News>Feature - Team Shaw, Cub Scouts work together to inspire boys
1st Lt. Taylor Tally, 55th Fighter Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon wingman and scheduler, tells Cub Scout Pack 320 about being a pilot in an F-16 during a tour of the flight line at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Oct. 16, 2012. The Cub Scouts saw a F-16 with the jet engine taken out of it, an F-16 cockpit, how the gun bay was emptied, and a fully functional aircraft. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Krystal M. Jeffers/Released))
Cub Scout Pack 320 tours the flight line at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Oct. 16, 2012. They plan to visit other organizations on base like the 20th Civil Engineer Squadron and the fire department. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Krystal M. Jeffers/Released)
Tech. Sgt. Caleb Nicholas, currently assigned to 20th Maintenance Operation Squadron and the Cub Scout tigers den leader, shows Cub Scout Pack 320 the travel pod of Lt. Col. Christopher Claus, 55th Fighter Squadron commander, during a tour of the flight line at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Oct. 16, 2012. Travel pods are attached to F-16 Fighting Falcons and they hold maintenance equipment and the gear of the pilots for long trips.(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Krystal M. Jeffers/Released)
Master Sgt. Emil Wodika, 20th Component Maintenance Squadron resource advisor and cub master of Cub Scout Pack 320, informs members of Pack 320 about the F-16 Fighting Falcon during a tour of the flight line at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Oct. 16, 2012. Cub Scouts are open to any boy in 1st grade through 5th grade or are seven to 10 years old. (U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Krystal M. Jeffers/Released)
1st Lt. Taylor Tally, 55th Fighter Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon wingman and scheduler, tells Cub Scout Pack 320 about being a pilot in an F-16 during a tour of the flight line at Shaw Air Force Base, S.C., Oct. 16, 2012. Cub Scouts are boys in between the ages seven and 10 years old or are in 1st through 5th grade. Boy between 11 to 17 years old can join Boy Scouts.(U.S. Air Force photo by Airman 1st Class Krystal M. Jeffers/Released)
by Airman 1st Class Krystal M. Jeffers
20th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
10/23/2012 - SHAW AIR FORCE BASE, S.C -- Team Shaw, Cub Scouts work together to inspire boysAn Airmen waited next to a big hanger full of fighter jets as a large gaggle of young boys gathered behind the gate in front of him.
The boys' leader, their cub master, herded them pass the gate and to the waiting Airmen who introduced himself as one of the F-16 pilots. He then led the cub scouts into the hanger, bringing them up-close and personal with the aircraft and showed them the inside of the cockpit.
Cub Scouts Pack 320 had the opportunity to toured the flight line here, Oct. 16, and finally be up close to the loud jets they frequently hear.
"The purpose of the tour was to broaden their understanding about what happens out there on the flight line," said Master Sgt. Emil Wodika, 20th Component Maintenance Squadron resource advisor and cub master of Cub Scout Pack 320.
"It gives them a chance to get up close and personal with fighter squadron personnel as well as the aircraft and it was a good opportunity for them to see the operational side of a fighter squadron and the maintenance squadron," said 1st Lt. Taylor Tally, 55th Fighter Squadron F-16 Fighting Falcon pilot.
Tally volunteered during the tour to answer the boys' questions about the F-16s and said, "I always wanted to fly ever since I was the same age as those cub scouts so I went out there to inspire a few of those kids. It was fun to take the kids out and just let them see what I love to do every day. I had a great time."
Tally showed the boys the inside of the cockpit and how the pilots flew the planes. He showed them planes having maintenance done and then he took them to the flight line to show them fully functional F-16s.
"By Tally answering their questions, we are able to expand their imagination and answer questions that otherwise may never get answered," Wodika added, "I wanted them to see the whole perspective including from the maintenance perspective. They got to see a F-16 with the jet engine taken out of it, look into a cock pit, how the gun bay was emptied, and then they saw a fully functional aircraft out on the flight line. They were able to speak to maintainers that work on the planes each day and they were able to talk to the pilots who fly the planes each day."
This was the fourth year the cub scouts toured the flight line and they are scheduled to visit other organizations on base to help them better understand their parents' job.
"We will get an opportunity to get to talk to 20th Civil Engineer Squadron personnel and see their bulldozers; tour the fire department; and get a presentation from Explosive Ordinance Disposal technicians," said the cub master. "(We'll go) where ever we can get the boys in safely so they can see what their parents actually do and support here at Shaw."
Pack 320 does other things on base including service projects. In November, they do Scouting for Food, a fundraiser, to gather donations for an outreach program, called Operation True Giving, which Shaw's Chapel organizes. They also go to military camp at Lake Wateree in May to clean up and beautify the lake for the summer months.
"Cub scouts is important because we are molding young men into productive members of society with good values and character through the values of scouting, character building, and promoting mental and physical fitness," said Wodika. "It helps them understand traditions in America like caring for the U.S. flag, understanding how our government is structured, and what democracy means. It also helps the boys build friendships with other boys with the same values which make them less likely to go looking for trouble."
Those are not the only benefits cub scouts offer families. Some children in military families have a hard time adjusting to their parents being gone for months on deployment and cub scouts can help them.
"A military family has a more difficult time than a regular civilian family because the parents deploy," said Tally. "Cub Scouts is a great way to bring stability into military kids' lives through their friends in the cub scouts as well as the great mentors the cub scouts provide."
Cub Scouts are open to any young boy in 1st grade through 5th grade or are six to 10 years old. Young men between the ages of 11 and 17 or are 10 years old and have earned the Cub Scouting Arrow of Light award may join Boy Scouts.
"I was a cub scout and I think I learned a lot as a cub scout," said Wodika. "I wanted my son to have that opportunity and every one of the boys in the pack along with anyone on base who wants to join the pack. I want all of these young men to have the opportunity to explore cub scouting, have fun and learn interesting things they may not otherwise learn."
People interested in volunteering or signing up their child either Cub Scout Pack 320 or Boy Scout Troop 342 can contact Wodika at (803)512-0921. Adults can volunteer even if they don't have a child with the pack or troop.
"It is never too late to join scouting," Wodika said.