Photo Information

CAMP WILLIAM HINDS, RAYMOND, Maine – Air Force Staff Sgt. Michelle Manuel, a structural specialist with 161st Air Refueling Wing, Arizona Air National Guard and native of Phoenix, Arizona, drives a stake into the ground with a sledge hammer in an attempt to level the support beams of a new pavilion being built on a firing range during the joint service Innovative Readiness Training on Camp William Hinds in Raymond, Maine, July 10, 2014. IRT Camp Hinds is a joint service initiative designed to provide service memebers with real-world training opportunities preparing them for their war-time missions while also supporting the needs of America’s underserved communities. (Photo by Sgt. Adwin Esters/Released 140710-M-JL916-069)

Photo by Sgt. Adwin Esters

Reserve Marines, Air National Guard join forces to help Boy Scouts of America

14 Jul 2014 | Sgt. Adwin Esters

Marines with 6th Engineer Support Battalion and the Arizona Air National Guard provide logistical and constructional support during the 2014 Joint Service Innovative Readiness Training program at the Camp William Hinds Boy Scout Camp here July 11, 2014.

The training at Camp Hinds gives 6th ESB and the Arizona Air National Guard the opportunity to complete their mandatory two-week annual training by providing necessary improvements to the camp grounds.

“The boy scouts are really excited to have us here,” said Capt. Cory Bruce, 6th ESB assistant officer-in-charge of IRT operations. “We are glad to be able to do this kind of work.”

The purpose of an IRT is to serve American communities in need while providing service members realistic military training. This also benefits the local Boy Scouts chapter.

“Before the Marines and Air Force arrived, the camp was in a state of disrepair,” said Eric Tarbox, scout executive with the Pine Tree Council. “The electrical, plumbing and carpentry of the structures were falling apart.”

It has been 25 years since the Camp Hinds grounds had been invested in, added Tarbox. The scout troop was overdue for a facility that could keep up with the expanding number of kids wanting to be a part of their historic program, which has grown significantly since its 1927 induction.

The process of expanding Camp Hinds and bringing it up-to-date is a five-year process. It began with several horizontal and vertical construction projects. This included building a new parking lot, access road, and sports field as well as expanding the training center and building three new shooting ranges, one being a 100 meter rifle range.

“The point is to create a very functional, exciting and desirable adventure destination,” said Tarbox. “[The Marines and airmen] are helping us do that.”

Building the ranges turned out to be a logistical obstacle the Marines had to solve due to the heavily wooded and rocky terrain in the area.

“[The Boy Scouts] couldn’t believe that we could have all the ranges completed by the time camp opened this summer,” said Bruce. “But we told them we would get it done.”

The Marines and Air Force worked together to remove approximately 4,500 tons of rock from the sites with several large boulders weighing nearly a ton. Even after being two days behind schedule, they were able to make up the lost time and finish as planned.

“[The Marines and airmen] have been working on different ends of the camp but we are still working together,” said Senior Master Sgt. Larry Naranjo, operations superintendent and a native of Phoenix, Arizona. “By the end of the rotation we will integrate and work together to finish the project.”

The Marines and airmen have been rotating in two-week intervals since May with each rotation finishing a portion of the job along the way. The IRT also employed permanent staff to help oversee the project from the start in May until its completion in August.

“These guys should take pride in their work,” said Tarbox. “They really showed up for us. We are excited for the future of Camp Hinds.”