I Don’t Want the President; I Want my Dad

Porter Broyles

I was a scout in BSA troop 964 in Dale City Virginia in the early 80s. My dad, U.S.A.F. Lt. Colonel Stephen D Broyles (retired) and an Eagle Scout, was very involved in the troop. Well, I earned my Eagle rank shortly before moving to Germany.
They didn’t have time to award me the rank of Eagle before I left. So i arrived at Patch Barracks in the Summer of 84 and the BSA troop there gets started to award me the Rank of Eagle.

Now getting Eagle is a big deal—especially in military communities. Well, I’m on perhaps one of the most important military bases in Europe. Patch Barracks—HQ for United States Army in Europe. We didn’t have a “Colonel’s Row” like many bases. Colonel’s row was where the top ranked officers lived—we had a General’s Row. Scores of General’s were assigned there.

So Lt Colonel Roberts is the adult leader who is helping to put together my Eagle Ceremony and he comes over some evening to talk to me about who I want to get to present me with the award. He explains that this is for the Eagle Scout and that I can ask for basically anybody in the world. He tells me that if I want President Reagan to present me with the award, that he’d make the call. If I wanted a state governor or congressman, that it was possible. This was for the Eagle Scout Award and we were at the most important military base in Europe. I might have to wait, but he said that he would do his best to get me whomever I wanted to present me with the award. This was, after all, for the Eagle Scout Award and we were at one of the most important bases in Europe, so it would be possible. “Even for the President.” Or a general—which for a career military brat is a big deal.

Lt Col Roberts was basically begging me to ask for somebody that would give him the chance to call somebody above his pay grade.
He was sorely disappointed when I told him that there was only one person from whom I wanted to receive the rank… that there was only one person from whom I would accept the rank. My Dad.

32 years later, I am so glad that I made that choice. I have never forgotten the expression on Lt Colonel Roberts face or the smile on my dad’s. My dad tried to talk me out of it, he kept telling me that they could get the President to give it to me, but I knew in his heart that it had to be one of his proudest moments.

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