Boy Scouts get taste of Army life
October 14, 2011
FORT STEWART, Ga. - "Fall in!" Sergeant First Class Robert Braudis' troops snapped to the position of attention and anticipated the senior non-commissioned officer's next command.
"Left, face!" Sgt. 1st Class Braudis then belted out.
The troops stammered a little, mostly with nervousness, as they quickly tried to remember just how to execute this command they learned but a few minutes ago.
"Forward, march!" The group - members of Boy Scout Troop 859 out of Douglass, Ga. - stepped off into their first day on a U.S. Army installation where 6th Squadron, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 4th Infantry Brigade Combat Team Soldiers showed the young men a day in the life of a Third Infantry Division Soldier.
"I wanted to bring the boys here to show them the sacrifices that the Soldiers make and to show them the Soldier's routine," said Jeffrey Cummings, assistant scout master for Troop 869.
Cummings said he works with a man whose son was killed while serving with the 3rd Inf. Div. in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. He said his choice to bring the Boy Scouts to Fort Stewart was to remember that Fallen Soldier. The scouts first visited Warriors Walk, a living memorial of now 439 Eastern Red Bud trees - each one planted to represent all of the Marne Division Soldiers who paid the ultimate sacrifice. Tree 354 is planted for Sgt. Gene Lamie, a 3rd Squadron, 7th Cavalry Regiment, 2nd Heavy Brigade Combat Team Soldier killed in the line of duty, July 6, 2007.
"This visit was in memory of that sergeant." Cummings said.
After paying tribute to the Fallen Troops, the scouts then got the opportunity to get a real feel for soldiering. Donning Army kevlars and vests, the scouts learned how Soldiers pull more than their own weight on today's battlefield. They also learned about military wheeled vehicles and 3rd Inf. Div. history.
"Their favorite part, I'm sure, was the (Engagement Skills Trainer)," Cummings said, adding that the simulated indoor shooting range was more than Army-sized video game. "I really think they (boy scouts) are getting a good feeling for what the life of a Soldier is all about. This may be the career path they want to choose, and today they certainly got to appreciate what freedom really is about.
Sergeant First Class Braudis said hosting the Boy Scout visit was something he truly liked to do.
"I get to walk away satisfied that I helped to make an impact in the lives of someone else - especially these (scouts) who are in their teenage years. I've been fortunate enough to be able to do other community outreach events like this, especially with the Adopt-a-School Program at Lyman Hall Elementary School. I lived in a lot of different places as a kid, and (hosting events like this) gives me the opportunity to give back to the community and to get to know my new home."
After visiting Fort Stewart and the 3rd Inf. Div., Cummings said he hopes to visit other military installations in the future.
"Scouts and Soldiers share a commonality -- we're both honored to serve our country," he said. "And we're thankful for the opportunity we had with the Soldiers here today."