Scout uniforms aren’t the only uniforms you’ll see at Jamboree this year. The United States armed forces historically have had a presence at large Scouting events, and this year is no different, according to Lt. Col. Chris Graves, the military ceremonies liaison with the Jamboree.
All armed forces branches are featured throughout the Jamboree with displays, demonstrations and interactive activities for Scouts as part of Joint Task Force Exhibit.
Every day at the Jamboree will feature at least one military display, including a military band or drill team performance and some kind of aerial demonstration, Graves said. This will start on Thursday, when a West Virginia Air National Guard C-130 Hercules will fly over the Summit at noon.
The U.S. Coast Guard will be featured at noon Friday with a helicopter water rescue simulation in Goodrich Lake, off Twelve Points Plaza. A Coast Guard rescue swimmer will jump from an MH-65 Dolphin helicopter and demonstrate rescue techniques.
After the rescue, the helicopter will fly to Garden Ground Mountain, where Scouts will have the opportunity to explore the helicopter and talk to the crew and its Eagle Scout pilot.
An 8th Air Force B-52 Stratofortress will fly past the Summit at noon Saturday. The Marine Corps Drill Team will have a demonstration at Twelve Points Plaza at 1 p.m. Sunday.
At noon on Monday, a West Virginia Army Guard engineering unit will be inserted into Goodrich Lake via UH-60 Blackhawk and will conduct a mission.
A Navy P-3 Orion patrol aircraft will fly by from Naval Air Station Patuxent River at noon on Tuesday, followed by a helicopter flyby at noon on Wednesday, July 26, and wrapping up with a C-17 Globemaster III flyby from the 167th Air Wing at noon on Thursday, July 27.
In addition, the military areas around the Jamboree will host countless events. In Freedom Field and beyond, military pavilions will offer places for Scouts talk to members of the military and pick up goodies, as well as to consider if they have what it takes to be a member of the armed forces.
“Scouting and the armed forces share a lot of the same values and similar training,” said U.S. Army Maj. Mary Ricks. “The military is a way to continue that adventure.”
Most of the military equipment and activities are along Freedom Trail and Freedom Field. These include tanks, power boats, UH-60 Blackhawk helicopters, special forces team demonstrations and much more. There are even activities to do alongside members of the military like sinking ship simulators, special forces leadership, and naval navigation to find the USS Boy Scouts!
For those interested in patches, the 19th Special Forces Group has a Special Forces Leadership Experience, where Scouts can earn an eight-piece patch set of special forces insignia by completing the 20-station course. Don’t miss a chance to earn all four exclusive Navy patches by stopping by the Navy Virtual Reality Experience in Freedom Field.
In addition to active-duty military personnel, the West Virginia National Guard is playing a prominent role in Jamboree operations. Around 600 guardsmen will support all other military units, including the military bands, and will be supporting the volunteer security and medical operations staff. Sgt. Zoe Morris of the West Virginia National Guard and the Jamboree Joint Task Force said that this is an invaluable experience working with high level command and also practice for representing the U.S. military during the 2019 World Scout Jamboree.
Morris said that more than 1,400 military personnel will be participating in the Jamboree this year. When you see them, thank members of the military for their service — both to our country and to the Jamboree.