army Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Lofland, is a scout master.
"We feel like [part of the] the scout program," Price said. "To me, the Scout Law is similar to Army values."
Price said he believes Robert Baden Powell, the founder of Boy Scouts, would be proud of his creation. "We're celebrating 100 years of Boy Scouting this year, and if he could look back and see what is going on, he would be quite happy."
In Iraq, the battalion will conduct human intelligence missions with Iraqi security forces. "We will be directly training and advising them how to do force protection," Price said.
Price said he appreciates the uniqueness of his citizen-soldiers. They are older and college educated, with more real-world experience as teachers and police officers, he noted.
"I am bringing a group of community leaders with me to Iraq," he said.
Price said his Eagle Scouts also bring additional skills to the Guard. "The Boy Scout program itself teaches young men to be men," he said. "You teach them values. ... You are teaching them survivability skills. They are used to camping, and used to roughing it."
Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts. Since its introduction in 1911, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by more than 2 million young men, according to published reports. The title is held for life.
Between the ages of 12 and 18, a Scout will work to achieve Eagle rank by earning 12 required merit badges and nine elective merit badges. He also must demonstrate "Scout Spirit" through the Boy Scout oath and law and through community service and leadership, which includes an extensive service project that the Scout plans, organizes, leads and manages.
Earning the Eagle Scout's badge was "the only thing I had done in my life that led me to think that I could make a difference; that I could be a leader," Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told an estimated crowd of 45,000 gathered on 12,000 acres on Fort A.P. Hill, Va., as part of the annual National Scout Jamboree yesterday.
"It was the first thing I had done that told me I might be different, because I had worked harder, was more determined, more goal-oriented, more persistent than most others," Gates said.
Price said the key to scouting is service to others.
"To be able to protect yourself and your family but also look outwards and help others," he said. "These are different kinds of soldiers. They look beyond themselves. We are bringing a higher quality of citizen-soldier with us who is looking for ways to help other people."
Related Sites: Utah National Guard 

a tour of the Chapel Drive School Age Center

Dr. Jill Biden, wife of Vice President Joe Biden, gets a tour of the Chapel Drive School Age Center at Fort Drum, N.Y., from Robin D. Moor, the facility's director, July 28, 2010. The center includes a gymnasium, a technology lab and a homework center, and provides recreational and developmental activities for children of Fort Drum soldiers, such as a summer camp that was in progress during Dr. Biden's visit. DoD photo by John D. Banusiewicz.

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Gates Shares Common Experiences, Vision With Scouts

By Lisa Daniel of American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, July 28, 2010 - Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today shared his personal experiences and passion for Boy Scouting with tens of thousands of Scouts and their families gathered for the 100th anniversary celebration of the Boy Scouts of America.

Click photo for screen-resolution image
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates addresses an audience of more than 45,000 scouts during the Boy Scouts of America 2010 National Scout Jamboree on Fort AP Hill, Va., July 28, 2010. The massive group of boy scouts from all across America came to the 12,000 acre site for 10 days to celebrate the Boy Scouts centennial. DoD photo by Cherie Cullen

(Click photo for screen-resolution image);
high-resolution image available.
"Scouting has been a big part of my life and my family's life," Gates told an estimated crowd of 45,000 gathered on 12,000 acres on Fort A.P. Hill, Va., as part of the annual National Scout Jamboree.
Gates, an Eagle Scout who has served on the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts and is past president of the National Eagle Scout Association, shared his experiences growing up as a Boy Scout, earning scouting's top rank 52 years ago, and being involved in his son's Boy Scout troop. Even after serving eight presidents and years of working with world leaders, the secretary said, his memories of his Scout leaders are just as memorable.
Noting that their lives were "a bit unusual," Gates told of going on a father-son camping trip when he was CIA director. "A hundred yards from our encampment were three, large black vans, a satellite dish, and a number of armed security officers surrounding the campsite," he said. "Now there's a challenge no Scoutmaster could have anticipated."
Gates told the Scouts he was speaking to them "as a leader from one generation talking with the leaders of the next generation," and said he was like most of them when he achieved the rank of Eagle Scout at age 15.
"I wasn't a straight-A student, nor was I a particularly good athlete," he said. "I wasn't really a student leader." When he arrived in Washington, D.C., at age 22 to begin work at the CIA, he said, "I could fit everything I owned into the back seat of my car. I had no connections and I didn't know a soul."
Earning the Eagle Scout's badge was "the only thing I had done in my life that led me to think that I could make a difference; that I could be a leader," he said to applause. "It was the first thing I had done that told me I might be different because I had worked harder, was more determined, more goal-oriented, more persistent than most others."
The secretary told the Scouts some of them will go on to be leaders in industry, the government and the military. But most importantly, he said, scouting has set them on the path to "becoming a man of integrity and decency, a man of moral courage, a man unafraid of hard work, a man of strong character – the kind of person who built this country and made it the greatest democracy and the greatest economic powerhouse in the history of the world.
"A scout is marked for life as an example of what a boy and man can be and should be," he continued. "You are role models."
In the past 100 years, Gates said, there has been no better program for preparing future leaders than the Boy Scouts. "The fate of our nation in the years to come and the future of the world itself depend on the kind of people we modern Americans prove to be," he said.
The secretary acknowledged that much has changed in the 50 years since he was a Boy Scout.
"We live in an America today where the young are increasingly physically unfit and society as a whole languishes in ignoble moral ease," he said. "But not in scouting."
There are too many places in American life today without the Boy Scouting values of self-reliance, self-control, honor, integrity and morality, Gates said. "From Wall Street to Washington to our hometowns," he said, "in all our lives there are people who seek after riches or the many kinds of power without regard to what is right or true or decent.
"I am here today because I believe in the extraordinary power of scouting to be a force for good in a community and in the lives of its boys and young men," he continued. "As I look out at all of you, I see the legacy of scouting: a new generation of worthy leaders. ...With leaders such as you, America will continue to be the beacon of hope and decency and justice for the rest of the world."
Biographies: Robert M. Gates