West Virginia Wing Again Assists with Scouts' National Jamboree
For the fourth time in the past decade, the West Virginia Wing assisted the West Virginia National Guard in its military and interagency support for the Boy Scouts of America’s National Jamboree, held July 19-28 at the Summit Bechtel Family National Scout Reserve near Glen Jean.
“After a delay caused by the pandemic, the National Jamborees are back into full swing, and we are proud to continue our partnership with the Boy Scouts of America and a wide variety of government agencies to make these events some of the most memorable moments of these young Scouts’ lives,” Brig. Gen. Gene Holt of the West Virginia Army National Guard, Joint Task Force-National Scout Jamboree dual status commander, said at the start of the mass gathering.
This year’s event attracted more than 15,000 Scouts, Venturers, Explorers, staff, volunteers, and local community members to over 14,000 acres of forested mountains in southern West Virginia alongside the New River Gorge National Park and Preserve.
“The Jamboree provides a unique opportunity for our military forces — whether serving on active duty, in the Reserves or the National Guard — to work collaboratively together on a common mission,” Holt said. “They get to experience integrating with civilian support agencies in a truly whole-of-government effort.”
More than 500 service members from the U.S. Army, U.S. Army Reserve, Army National Guard, Air National Guard, U.S. Navy, U.S Air Force, and U.S. Coast Guard supported the Jamboree as part of Joint Task Force-National Scout Jamboree. They provided logistics, transportation, security, medical, communications, and public affairs support, as well as military bands, performing units, aircraft, and displays.
The Jamboree allowed for a merging of training and operations, with more than 25 federal, state, and local agencies working closely to increase the synchronization of forces during Defense Support to Civil Authorities missions.
Under Maj. Gen. Bill Crane, the unified commander and the West Virginia National Guard’s adjutant general, around 200 military and civilian support personnel ensured the joint task force was prepared and equipped for all contingencies.
In addition to the West Virginia Wing, the Guard was joined by civil authority agencies including Federal Emergency Management Agency Region 3, the West Virginia Emergency Management Division, State Police, the Department of Highways, Department of Health and Human Services, and the State Emergency Operations Center.
Col. Rodney A. Moore, Civil Air Patrol’s incident commander and the West Virginia Wing’s director of emergency services, described the 10-day mission was “closely coordinated.”
CAP provided aerial photographs as well as full-motion video to help monitor traffic in and out of the Scout reserve. Five West Virginia Wing pilots flew 33.2 hours in support of the mission and were assisted by 14 wing volunteers on the ground.
“It went well. No big issues,” Moore said.
The military presence and effort at the National Jamboree reinforces basic military training and emphasizes mentorship, values-based character building, and compassion for the nation’s youth.
In the Support Our Scouts Act of 2005, Congress mandated Department of Defense support of the National Jamboree because “support for youth organization events simulates the preparation, logistics, and leadership required for defending our national security and preparing for combat."
Typically held every four years, Jamborees are the Boy Scouts of America’s largest national events. More than 1 million Scouts, Scout leaders, and staff have participated in a celebration of Scouting’s commitment to fun, friendship, outdoor adventure, service to others, personal development, diversity, and leadership.
Since the Jamboree moved to West Virgnia in 2013, the Guard and the West Virginia Wing have provided support for four Scout Jamborees — two National Jamborees in 2013 and 2017, the World Jamboree in 2019, and this year’s National Jamboree. COVID-19 canceled the 202s National Jamboree.
Moore said the West Virginia Wing has provided support for all four events.
“We have a really good relationship with the West Virginia National Guard,” he said. “They do a lot of things for us, and we do a lot of things for them.”
Sgt. Zoē Morris
Public Affairs & Mass Communications
West Virginia National Guard
Joint Task Force Headquarters Public Affairs Office
153rd Public Affairs Detail