Rear Adm. Kelly to get high honor from Boy Scouts
February 17, 2009
YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — The commander of U.S. naval forces in Japan soon will share an honor with men like Steven Spielberg and Neil Armstrong.
Rear Adm. James Kelly hasn’t been to the moon or directed an Indiana Jones sequel, but he will join a short list of men honored as Distinguished Eagle Scouts during a ceremony Feb. 28 at the Officers’ Club here.
Of roughly 1.5 million Eagle Scouts, only about 1,600 have received the Distinguished Eagle Award.
The award requires at least 25 years of service to the Boy Scouts since first becoming a scout. Eagle Scout is the highest rank in scouting.
"I could not have been successful at the Naval Academy and in my naval career without the experiences and knowledge that I gained from being a Boy Scout," Kelly wrote in an e-mail to Stars and Stripes. "It is truly a great honor."
Recipients must show "significant accomplishment in one’s career and a solid record of continued community volunteer involvement," according to the Far East Council of Boy Scouts of America, whose members will honor Kelly at the ceremony.
Kelly received his original Eagle Scout award in 1966 in Troop 21 from Schenectady, N.Y.
Others with military backgrounds to accept the Distinguished Eagle Award include President Gerald Ford; Gen. William C. Westmoreland; Adm. Elmo R. Zumwalt Jr.; Secretary of Defense Robert Gates; and former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld.