By Ashley Armstrong - 94th AAMDC Public Affairs Staff WriterSeptember 16, 2009
PHILMONT, N.M. -- An officer from the 94th Army Air and Missile Defense Command sported a different kind of uniform as he lead a troop of Honolulu area Boy Scouts over 58 miles and 11,000 feet of elevation for 12-days surviving solely on the necessities they carried on their backs.
Lt. Col. Derik Von Recum, chief of operations, 94th AAMDC applied his military knowledge and experience as an assistant scout master for Troop 311 out of Kailua as he helped guide them on mountain trails at Philmont Scout Ranch, N.M., July 29- Aug. 10.
"Phimont is like the world series of camping trips for Boy Scouts," said Von Recum. "We had trail food, sleeping bags, tents and we were covering 6-12 miles a day. It's set up to where you move from point A to point B everyday and your final destination of each day is a camp where they have a program for you whether it's rock climbing, black powder shooting, panning for gold and other activities. It was a neat thing and a great experience for all the boys".
The trip was a first for the troop. They had to enter in a lottery in 2007 and were chosen to attend this year. After being notified that they were able to attend, they covered some training to prepare for the extensive journey.
"Part of the reason I joined the troop was to add a bit of discipline and leadership that the military has taught me. My experience was especially helpful when training for the hiking trip." said Von Recum.
He was able to give them tips and guidance on what to carry in their packs and how to ration water and food he explained.
"They provided dehydrated trail food for us to pack. We picked up enough food to supply all 11 Boy Scouts and leaders for four days and we had to ration it," he added.
Von Recum has been involved in Troop 311 for three years but his involvement in Boy Scouts
extends back to his childhood.
"I was a Boy Scout as kid. You start at age 11 then you have to make Eagle Scout at 18, which I did. Then I left it for a while and picked it up again at age 42 as a leader," he said.
He first saw Troop 311 picking up trash at a relay for life. There he met their leader and was invited to a meeting. He has been involved ever since.
"I have a love for it. I wanted to give back. Scouting did so much for me I want to, in return provide my leadership and involvement as a gratitude to the program," he said.
The troop meets every week and conducts an on-island camping trip once a month said Von Recum. It consists of 25 boys from the age of 11 to 18. They hope to continue trips to Philmont Scout Ranch every two years.