Military service members from all five branches of the United States military and Department of Defense employees alike are some of the thousands who swarmed to Fort A.P. Hill, Va., as part of Joint Task Force National Scout Jamboree for the Boy Scouts of America 2010 National Scout Jamboree.
A Soldier out of Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., with the Joint Task Force-National Scout Jamboree helps a boy scout make a rope out of twine while operating the pioneering merit badge booth at the Boy Scouts of America 2010 National Boy Scout Jamboree held at Fort A.P. Hill, Va., July 26 through Aug. 4, 2010. The JTF's goal is to provide professional military support and a safe and secure environment for scouts and visitors during the event. The Department of Defense's presence and effort at the NSJ emphasizes the commitment to the nation's youth.
| ||The JTF supports the Jamboree in a variety of ways -- from providing jamboree security and medical assistance to setting up, and manning, merit badge booths.|
"It was actually sponsored by the engineer school at Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., for us to come out here and work a few merit badges," said Mark Dean, a Department of Defense videographer and producer from Fort Leonard Wood and an Eagle Scout, working at the pioneering merit badge booth. "Engineers typically provide the support for the pioneering merit badge and the drafting merit badge."
There are quite a few tasks scouts must master in order to earn their pioneering merit badge, Dean explained, including how to make a rope from different materials, knot tying, lashing things together, block and tackle methods and erecting a double-A tressel bridge.
"The military still uses certain types of hasty bridges for really quick work," Dean said. "That's one reason why the engineers are supporting this. It's actually an Army skill."
The last task necessary to earn a pioneering merit badge is for the scouts to cross their own bridge, Dean said.
"They're building their own confidence," he explained. "They have to do their knots right to be able to support their own weight."
On top of the excitement generated by the military services working together with boy scouts, the jamboree also provides the Department of Defense with a chance to provide service members and civilians with valuable training.
"The Army uses this as a training exercise for the Soldiers and even us civilians," Dean said. "We learn a lot. It's a huge, logistical exercise for the Department of Defense."
On a whole, said Dean, this is a good experience for everyone involved.
"I can see how this is very valuable to both the military and the scouts," he said. “Both sides benefit and work together really well."