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Deaths at Jamboree

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Yes, we teach our boys to "look overhead first for something that might fall on you," as in a tree limb, etc. My guess, and this is merely a guess, is that perhaps they tried to squeeze in a circus tent in an area they thought would be large enough, or maybe they were all inside trying to erect the tent and didn't realize the center pole extended as far as it did.

I hope they find a subcamp for those scouts, if they are staying, to integrate them back into the event and not keep them in barracks for the duration.

I know our SMs have not yet told our boys about the deaths (they are on the opposite side of subcamp 7), however I'm sure word will quickly spread. Anyone have any thoughts on the mood/morale of the camp as a whole as they continue on?

Also has a website been set up for condolences to the families.

Does the troop have a website of its own?



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My 17 yr. old son is down at Jambo. He called last night around 10:30 pm. He was pretty shook up. Camp mood is definitely subdued. My impression was that just about everyone down at Fort AP Hill knew about the deaths.


My son is in subcamp 4 - he said it's about 1/4 mile from subcamp 7.


A pretty good lightning storm also rolled throuygh the Hill last night and the heat index was 116 degrees during the day.


Such a sad, sad, tragic event. My prayers to the families and to all the Scouts at the Hill.

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Thanks, Morainemom, for your quick reply.

I have a 13 yr old there, and we haven't heard from him since the accident. Meanwhile, I'm searching Scouts-L and Scouter for any and all info.

If the mood is understandably somber, I hope the Jambo leaders can turn this unfortunate event around and create an event full of wonderful memories. It would sadden me if it was only remembered as, "the one where the people died."

I can only imagine what the Alaskan scouts are going through and wish there was some way we could reach out to them.

Please keep posting any reports from your son.



ASM,South Carolina (5 boys from my troop @ Jambo.)

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BOWLING GREEN, Va. (AP) -- Three sons of Boy Scout leaders killed in an electrical accident at the National Scout Jamboree have returned home to Alaska, officials said Tuesday.


"Our hearts go out to the families of these dedicated Scout leaders who gave so much to their sons, their troops and their communities," Boy Scout spokesman Gregg Shields told reporters, his voice choked with emotion.


The accident happened Monday when the scout leaders were setting up a dining tent; four were killed. Officials said the gathering, which attracts tens of thousands of Scouts, would go on as planned.


Shields said the accident was still under investigation and he could not provide additional details. Asked if a power line touched a tent pole, he said: "That's what we're investigating."









The victims were identified as Michael J. Shibe, 49, Mike Lacroix, 42, and Ronald H. Bitzer, 58, all of Anchorage, Alaska; and Scott Edward Powell, 57, of Perrysville, Ohio. Shibe had two sons at the Jamboree and Lacroix had one.


A memorial service was planned at Wednesday's opening ceremony.


Three other adults were injured. One was listed Tuesday in critical condition at VCU Medical Center in Richmond, one was in stable condition and another was discharged.


Alaska Gov. Frank Murkowski issued a statement offering his condolences to the victims' family members and troop members.




Four Troop Leaders Die at Boy Scout Jamboree






Felberbaum reports some Scouts were near where the accident happened.







"These individuals were killed while serving Alaska's young people - and I admire and thank them for that service," he said.


Increased safety measures were put in place because of the accident and temperatures expected to top 100 degrees, Shields said.


The jamboree is being held on 3,000 acres of the Army's 76,000-acre Fort A.P. Hill about an hour south of Washington. Army officials are assisting with the investigation.


The youths with the Alaska troops - 80 Scouts ages 13 to 15 - were moved to an Army barracks where a chaplain and grief counselors were available.


The jamboree runs through Aug. 3, with President Bush scheduled to speak Wednesday evening. The event, held every four years, attracts more than 40,000 Boy Scouts, leaders and volunteers from around the world.


Bitzer was a retired administrative judge and assistant scoutmaster of Troop 129 of Anchorage, according to troop scoutmaster Ken Schoolcraft.


"Scouting was what he loved. He spent many, many, many hours working with Scouting," Schoolcraft said. "It was a way for him to help others."


The deaths came a day after a Boy Scout volunteer from North Carolina died at a hospital of an apparent heart attack.


The Boy Scouts of America have held the event every four years since 1937. The next gathering is set for 2010, five years from now, to coincide with the group's 100th anniversary.


But it may not be held at Fort A.P. Hill, which has hosted the Jamboree since 1981. A federal judge recently ruled that the Pentagon can no longer financially support the event. If the ruling stands, the Boy Scouts would have to find another location for their next gathering.


