Reserve Airmen recently arrived here to begin work on a 10,600 acre National Scout Jamboree site as part of Joint Task Force Summit.
More than 20 civil engineers from the 477th Civil Engineer Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson, Alaska, began clearing trees and installing silt fences on the site.
The site will also serve as the location for a summer camp, high-adventure base, and leadership training center in addition to the permanent home of the National Boy Scout Jamboree when construction is complete in 2013.
This project, which was made possible by a $50 million donation from the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation to the Boy Scouts, not only gives Reservists a chance to give back to the community, but it also provides valuable training.
“This annual tour enabled CE troops from other career fields — electricians, carpenters, engineers — to become qualified on heavy equipment use,” said Senior Master Sgt. Brede Emtman, the 477th CES engineering superintendent. “It also enables us to give back to the youth of this country.”
Once the joint project is complete, more than 500 service members from the Air Force, Army, Navy and Marine Corps will have helped, said Army Capt. Leonard Nida, the JTF Summit officer in charge.
All but two of the Reserve Airmen are traditional Reservists, meaning they have full-time civilian employment and train one weekend a month and two weeks a year with the Reserve.
“My employer has been awesome and super supportive of my work with the Reserves,” Sergeant Emtman said, who works is a service operations supervisor with Siemens in Anchorage, Alaska.
The 477th CES Airmen take advantage of the annual tour requirement to train together and build unit cohesion.
“In 2009, our squadron deployed to Iraq for six months,” Sergeant Emtman said. “That deployment and our yearly annual tours ensure that our folks maintain currency and bring us together as a unit.”
The West Virginia site was chosen from 80 proposals in 28 states during a nearly 19-month-long process, officials said. The location borders more than 70,000 acres of National Park Service property, which will give the Boy Scouts more trails to hike, more rocks to climb and more whitewater to paddle.
“We’ll be bringing thousands of young people to West Virginia to have their lives changed forever by these wonderful mountains and these wonderful people,” said Boy Scouts of America Chief Scout Executive Robert Mazzuca.
by Capt. Ashley Conner
477th Fighter Group Public Affairs