Forty-six scouts and over a dozen leaders camped over the three days and two nights. The troops enjoyed the hospitality of the Depot personnel and wonderful weather. 1st Lt. Jeffrey Hodges coordinated and planned the activities to support the weekends’ activity. Lt. Hodges camped with the troops and was integral to the smooth operation of the weekend’s activities.
The scouts were taught portions of the Railroading, Fire Safety & Wilderness Survival Merit Badges by employees of the Depot. First the scouts learned how locomotives and trains operate as part of the Railroading Merit Badge class. They were given a hands-on class and tour of Army Locomotive 1881 by Harvey Foster, Locomotive Engineer with ANAD. Young and old took the opportunity to blow the horn and be the “engineer” for a short time. Next, they participated in performing annual pressure and capacity tests with the Depot Fire Department. The captain and firefighters taught how the various trucks and apparatus function.
The scouts got a good understanding of the training and continual work that our first-responders do to be ready at any time. When it came to Wilderness Survival, various techniques for surviving in any situation were taught by Master Sergeant Jerry Laitinen. The sergeant explained simple things that the scouts could do in the field and in any emergency situation to survive. The veteran sergeant taught the simple phrase, “Stay Alert – Stay Alive!!” – to help them understand the key part of survival.
In the afternoon, Depot personnel focused on explaining their mission. Military equipment was brought out to explain what the Depot does to support our men and women in uniform around the world. The equipment included the M113 Armored Personnel Carrier, M88 Recovery Vehicle, M1126 Stryker Armored Fighting Vehicle & the M1 Abrams Main Battle Tank. The scouts were able to learn about the vehicles, how they operate and what kind of work is performed here in Anniston. Additionally, everyone was able to “inspect” and sit in the various operator positions inside the four vehicles. Depot Commander Colonel Tim Sullivan had supper with the troops and took time to have a question-and-answer session with the Scouts later in the evening.
The Scouts had a full day and capped it off with a wonderful evening of camaraderie and fellowship between the two troops and the Depot leadership. The troops prepared their own meals using the patrol method. The various patrols prepared everything from macaroni and cheese, bratwurst, walking tacos, steak and potatoes, to chicken fettuccini. For an evening social after supper, the two troops had a cobbler competition that went very well with no leftovers.
Troop 87 from Roswell is led by Scoutmaster John Klustner. Troop 4009 from Anniston is led by Scoutmaster David Gladd Jr.