Story and photo by Spc. Samantha B. Koss
Fort Carson Cub Scouts Pack 264 huddled around a UH-60 Black Hawk helicopter April 12 for a lesson in Army aviation at Butts Army Airfield on Fort Carson.
Imaginations soared as the Cub Scouts took turns in the pilot seat pressing buttons and pulling on the control stick.
“Bang bang, we’re under attack guys, put your seat belts on,” said Hunter Ricky, 8, from the cockpit to his pack brothers in the cargo cabin as they learned how to fasten their seat belts and listened to the importance of cabin safety.
The Cub Scouts’ second-grade students – the Wolf Pack, and third graders – the Bear Pack, explored the aircraft and facility while Reserve Soldiers from 7th Battalion, 158th Aviation Regiment, taught aviation safety, cockpit operations and basic medical evacuation procedures.
“The Cub Scouts’ purpose is to teach the boys about their community and how to serve it,” said Sgt. 1st Class Joseph Betterton, 7th Squadron, 10th Cavalry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division. Betterton is the assistant leader of the Bear Pack.
“Today’s lesson teaches the Scouts about what pilots do and how aviation is part of Army operations,” Joseph Betterton said.
After the lesson, the aviation Soldiers handed out hearing protection and led the Scouts to a safe area to watch two helicopters land.
The children stood 100 yards from the propellers, waving hello to the pilots.
“This outing is a good opportunity for the kids to see a helicopter and learn about the mechanics,” said Melanie Betterton, leader of the Wolf Pack. “And they will earn an arrow point for their involvement.”
Scouts can earn arrow points by participating in field trips after they receive their badges. The second graders already received a wolf badge and the third graders received a bear badge in February, she said.
At the end of the day, each pack member added one more arrow to the collection on his shirt.
Cub Scouts reward the young students with badges and arrows to show participation recognition, which is meant to increase the children’s sense of achievement. This is the philosophy of the Boy Scouts of
America, which the Cub Scouts are a part of, according to Melanie Betterton.
Boys from first to fifth grade are called Cub Scouts and become Boy Scouts in sixth grade.
“We put the kids in Scouts so they can grow up surrounded by good values and to learn how to be good citizens,” said Melanie Betterton, who has two sons, Wesley, 8, a Wolf Pack member, and Russel, 9, a Bear Pack member, in Pack 264.