A lawsuit filed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois contends that the Defense Department's sponsorship violates the First Amendment because the Scouts require members to swear an oath of duty to God.


In exchange for getting use of the Army training base, the Scouts have spent about $20 million on base improvements that include road paving and plumbing upgrades. The Army says it uses the Jamboree as an opportunity to train personnel in crowd control, communications and other logistical skills.




Associated Press writer Jeannette J. Lee in Anchorage, Alaska, contributed to this report.



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Bolo -

I'm sure the boys, although very saddened, will still have some wonderful memories. Today is the opening day - all event action centers were due to open at 9:00 am.


Here's the link to the official BSA Jamboree site:




It's a great site - they will eventually update it every day with photos and I believe they will even post the daily newspaper there.


My son attended the '01 Jambo when he was 13. The second day we got a phone call from him in the evening - seems he fell on the TOAP Course and broke his arm! His Buddy stayed with him, they transported him to one of the MASH tents and he got a camo cast from the Army doctors. Guess he walked back into camp at noon with his Buddy and just about freaked out the Troop Leaders! :) He stayed at Jambo - and although restricted from many of the activities - still had a great time!


There's an area newspaper that publishes Jamboree news items every dy on the web. I'll go dig it up and post it when I find it.


I can tell you that the lines were horrible at the pay phones last night, your son probably got tired and went to bed! They also had a storm in the early evening.

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A tragedy like this hits so close to home. This could have happened to any one of us. May God receive them into his kingdom, comfort their loved ones and bless and protect the scouts and scouters at the Jamboree.





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Accidents like this is why the Army has a safety rule that says no metal poles or antenna can not be closer that twice it length from power lines. I suspect the tent was not in the layout for that area.

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Small updates:

Between 2 of the men they had 3 sons at Jambo - the boys have flown home.


The guy from Ohio had lived in Alaska for years and years, and had recently retired to Ohio, but wanted to go to Jambo with his Scouting buddies from Alaska. =(


p.s. People actually hear from their sons?! Ha! Not mine ... I think he believes 'no news is good news' and he's SPL this time around, so I'm sure he's crazy-busy.

I saw the radar last night and it looked like The Hill got one heck of a soaking.

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Account created to aid families



Anchorage Daily News


(Published: July 26, 2005)


An Alaska credit union has set up an account to help the families of the four Scout leaders killed Monday at the Boy Scout Jamboree. Donations to the Scout Memorial Fund, account No. 80487, can be made at any Denali Alaskan Federal Credit Union branch, which are located in Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau and Wasilla. Donations can be designated for any of the individual men, Ron Bitzer, Michael Lacroix, Michael Shibe and Scott Powell, or a general donation may be made to the fund that will be divided among their families.


In Anchorage, branches are located at 440 E. 36th Ave., 3400 LaTouche St., 1725 Abbott Road (inside Carrs), 632 W. Sixth Ave., Suite 100 (City Hall), 320 W. First Ave., 1501 E. Huffman Road (Carrs mall), and 3020 Minnesota Drive.


Donations earmarked for the Boy Scout account, also can be mailed to Denali Alaskan Federal Credit Union at 3400 LaTouche St., Anchorage, AK 99508. The credit union can be reached by phone at 907-257-7200 or 1-800-764-1123.




Copyright 2005 The Anchorage Daily News (www.adn.com)

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My deepest sympathy to the families of the four outstanding leaders.


It was an honor to work for Scott Powell when I was on staff at Camp Gorsuch, AK (78, 79, 80). Scott was a superb director and a true Scout through and through. He found a great balance between good order and creating a fun environment for the campers. Scott was everywhere...you never saw him behind a desk. He was the first person up in the morning and the last to retire...daily, he visited every camp site, hiked each trail, checked in on merit badge classes and talked with every Scout and Scouter he happened upon. His people skills were superb...folks just gravitated to Scott.


It rained quite a bit each summer in that part of AK. But Scott would get the entire camp motivated at breakfast each morning, in part with enthusiastic song leading (he wrote more than a few original songs himself). Rainy, overcast days didn't matter...if you ran into Scott on the trail, he had a way of pepping you up with his sparking wit and good cheer.


Scott taught me a great deal. He was a great leader and organizer, and he knew how to set the example. Scott picked up trash, washed dishes and helped unload the food truck...whatever the task, he did it with smile. Serving on his staff was great, every day.


