Scouts take part in 2-day camporee at Columbus AFB, connect with Team BLAZE

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Keith Holcomb
  • 14th Flying Training Wing Public Affairs

Over 150 members of Scouts, Boy Scouts of America, visited and toured Columbus Air Force Base, Mississippi, to learn about various jobs in the military and the 14th Flying Training Wing’s mission March 29-31.

The scouts arrived March 29 to set up tents near the SAC Lake, where they camped for two nights. The next day, scouts split into troops to visit the 14th Mission Support Group’s military working dog section demonstration team and fire station, the 14th Operations Support Squadron’s air traffic controllers, and the 14th Medical Operations Squadron’s Aerospace and Operational Physiology Flight.

“Our scouts had a great time,” said Jeremy Whitemore, scout executive of the Pushmataha Area Council. “I was a part of the 2014 camp-out on Columbus AFB and I would say 2019’s visit met or exceeded what we experienced last time.”

As the troops woke up March 30, they made breakfast and gathered in the Kaye Auditorium, where Col. Samantha Weeks, 14th Flying Training Wing commander, thanked them for visiting and explained the 14th FTW mission and why the Scouts BSA are important to the community and the base.

Whitemore also noted this was a great event for the first all-female troop to participate in and explained Weeks was a strong role model for every troop in attendance.

Following their time in the Kaye, Lt. Col. John Macasek, 49th fighter Training Squadron commander and cub master for Pack 9 in Caledonia, then ushered the troops to the flight line where they took a group photo and organized into separate groups to begin their tours.

“I’m pretty actively involved with the cub scouts and the boy scouts, so they reached out to me and we worked together to make the event happen,” Macasek said.

Scouts visited the air traffic control tower and the radars, the fire station where they participated in a fireman’s challenge. They also were able to observe a military working dog demonstration, check out each of the airframes flown at Columbus AFB, and even experienced the Barany chair in the AOP flight.

The camporee was an effort by Team BLAZE to connect with adolescents within the community and inspire them to continue to work hard and achieve their future goals.

A few select scouts even wrote essays for a competition to win 30 minutes in a simulator. Many of the winners spent the full time flying and asking questions about being a pilot.

Macasek said the scouts were motivated and excited to learn about the Air Force and jobs that are available not only in the military, but in the civilian world as well. “This was a great way to show them what we do as an Air Force and hopefully had a positive influence on their choice to serve however they can,” Macasek said.

After the tour the troops ate and slept in the tents, while it rained. Whitemore said overall he was happy with the weekend and is thankful for the opportunity to bring the scouts onto base once again.

“We feel the leadership, integrity, and values of the Air Force align well with scouting and we appreciate the opportunity to help expose the troops to what the Air Force has to offer,” Whitemore said.