By Staff Sgt. Manda WaltersAugust 3, 2016
AURORA, Colo. - Colorado National Guard Army Aviation Support Facility Commander Maj. Troy Brown had a vision about connecting Colorado youth to the world of aviation in support of Maj. Gen. Michael Edwards, The Adjutant General of Colorado and the Colorado Army National Guard's Connect Colorado initiative.
"The event is now part of our battle rhythm," said Brown. "But it is also demonstrating the integral role the National Guard plays in the community and nation."
More than 200 youth from Boy Scouts of America and cadets from Civil Air Patrol clammered through UH-60's and CH-47 Chinooks at the hangar at Buckley Air Force Base. Youth learned about the science of flight, aviation careers, flight safety, and orientation to the Chinook, Black Hawk, Lakota, a fixed-wing aircraft, and Unmanned Aerial Vehicle.
Participants rotated between classrooms, demonstrations, and the hangar, then took flight on either a CH-47 Chinook or UH-60 Black Hawk over the Denver Metro area.
"This experience helps a child see what they want to do in life," said Heather Newcomb, a cub scout parent from Pack 52, based in Aurora. "The Boy Scouts and military work hand-in-hand."
Brown, who also serves as a scoutmaster for the Boy Scout Aviation Merit Badge, agrees.
"The National Guard and Boy Scouts share values, community, and a commitment to service," said Brown.
Brown feels good about his vision becoming a reality and seeing the smiles on the faces of scouts.
"It's a good positive feeling to make a small difference that can reinforce someone's character to continue in service for the state and community," said Brown.
The logistics of planning this event was no small task. Brown relied on existing relationships with Buckley Air Force Base, fire department staff at Boulder, Colorado Springs, and Longmont, Civil Air Patrol and other volunteers to coordinate transportation, timing, and sequence of events suggested in the Boy Scouts of America Merit Badge Workbook.
Brown's goal is to reach more than 1,000 scouts annually with this experience and has already scheduled the next event for Oct. 29.