USNS Comfort Hosts Boy Scouts During Baltimore Navy Week

More than five hundred Boy Scouts and parents arrived aboard the USNS Comfort (T-AH 20) Aug. 30 for a tour of the hospital ship during Baltimore Navy Week 2010.

The Boy Scouts of America are celebrating their 100th anniversary this year and welcomed the opportunity to learn about the Comfort’s mission and abilities.

“Both organizations promote strong character and leadership,” said Scout Master Chip Galloway, of Troop 944 from Ellicott City, Md. “Touring this ship gives our boys a sense of what their Navy is doing on a day to day basis.”

During a quarterdeck address and ceremony, Rear Adm. Scott A. Weikert, deputy commander, 1st Naval Construction Division, addressed the Scouts directly and highlighted the link between Boy Scouts and the Navy.

“The Boy Scout oath of honor, duty, courage jumps out at me because it so closely parallels the Navy core values of honor, courage and commitment,” said Weikert. “To each of the scouts here today, I hope you realize how unique and special you are in today’s society. You have chosen a path filled with learning that others can only dream about.”

Following Weikert’s speech, Ethan Draddy, chief executive officer and scout executive of the Boy Scouts, also spoke to the Scouts and Comfort’s crew.

“I can’t think of a finer group of men and women to be with than the Sailors of the U.S. Navy,” said Draddy. “I want our Boy Scouts to grow up and be just like you. We need you to be ambassadors for scouting. Congratulations on a great Navy Week.”

After his speech, Draddy then awarded the Boy Scouts of America’s 100th anniversary sterling silver dollar commemorative coins to Capt. David K. Weiss, Comfort’s commanding officer; Weikert; and retired Navy Vice Adm. James A. Sagerholm, of Timonium, Md.

Following lunch, the Boy Scouts went below deck to view Comfort’s floating 1,000 bed medical capabilities and operating rooms.

“The tour was fun, and I learned a lot,” said Boy Scout Peter Lay, from Columbia, Md. “I think it’s great that people are willing to serve in the Navy to protect us from people who can harm us.”

Baltimore Navy Week 2010 is one of 20 Navy Weeks planned across America this year. Navy Weeks show Americans the investment they have made in their Navy and increase awareness in cities that do not have a significant Navy presence.

For more news from Navy Office of Community Outreach, visit www.navy.mil/local/navco/.

Story by:  Mass Communication Specialist 1st Class Pat Migliaccio, Navy Office of Community Outreach Public Affairs

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