CAMP H. M. SMITH, Hawaii --
Every Eagle Scout is taught to aim high, to succeed. But the journey they undertake to become an Eagle Scout has another lesson. They earn their medals by undertaking numerous challenges, one of them being community service. It is through helping their community they learn the true calling of an Eagle Scout – to serve.
In order to inspire the more than 200 Boy Scouts in Hawaii who earned the Rank of Eagle Scout this school year, officials with the Aloha Council reached out to Hawaii-based service members who earned the rank of Eagle Scout. Six service members answered.
Navy Cmdr. Michael Ballou, Coast Guard Petty Officer 3rd Class Ronald J. Williams, Air Force Staff Sgt. Jeremiah Turpin, Army Maj. John Crews, Hawaii Air National Guard Col. Michael B. Compton and Col. Walter R. Watson, U.S. Marine Corps Forces, Pacific’s Aviation Logistics Division officer, attended the 57th Annual Eagle Scout Recognition Banquet April 23 at the Hawaii Prince Hotel–Waikiki, Hawaii.
“Tonight’s theme, ‘is a call to service,’” said retired Lt. Gen. Hank Stackpole, master of ceremonies and former MarForPac commander. “We wanted to pass it on to the scouts. We invited service members from all the services to show the scouts people who are all Eagles and went further to answer the call.”
During the event, numerous Eagle Scouts who distinguished themselves as citizens and Boy Scouts of America spoke with the new Eagle Scouts about the rare accomplishment they have fulfilled and the lessons of self resilience, teamwork and citizenship they learned and are encouraged to practice throughout their lives, skills that have aided many Eagle Scouts who serve in the armed forces today.
“My experiences as an Eagle Scout gave me numerous practical skills that have served me as a Marine as well as values that the Marine Corps holds in great regard,” said Watson, who earned his Eagle Scout rank in 1973. “I remember when I was in boot camp my drill instructor gave me two matches and told me to make a fire. So I did. [He] asked for his book of matches and saw that I hadn’t used any. He asked me, ‘private didn’t use a match?’ I told him, ‘no I’m an Eagle Scout, sir.’ The lessons I learned as a young man has helped me throughout my career.
“It’s an honor to have been invited and have an opportunity to represent the Boy Scouts and the U.S. Marine Corps.”
Theses service members’ contribution to society throughout the years has extended farther than the military.
“Out of the six [service members], five of them are still actively involved in the Boy Scouts,” said Stackpole, a Distinguished Eagle Scout. “They’ve continued to teach the lessons Boy Scouts have taught for the last 100 years. Citizenship, treating others with dignity [to name a few] and they answered the call. They stepped up to do the duty.
“We have a record number of Eagle Scouts this year and having these men stand here as examples for them to emulate has absolutely helped make this a fantastic night,” Stackpole said in regards to the service member’s participation.
Service members interested in volunteering with the Boy Scouts can call the Oahu BSA Headquarters at (808) 595-6366.