Scouting flags have zipped around the moon; been flown atop the world’s tallest peaks, like Everest and Kilimanjaro; and have adorned campsites all over the globe. One pack flag was recently unfurled in Antarctica.
Brandon Tellez, committee chair and Bear den leader for Cub Scout Pack 274 in Puyallup, Wash., took a pack flag to the icy continent. Tellez serves as a U.S. Air Force pilot at Joint Base Lewis-McChord in Washington. He frequently flies to Antarctica to deliver scientific equipment to McMurdo Station, a U.S. research facility there.
Two years into the COVID-19 pandemic, Tellez saw morale drop among Cub Scout families because of the inability to meet in-person, regular school cancellations and other restrictions. So he and his wife, Michelle, decided to help. They made many delivery trips to Cub Scout families’ homes, safely dropping off materials so they could work on adventures from home.
After seeing Cub Scouts soldiering on, continuing to learn and advance despite the pandemic, Tellez wanted to recognize their efforts. Flying a Boeing C-17 Globemaster III with a payload of 100,000 pounds, Tellez packed a flag for the 19,000-mile round trip from the Washington base to Antarctica and back.
Upon landing at an airstrip in Antarctica called the Phoenix Airfield, he displayed the flag from the aircraft’s window — in front of the aircraft and by a sign to be photographed. He then grabbed postcards to bring back to everyone in his son Bryce’s den. Tellez has two sons, Conner, 11, and Bryce, 8.
Pack 274 welcomed Tellez back with a standing ovation at a pack meeting in November. The trip provided an opportunity for him to teach Cub Scouts more about the Southern Hemisphere — plus, they could all be proud that their pack flag had been to the other side of the world.
“We’ve had Scout flags to the moon, we’ve had them go to the highest mountains around the globe and now we have Pack 274’s presence in Antarctica,” says Karen Meier, Scout executive of the Pacific Harbors Council.