CAMP FOSTER, Japan (1/17/2013) - The path to reach adulthood can
be an arduous, grueling battle or a mundane, gradual transition.
Somewhere between those two extremes lies a route that, if chosen,
propels young men toward a life of leadership and honor – the life
of a Boy Scout.
Gabriel Vasquez recites the Boy Scout oath with members of his troop
during the Eagle Scout Court of Honor ceremony Jan. 12, 2013 at the
Butler Officers' Club on Camp Foster, Japan. Photo by USMC Cpl.
The Boy Scouts of America's Japan District, Far East
Council, recently lauded the accomplishments of one of their
young members, bestowing on him the highest rank attainable
in the organization Jan. 12 during a ceremony in front of
family, friends and fellow scouts at the Butler Officers'
Club on Camp Foster.
Gabriel Vasquez, a Boy Scout
with Troop 112 and Lester Middle School student, earned the
rank of Eagle Scout for his years of service and work on
In his five years with the Boy Scouts,
Vasquez has held various leadership billets, won multiple
awards, and earned more than 35 merit badges.
scouts to be considered for promotion to the rank of Eagle
Scout, they must undertake a project that selflessly
benefits their local community. Vasquez' project, executed
July 29, was the renovation of the Tomari International
Cemetery in Naha, first established by U.S. Commodore
Matthew Perry in 1853 to bury crew members who fell ill
during his voyage across the Pacific to Japan.
Vasquez organized the service project and with the help of
nearly 50 volunteers, consisting of Troop 112 and American
Legion Post 28 members, and sailors, airmen and Marines, cut
overgrown grass, repaired a storage shed, and repainted
veterans' memorials at the cemetery.
By the end of
the day, the group's efforts drastically improved the
cemetery's appearance, and Vasquez' devotion to helping his
community had advanced him on his path to the rank of Eagle
“The Boy Scouts open young men's eyes to new
opportunities and helps them hone leadership and life skills
that will stay with them forever, acting as a stepping stone
into adulthood,” said Vasquez. “I am the person I am today
because of scouting.”
Recent Boy Scouts of America
statistics indicate that only three out of every 100 Boy
Scouts become Eagle Scouts.
Many scouts choose to
enter the military later in life, continuing to live by the
parallel values of service and aiding others. The Marine
Corps recognizes the value of scouting experience and
promotes Eagle Scouts to the rank of private first class
upon completion of recruit training. Vasquez is now one of
the select few eligible for the privilege.
Gabriel apart from the rest? I believe it's his clarity of
understanding and knowing himself and what he stands for,”
said M. Marti, vice principal of Lester Middle School. “Most
young people spend their childhood and early adult years
figuring out who they are. Gabriel doesn't have to. He
possesses an uncanny ability to see beyond himself to the
needs of others.”
As Vasquez lit the ceremonial
candles and received his Eagle Scout medal, he solidified
his attributes as a young man able to lead and inspire those
around him. The past five years have prepared him to step
into adulthood to grow further, both as a leader and as an
By USMC Cpl. Jonathan Wright
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