At The Heart Of An Eagle Scout & Marine

What is an Eagle Scout? What are the qualities that Eagle Scouts seem to possess beyond other youth that come before a board of review?

I have asked that question in all of the boards I have had the privileged to participate. While there are no wrong answers to this question, there are some that are more informative than others. Full disclosure – I am not an Eagle Scout. I have, however, mentored a little over 40 in reaching the rank and have participated in about 350 Eagle Scout boards of review.

Scouts of all stripes show up to the review and, most pass with varying degrees of competence. Once in a while, someone exceptional sits down and, well, kind of blows us away.

Such was the case during the last review I attended, which was held on a Sunday hosted by my previous district. Zoom calls make everything possible and I was asked to attend by some old friends in my Scouting world.

The young man had completed his requirements around May of 2020 – during the height of the Covid-19 shutdowns – after modifying his project due to Covid related factors. What made the project unique was his time crunch was dictated by his having to report to boot camp at the United States Marine Corps Recruiting Depot in San Diego, CA.

As it turned out, he was attending the review via Zoom from his barrack hallway while on liberty at Camp Pendleton, MCB. At 19-years-old, this was his only shot at Eagle Scout.

He first apologized for not being in his Scout uniform, although he was in the uniform of a Private First Class, USMC.

The board went as boards usually do until our final question, “What did Scouts do you to get you ready for the Corps and what qualities do both organizations share?”

After thinking a bit, he said – Trustworthy, Loyal, Obedient, Thrifty (with respect to time), Clean and Revenant are all points made to him as the soul of a Marine.

While our organization is going through tough times, our young Marine/Eagle Scout said the one thing they drilled into him every day was to own a Positive Mental Attitude. If you keep a PMA, you will make it to the end of the day and succeed.

If we emulate and learn from this young man, keeping the Scout Law at the heart of our actions and a Positive Mental Attitude at the forefront of our thoughts, we will get through all the things thrown in our direction. And we will continue to develop fine young people for our communities and our nation.

Yours in Scouting,

Gary Ely
Council Commissioner