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Utah State Flag[/caption] ARLINGTON, Va. â€“ The Utah National Guard's 141st Military Intelligence Battalion will deploy to Iraq in a few weeks with 83 soldiers who have earned Eagle Scout badges from the Boy Scouts of America.
photo: These 83 soldiers with the Utah National Guard's 141st Military Intelligence Battalion have earned the rank of Eagle Scout from the Boy Scouts of America. The battalion will deploy to Iraq later this year. U.S. Army photo by Sgt. First Class Scott Faddisâ€œItâ€™s easy being a battalion commander of Eagle Scouts, because you don't have to worry about them,â€Â said Army Lt. Col. Matt Price, the battalion commander and a scout leader for his sons, who include three Eagle Scouts. â€œThey have high values, because they have been taught that as young men. You can trust them.â€ÂThe 286-member unit is in field training at its pre-mobilization site, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Wash. During a recent meeting with civilian employers, Price said, he asked all the Eagle Scouts in the room to stand. Almost half of his unit stood up. So during the next battalion formation, the Eagle Scouts were asked to stay behind for a group photo. That is when they counted off as 83 Eagle Scouts representing all ranks and many military occupational specialties. The unitâ€™s senior noncommissioned officer, Army Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Lofland, is a scout master. â€œWe feel like [part of the] the scout program,â€Â Price said. â€œTo me, the Scout Law is similar to Army values.â€Â Price said he believes Robert Baden Powell, the founder of Boy Scouts, would be proud of his creation. â€œWeâ€™re celebrating 100 years of Boy Scouting this year, and if he could look back and see what is going on, he would be quite happy.â€Â In Iraq, the battalion will conduct human intelligence missions with Iraqi security forces. â€œWe will be directly training and advising them how to do force protection,â€Â Price said. Price said he appreciates the uniqueness of his citizen-soldiers. They are older and college educated, with more real-world experience as teachers and police officers, he noted. â€œI am bringing a group of community leaders with me to Iraq,â€Â he said. Price said his Eagle Scouts also bring additional skills to the Guard. â€œThe Boy Scout program itself teaches young men to be men,â€Â he said. â€œYou teach them values. â€¦ You are teaching them survivability skills. They are used to camping, and used to roughing it.â€Â Eagle Scout is the highest rank attainable in the Boy Scouts. Since its introduction in 1911, the Eagle Scout rank has been earned by more than 2 million young men, according to published reports. The title is held for life. Between the ages of 12 and 18, a Scout will work to achieve Eagle rank by earning 12 required merit badges and nine elective merit badges. He also must demonstrate â€œScout Spiritâ€Â through the Boy Scout oath and law and through community service and leadership, which includes an extensive service project that the Scout plans, organizes, leads and manages. Earning the Eagle Scout's badge was "the only thing I had done in my life that led me to think that I could make a difference; that I could be a leader," Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates told an estimated crowd of 45,000 gathered on 12,000 acres on Fort A.P. Hill, Va., as part of the annual National Scout Jamboree yesterday. "It was the first thing I had done that told me I might be different, because I had worked harder, was more determined, more goal-oriented, more persistent than most others," Gates said. Price said the key to scouting is service to others. â€œTo be able to protect yourself and your family but also look outwards and help others,â€Â he said. â€œThese are different kinds of soldiers. They look beyond themselves. We are bringing a higher quality of citizen-soldier with us who is looking for ways to help other people.â€Â July 29, 2010: By Air Force Lt. Col. Ellen Krenke-National Guard Bureau ***SOT***
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Betty Hoapili trains in a German Leopard II tank at the Grafenwoehr Training Area in Germany as part of the Defense Departmentâ€™s Executive Leadership Development Program. Department of Defense photo by Dave Michael[/caption] FORT BELVOIR, Va. â€“ When Betty Hoapili was selected to attend the Department of Defenseâ€™s Executive Leadership Development Program, she got the chance to walk in a warfighterâ€™s shoes.
The 23-year civil service veteran, a logistics program analysis officer on the Defense Logistics Agencyâ€™s Air Force Customer Support Team in the Operations and Sustainment Division of DLA Logistics Operations, was looking to complement her career path when she responded to the programâ€™s call for nominations through DLAâ€™s Executive Development Program.One of the program requirements was to complete a staff study. Hoapiliâ€™s study focused on the Defense Departmentâ€™s acquisition community and its ability to handle the impending wave of retirements projected in the next five years. â€œI looked at whether or not the [defense] acquisition career field is headed for â€¦ a â€˜brain drainâ€™ and developed possible courses of action,â€Â she said. Hoapili said she prepared herself for the various types of training and temporary duty assignments, which took place one to two weeks each month for 10 months -- a total of 95 days. She also needed to keep up with her regular workload, which she said helped her learn about juggling priorities. At the program orientation, Hoapili said, her instructors told participants they were lucky to have been selected. â€œOne of the things they said to us was, â€˜You 61 people have won the lottery,â€™ [because] there were 600 applicants, she recalled. The participants were split into six teams, including one military member per team, Hoapili said. The first â€œdeploymentâ€Â was to core training at the Southbridge Conference Center in Southbridge, Mass., where Hoapili said team members were challenged physically, mentally and emotionally. Team members had to complete a fitness test â€“ sit-ups, push-ups and pull-ups â€“ to ensure they could safely participate in the programâ€™s demanding activities. â€œ[Early] the next morning â€¦ those who had not passed any aspect of the physical testing had to report to the gym area and were going to focus on additional training,â€Â she said. Although Hoapili and her teammates had passed the physical test, she said she went to the gym anyway to help other program members prepare for the re-test. It was a proud moment when those members passed the test too, Hoapili said. At another deployment, she volunteered for a swimming challenge at the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL School at the Naval Special Warfare Center in Coronado, Calif. The challenge involved swimming in full military gear out to a Navy SEAL positioned in the ocean. â€œIt was very scary because of the significant undertow and the crashing waves. â€¦ There was one point where I thought, â€˜I wonder if Iâ€™m going to drown.