by Airman 1st Class Jarrod Grammel
23rd Wing Public Affairs
8/4/2011 - MOODY AIR FORCE BASE, Ga. -- Of the 126 different merit badges Boy Scouts can earn, the aviation merit badge. The aviation merit badge has a long list of requirements and is one of the most difficult to complete.
Moody welcomed 24 Scouts from Troop 454 on base and gave them the opportunity to complete all the requirements to earn the aviation merit badge during an overnight trip July 31 to Aug. 1.
Scouts earned the badge by learning about different aircraft and their uses, as well as engine operations.
"The requirements for this badge can be difficult to learn and complete," said Keith Hawthorne, Troop 454 scoutmaster. "It is difficult to set up and get qualified instructors, but Moody set everything up for us. This badge would usually take about a week, but we are able to finish most of the requirements in two days because of the Airmen's help."
The Boy Scout's visit to Moody included static displays, hands-on activities and numerous hours of classroom instruction.
"On our tour of the base we got to see static displays, the 820th Base Defense Group's weapons simulator, and the flight simulator," said Ethan Rentz, 15, Troop 454 assistant senior patrol leader. "It's been a lot of fun and they have been really nice."
At the end of the two-day trip, Troop 454 had classroom instruction on navigation and then had a chance to apply all they learned in the flight simulators.
"It's excellent to see youth so excited about aviation and to watch them apply what they learned," said Steven Callich, 23rd Operations Support Squadron A-10 simulator instructor pilot. "We gave them some instruction on navigation and let them see the dials and navigation aids up close. It's a whole different thing to see the dials in front of you as opposed to on paper."
The aviation merit badge is one of the original 57 merit badges from 1911, but what the Scouts do to earn it is only a small part of what being a Scout is all about.
"The Scouts are about so much more than just these badges," said Hawthorne. "Boy Scouts teach them three qualities required to succeed: self-confidence, self-reliance and leadership.
"By completing tasks and earning badges, they become more self confident," he added. "They also have to be self-reliant because they are responsible for themselves and their gear."
While the Boy Scouts were at Moody the Airmen offered them more than just glimpses of aircraft technology.
"It is just great for the Scouts to come here and interact with these Airmen," said Hawthorne. "It makes a big impression on them to see professional Airmen with their shirt tucked in and looking neat."
Ethan, whose father is deployed from Moody, enjoyed the chance to visit and hopes other Scouts will think about the Air Force as something more than just a trip they took.
"I hope the visit gives other Scouts a look at the Air Force as a possible career when they grow up," said Ethan. "I plan on joining the Air Force, but a lot of these Scouts don't know what they want to do."
The knowledge and equipment the Airmen provided during this two-day trip gave the Scouts a look into aviation and the Air Force mission.