Story and photo by 2nd Lt. Jake Oberlechner
561st Engineer Company,84th Eng. Battalion, 130th Eng. Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command
POHAKULOA TRAINING AREA, Hawaii — The 561st Engineer Company, 84th Eng. Bn., 130th Eng. Bde., 8th Theater Sustainment Command, hosted the local Boy Scouts of America’s Order of the Arrow chapter, here, on the island of Hawaii, recently for a demonstration of PTA construction engineering.
The Order of the Arrow’s visit was part of the group’s annual three-day conclave involving approximately 30 Boy Scouts and volunteers from three chapters, located on the islands of Oahu, Hawaii, Maui and Kauai, who came, here, for fellowship and training.
“The conclave allows Boy Scouts from ages 14 to 18 the chance to get away from home and … get a meaningful experience, as well as the ability to expand and grow,” said Edwin Chung, Scouts advisor.
The company gathered some of its best operators to teach the Scouts about construction through the use of five different pieces of construction equipment.
Various equipment was on display at the site: a CS-433C motorized roller, an M916 truck-tractor with an M870 40-ton trailer, a CAT 120M grader, a 580 SPR M backhoe loader and a D7 dozer. Equipment operators provided a brief description and demonstration for each piece of equipment, explaining the purpose, function and importance of conducting daily equipment maintenance.
Boy Scouts operated the vehicles with assistance from Soldiers in the unit.
Specialists Virgilio Data and Robert Deathrage, both with the 561st Eng. Co., added to the demonstration by supervising the Scouts as they operated the grader and dozer. In addition, the Scouts were also able to see a Stryker combat vehicle on display, supported by other elements conducting training, here, from the 25th Infantry Division.
“Not only is the display a great opportunity to give back to the community, but also a chance for the leadership to see how well our operators know their equipment,” said 2nd Lt. Charles Payne, Maintenance Platoon leader, 561st Eng. Co.
Logan Matsuoka, a 14-year-old Scout, looked at the demonstration as valuable information for his future.
“I plan to join the Army engineers and follow in my father’s footsteps in construction,” said Matsuoka.
Volunteers act as mentors for the Boy Scouts, who hold various leadership positions within their sections. For example, 18-year-old section chief Andrew Cowland is a recent high school graduate who planned and coordinated the conclave.
Respect and admiration underscored the learning experience for both the Scouts and engineers. Before departing, the Scouts warmly thanked Soldiers for their time and service. Some even went so far as to obtain autographs from the Soldiers.