â€™ [But] when I made it back to the beach and the rest of my teammates were cheering me, I knew Iâ€™d challenged myself to do my best. Thatâ€™s why I [volunteered],â€Â Hoapili said. One of the programâ€™s key tenets involves showing participants they can do more than theyâ€™d thought, she said. â€œThatâ€™s the starting point for any good leader, â€¦ knowing your capabilities and pushing yourself â€¦ to see what you can do when faced with a tough challenge, â€¦ to go one step beyond what you thought you could do,â€Â she said. â€œHow to adapt to changing circumstances is part of the skill set that this program was teaching me,â€Â Hoapili said. After the swimming challenge, program members were required to drag an inflatable raft up and down the beach and then complete an obstacle course. Despite being driven to physical exhaustion on that California beach, Hoapili said, her biggest challenge was yet to come at the U.S. Army Ranger School, at Fort Benning, Ga. Standing on top of a 75-foot tower and stepping off to rappel down was more of a mental challenge for Hoapili, one she wasnâ€™t sure she could do. â€œThat first step took a lot of faith on my part, [but I had] confidence in my equipment and confidence in the instructors that were there â€¦ assuring me they had my back,â€Â she said. During times when she was less confident in her abilities, Hoapili said, she repeated a mantra to herself. â€œLeaders are tough; leaders are strong; leaders can do these things,â€Â she said. Still, Hoapili credits her accomplishments to her teamâ€™s never-ending support. â€œI was blessed with an amazing team of people. We called ourselves â€˜Team High Five.â€™ â€¦ Those 10 people became a family. â€¦ We were there for each other. It goes back to working on behalf of warfighters; [they] were my warfighters, and I didnâ€™t want let them down, and we refused to leave anyone behind,â€Â Hoapili said. Each year during graduation ceremonies, one class member is awarded special recognition. This year, Hoapili was awarded that distinction and presented the Rosemary E. Howard Leadership Award. She was unaware she would be receiving the peer-nominated award. â€œTo be nominated by your peers is an extreme honor,â€Â Hoapili said. â€œWhen I read the awardâ€™s inscription: â€˜Based on Courage, Determination, Leadership and Professionalism,â€™ I was very humbled,â€Â she said. Hoapili said she took two lessons away from her experience in the program. The first was a reinforcement of a lesson learned from her father. â€œMy dad is a retired Air Force chief master sergeant; he always taught me the backbone of our armed forces is our enlisted corps,â€Â she said. â€œThat was reinforced to me â€¦ because at every deployment, the individuals who were teaching me, â€¦ training me, â€¦ equipping me were all [noncommissioned officers].â€Â The second take-away is the power of teamwork, she said. â€œNot only did my teammates have my back, but trained, amazing warfighters had my back as well. [I value] the whole concept of courage and compassion and competence in terms of strong leadership and whatâ€™s expected of us as future civilian leaders,â€Â she said. Gary Gonthier, a performance-based logistics program manager in DLA Aviationâ€™s Strategic Customer Engagement Branch was also on Hoapiliâ€™s team. â€œBetty was a welcome member of the team. â€¦ [She] is socially gregarious, which manifests itself in the precious attention she paid to both organizational and personal details,â€Â he said. The combination of Hoapiliâ€™s interpersonal style, which included offering praise and other affirmations to participants, set against a backdrop of structure, schedules and order made her a compassionate leader, Gonthier said. â€œShe left no doubt when team members performed well, yet also made clear those instances when things didn't go so well. Betty always placed the concern of others above her own self-interest,â€Â he said. This year marked the first occasion that program participants traveled to Kuwait. Though they spent just 72 hours there, both Hoapili and Gonthier agreed that the program instilled them with a greater appreciation for military service members. Gonthier said the program provides civilian personnel with a hands-on approach to learning what warfighters do on a daily basis. â€œThe â€¦ members from each of the services are truly dedicated to what they do and [are] wholeheartedly supported by the family that follows â€¦ them,â€Â he said. â€œThey are highly trained and ready to do whatever it takes to defend this nation, including giving their lives. We should never forget that.â€Â Hoapili agreed and said itâ€™s an experience civilians rarely, if ever, get. â€œItâ€™s invaluable in enhancing my understanding of what our warfighters go through, the sacrifices they make â€¦ on our behalf, and how important it is for us to do our jobs extremely well so they can do what weâ€™re asking them to do,â€Â she said. Recently, Hoapili found out she was selected for another training opportunity â€“ the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. She credits DLA for giving her the chance to display her leadership qualities in the ELDP. At DLA, developing employeesâ€™ skills and abilities is a high priority, so high it falls into agency Director Navy Vice Adm. Alan Thompsonâ€™s list of top initiatives. â€œIâ€™m anxious now to give back to DLA for having given me this opportunity,â€Â Hoapili said. She added that sheâ€™s a â€œhuge proponentâ€Â of the ELDP program and noted that as the Rosemary E. Howard Award winner, she gets to go to orientation for next yearâ€™s program and speak to incoming participants. â€œIn so many ways, I do wish I was doing it again - not so much the crawling through the mud, â€¦ but itâ€™s a once-in-a-lifetime experience,â€Â she said. â€œI look at the pictures and think, â€˜How did I do that?â€™ But you do it one day at a time and with a whole lot of help from your friends.â€Â Nominations for the DoD Executive Leader Development Program are solicited annually around September through the DLA Executive Development Program. July 28, 2010: By Dianne Ryder- Defense Logistics Agency Strategic Communications Office