Local World War II veteran shares experiences with scouts

Dr. Arthur Kunin and Boy Scouts from Troop 602.

Dr. Arthur Kunin and Boy Scouts from Troop 602.

Scouts from Shelburne Troop 602 heard a presentation by Dr. Arthur Kunin on Wednesday, Oct. 2. He discussed his experiences as a Boy Scout in Brooklyn, N.Y. in the 1930s and 40s and explained how the hiking, camping, map reading, and other scout skills served him in training and when he entered the European theater in 1944. Kunin was severely wounded after he volunteered to retrieve an injured comrade trapped near enemy lines. When asked why he volunteered—after he was advised “never volunteer for anything”—he answered, “a scout ‘helps other people at all times’ and we try to ‘do a good turn daily.’” Kunin shared two important awards with the Boy Scouts – his Eagle Scout and Purple Heart medals. He felt the Eagle Scout was the more important of the two.
Kunin went on to study medicine after the war because he “felt he had a debt to pay” for the excellent care he received while recovering from his wounds. He received a medical degree at UVM, teaching at the University of Vermont School Of Medicine for many years.

A young Arthur Kunin near Metz, France in World War II.

A young Arthur Kunin near Metz, France in World War II.

His presentation was part of an educational program the Boy Scouts are undertaking in preparation for the BSA Omaha Beach Camporee in Normandy, France in April 2014 to commemorate the 70th anniversary of the D-Day invasion. The scouts are speaking with veterans from Shelburne and the surrounding communities about their experiences in World War II.

In June, the troop heard a presentation by Ron Hadley of Middlebury. Hadley was a “wave commander” during the Invasion of Normandy, bringing troops to shore on a small landing craft. He later participated in military operations in southern France, North Africa, the Philippines, and the invasion of Iwo Jima.

If you are a veteran—from any conflict—who would like to share your experiences with the scouts, please contact Scoutmaster Jim Brangan at 985-1007, or via email at jimbrangan@gmail.com. Visit www.troop602.wordpress.com/normandy2014-2 to learn more about the Troop’s “Normandy 2014: We Carry Their Names” project.

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