I'm sorry he and his fellow Scouters have passed on.



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There is a deep sadness within me for the families and Scouts that will now begin to try and understand this horrible accident and the loss of such good men to them and to their world.



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Bolo, Thanks for the info, I just passes it on to my troop here in CT with the following note...


By now most of you have heard that four adult leaders (from Alaska) were killed setting up a dining tent at the national Jamboree. A fund has been set up for the families (see below). I'm wondering if the PLC might be asked if they would donate $10 from the troop as a gesture of brother hood in scouting.


Account created to aid families


CC to T### and T### - Challenge to your PLC join/match us.

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A terrible tragedy but so easily avoided. Hadn't any of these guys worked with aluminum ladders, TV antennas or aluminum masted sailboats? Seems to me all units should junk this type of massive dining structure, clearly they are unsafe. Don't give it away or sell it, cut up the fabric, break the poles, put it in a dumpster.

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Interesting, (a bit lengthy) journal from LTC Mike Walton of his Day on the Hill...(Tuesday, 07/26)


Hey Scouters!


Today was a very busy day for me, in more ways than one. It seems that some guy named Murphy was following me around most of the day today too.


I woke up this morning, thinking that I had two hours before I was to be at my post in the Media Reception tent on the Jamboree grounds; turned out that instead,

I had about 20 minutes to get to the post from the "Jamboree truck stop" where I was resting (and where I am posting from this morning). I didn't make it on time.

Little did I know that there was a nearly all-night powwow session to determine what would the message be today to the press, who would deliver it, and what about

press and visitors today. And how will we honor those who have died.


When I arrived, I was greeted by a row of sat trucks, cars with logos on them (some I don't like) and reporters and "talking heads" all lined up slanted so that their

cameras can focus on the "Fort AP Hill" signage across the four-laned highway and catacornered from their "watch positions." It was clear to me that some of them

have been there since 4 or 5 am this morning. As I made my way into the Jamboree "egg", I heard several accounts on the radio of what happened yesterday.


This morning at 10 am (actually it was closer to 11am with some technical delays), both the BSA's national spokesman Gregg Shields and the Jamboree Task Force

public affairs officer Major Vince Mitchell addressed some 60 or so press agencies all corralled into the Hometown News press tent. Yesterday, Gregg pointedly told

me that the Gatorade in the coolers were for the "staff there and not for you and your army buddies. We paid for those drinks..." to which I apologized and offered to

pay them for the drinks we were given and told we could have. This morning, I saw the other side of Gregg Shields as he visiably broke down in trying to explain the BSA's

strongest condolences for the deaths which occured yesterday evening. It wasn't practiced...Gregg had to stop twice before he could regain enough composure to continue

his prepared statement -- one which he, Mitchell, and several other BSA and military folk were preparing overnight.


By the time Major Mitchell reached the podium, most of the reporters have already captured what the "story of the day" is going to be: the loss of "Scouting leaders" (when

did we change what we call adult volunteers? To me, those men are Scouters!) and the BSA's plans for this day.


First, no visitors. None. Those here will be asked to leave and those who do not leave then, will be escorted off the premises. Let the Scouts grieve, reflect and encourage

each other this day.


Second, a safety stand-down will be performed on the military side. No significant operations, but rather a specific review of what safety precautions are to be taken and how

can we make those precautions better.


Next, a statement saying that a part of the Opening show will feature a memorial to those four Scouters and that the President of the United States of America is still scheduled to attend.


Finally, a listing of the Scouters who were killed, along with those injured. At that point, I thought that Gregg should have stopped and I attempted to signal his "point man"

(that's the guy or gal who gives the briefer first the "last question" warning and then whisks him or her off stage before another question can be posed...) of that fact but he

wasn't looking at me when I was giving the "high sign" and Eric was looking at me when I was scanning the audience. Finally, we got our signals coordinated, he gave the

word to Gregg for "one more question please" which turned into two questions, and finally, he left the stage.


The Public Affairs Operations Center (PAOC, a public affairs "battalion headquarters") personnel got the reporters and videographers back onto the buses, out the gates, and

off the reservation. But still...reporters hung around, for they were not given the direct answers -- those "bites" -- of the "story of the day."


Staff members of American Scouting Digest (http://www.americanscoutingdigest.com) came to the Jamboree today. We took a group photo and then Gregg asked me through

one of the youth staff members working at the media relations area to "please escort them off the base". While I apologized to Rob Miller and Jaime Rodriguez for what I had

to do, I know that they understood that I am doing my job and that the BSA does take the lead in such things...it is THEIR National Scout Jamboree.


