By Sgt. James HaleJuly 6, 2011
JOINT BASE LEWIS-McCHORD, Wash. " They arrived grinning from ear to ear. After spending the morning looking at Stryker Armored Fighting Vehicles, the anticipation of seeing what equipment an Army engineer battalion used was obvious.
The Boy Scouts of America, Troop 1496 from Bainbridge, Wash., visited Joint Base Lewis-McChord June 24. The purpose of their visit was to show the scouts that the Army does more than just fight while deployed.
The 864th Engineer Battalion hosted the visit by the scouts to tell them the units’ history, show them what the engineers accomplished while deployed in Iraq, and to give them a unique hands on experience with some of the equipment the engineers utilize.
“This gives us an opportunity to show the younger generation, who are growing up in America and already participating in something positive, that the Army is also a positive thing,” said Sgt. 1st Class Raymond G. Washington, the battalion’s current operations noncommissioned officer in charge.
The scouts watched a video about the battalion’s deployment to Iraq before going to the motor pool to see the equipment in person. This gave the scouts an idea of what the equipment was used for and the environment where soldiers had to be able to operate it.
“It was pretty cool to meet all the people,” said Robert Hobbs, a Boy Scout with troop 1496. “I didn’t even know that the Army did construction. When you think Army you think of people clearing buildings in other places.”
The Army and the Boy Scouts are both volunteer organizations, said Sgt. 1st Class Thomas Pearson, the 864th Battalion rear detachment 1st Sgt. The visit can be a great recruiting tool since the scouts are able to see what soldiers do on a day to day basis and have more knowledge about the Army. This visit could be what makes one of the scouts decide to join the military and serve their country.
“We went and visited the Bangor (Naval) Base to tour one of the nuclear submarines,” said Patrol Advisor, Tim Goon, with troop 1496. “The Navy is ok but there’s a lot more room around the Army. I really appreciate what the service members do for the country and I don’t think that there are enough people who actually speak up and show support.”
The scouts had a great time looking inside the submarines but they didn’t get any hands on experience, said Goon. Here they were able to operate some of the equipment in a safe controlled environment and have a lot more fun.
“I thought the Army was always really strict but, that’s not always the case, they can also be pretty casual,” said Johan Griesser, a Boy Scout with troop 1496.
After touring the battalion’s motor pool, the scouts joined the battalion’s close out formation where they watched the Soldiers sound off with their company mottos and received an Army weekend safety briefing from the Battalion Commander, Lieutenant Colonel John W. Henderson.