Two local Boy Scouts have joined the effort to restore historic gun barrels from the USS Arizona and USS Missouri.
Ben Owens, 15, and his brother Hal Owens, 13, dedicated themselves to earning their Eagle Scout designation after learning their grandfather earned his Eagle Scout award in the 1940s. As part of their Eagle projects, each young man organized materials, directed and oversaw the work of their team.
Each scout invited friends, family and fellow scouts from Troop 340 to participate in the painting event, held April 6-7 at Precision Components Incorporated, where the guns are being temporarily stored. Home Depot of Cave Creek and Dunn-Edwards Paints generously donated the materials for the project, including primer, paint and the equipment required to restore the barrels. The 161st Air Refueling Wing of the Arizona Air National Guard removed the old paint and rust the week prior to the project.
Ben and his group worked on the USS Arizona barrel and Hal and his team managed the work on the USS Missouri gun. Troop 340 is part of St. Thomas the Apostle Catholic Church and has nearly 20 active members who range in age from 10 to 18 years old. The troop is led by Scoutmaster Ralph McCloskey.
According to the National Eagle Scouting Association, the Eagle Scout Award is scouting’s highest rank and among its most familiar icons. Those who have earned it count it among their most treasured possessions.
“During an Eagle Project, the scout does the project plan,” Troop Leader McCloskey explains. “Adults critically review, but avoid solving any problems. The scout learns project planning, leadership and interfacing with other organizations. Normally the process is not smooth, but it is life experience.”
The brothers likely will go through their Eagle Board Review in June and receive their Eagle Scout Awards later that moth.
“We’re honored that Ben and Hal Owens have led the effort to get these barrels ready for installation,” said Secretary of State Ken Bennett. “Eagle Scouts serve as positive examples of trustworthiness, courage and loyalty within their community and it appears that Ben and Hal are already exemplifying those ideals.”
Bennett has spearheaded a project to build a World War II Memorial, to be installed near the state capitol in Phoenix, which includes the barrels from the USS Arizona and USS Missouri. The barrels will be displayed as a part of a complete exhibit representing the beginning and end of the war.