So we found a Chinese resturant and had lunch. I also received some trading material (patches) and some extra issues of ASD to hand out along with some subscription information.

It was funny -- Jaime should have taken a photo -- of both Rob and I looking for photos taken of ourselves in the latest issue and showing each other at the same time!!! *smiling*


We then went to visit one of my old friends -- Chris Jensen and his family, doing business as Streamwood. ( I had to leave the truck stop...they had a fire alarm to go off!)

Chris and I have been trading and I have been purchasing Scouting items from him and his family since the middle 90s but this was the first time we met face to face. The last two

Jamborees, he was off either at some other place or he was taking a break. When we arrived, a TV crew from Charottesville was interviewing Chris and you can swear that he was

an experienced pro at answering those questions (maybe it was the fact that he has been answering the same questions for several TV stations before we arrived!). Streamwood

put up their display and merchandise wares on the grass in front of a hotel close to the main entrance of the Fort. They have been doing some strong business from that location.


I owe Streamwood $10 for a widegame patch I have been looking for.


Eventually, I'll go back to him and pick up some special merit badges for presentation here and back home (and perhaps to my honies -- she's been asking "where's my merit badge"

for doing things for me....) before they pack up on Friday.


I went to the Public Affairs Office and delivered the first of my several military and Scouting stories along with some photos.


The rest of the afternoon...well...let me first explain that the van I am using - a 1992 Chrysler Town and Country - is just that. It is mechanically in good shape, but there's signs

that it's an old beat up minivan. It is my office and sleeping space while I am on the road to, during and from the Jamboree. It holds all of my "stuff" and where I sit and work on various

projects until the heat gets too bad and the AC can't keep up.


It doesn't smell like stale cigarettes any more, thanks to many of you and your suggestions. Thank you -- a lot of them really worked!!


Leaving the small Shoppette with a load of water and tea, some teeshirts and a hat, I opened the door and the sliding door slid....right off the track of the van and almost into the street!!

So, being really mad, I took my hat off and started to attempt to fix the door back onto its track. I was getting nowhere fast. Two Scouts walked by and offered to help, but I turned them

down thinking that "if I can't get it on here, I know that they couldn't do it."


"Sir, excuse me." The guy was wearing a MP brassard and glasses. "Sir, I know you're trying to fix your car, but I've got some impressionable Soldiers here and...." he was looking at

my sweating, wet hat-less head. I caught the clue. I apologized, found my hat on top of the van, and placed it back onto my head.


"Look sir, instead of you fighting this...drive your van down over to that second building over there, go inside and tell them that the "skinny white boy" told you to ask them to put your door

back on...they'll hook you right up, sir!" He smiled at me. That Master Sergeant will never know that I was three points from sitting in tears and sweat before he smiled and offered to help



"Thank you, Sergeant!" I meant it, as I got the door affixed so that it would not fall off with too little effort, and turned the van around and drove it to the motor pool.


There, three mechanics attempted to put the fool door back onto the van...when they failed, they put the door back on the van so that I could drive it to a repair shop. Now, I just need repair

shop money!!


My Scouting highlight for today comes from my experiences in the Shoppette. The Shoppette is like a 7-11 or Stop and Save without the gas pumps in the front. Mostly junkfoods and mostly

high energy stuff and cold soft drinks are found in there. As I was walking around, two Scouts were talking about the Shuttle liftoff today. One was older than the other, but both were in

their 16 or 17s...


"You thnk they'll get it back down to earth in one piece?" one asked the other.


"You gotta have faith, Henry." the other Scout stated.


Faith is what brings up to doing things like the Jamboree. Yeah, yeah, it's a lot of money. But you have to have some degree of personal faith to get you to hand over the cash, to get here,

and to participate as far as you can and are willing to do so. There's a lot of Scouts here who are thinking "is this all worth the money I spent to get here?" They'll find out during the day

tomorrow (today, Wednesday) that they placed their faith in the right lane.


Meanwhile, I will see what my faith will get me as I deal with the door and other issues back home (I haven't received my paycheck from the last two times I performed military duties...)


Stay Safe and Cool (and yes, I have been drinking water and juices all day today....)





LTC Mike L. Walton (settummanque, the blackeagle)


On the Road between Minnesota and "The Hill"





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