06/24/09 — Chopper delights Scouts

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Chopper delights Scouts

By Laura Collins
Published in News on June 24, 2009 1:46 PM

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Boy Scouts Austin Spruill, left, Logan Child, center, Tim Rando and Zachary Stone, right, get an up close and personal look at a Marine Corps AH64-Huey.

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Lt. Col. Chris Pinckney, commanding officer of Marine Helicopter Training Squadron 302, Marine Corps Air Station New River, left, and Staff Sgt. Jonathan Flick talk to Scouts at Camp Tuscarora about their experiences flying helicopters.

Boy Scouts at Camp Tuscarora got a big surprise Tuesday afternoon.

Members of the Marine Corps Air Station New River arrived in a CH-53 Super Stallion helicopter at the camp. The helicopter is the biggest helicopter in U.S. military inventory.

Austin Crowder and Lee West, both 13, said the surprise landing was "awesome."

"It looks like in the movies," Crowder said.

"I was watching it come down and was like, 'Now that is a big plane.' Usually when you see them in the air, they look like big toys up there." West said. "We were in those woods over there and it would blow you around a little bit. It was just incredible watching it come down."

The Scouts also had the opportunity to tour the helicopter and ask questions. Staff Sgt. Jonathan Flick told the boys the helicopter was able to fly at about 170 miles per hour and carry 36,000 pounds, the equivalent of about four American automobiles. Flick said the event was a good educational experience for the Boy Scouts.

"As Boy Scouts they're being groomed to be the future leaders of America and for a lot of these young men the next step will be the U.S. military," he said. "This is a good way for them to be exposed to the U.S. military, to the Marine Corps and what we do and what we have to offer."

This week is the first of five one-week summer camps at Camp Tuscarora. Mark Metzler, program director at the camp, said while at the camp Boy Scouts do programs, classes and activities throughout the day. They have the opportunity to earn up to seven badges while at the camp.

"They do a little bit of everything out here," he said. "Some of our big events we have going on out here are our BMX track, our skate park and a large water slide."

There are about 150 Boy Scouts that attend every week. The camp is still taking Scouts ages 11-17 on the third and fourth weeks and are accepting 10-year-olds on the fifth week, from July 19-25.

"The Scouts earn merit badges and work on advancement while here, but they also get the opportunity to fellowship with Scout friends from all four counties," he said. "It's a good opportunity for them to come out, have a good time and learn some stuff while they're out here."

For more information about the camp, call 734-1714.