Gilwell Fellowship 2018

Every year since 2012, Gilwell Fellows have had an opportunity to get together at Gilwell Park over the Gilwell Reunion weekend.  It is always a wonderful week because of the quality of Scouters that are Fellows, including Gill Clay, Baden-Powell’s granddaughter.  In the beginning years, the members were called Friends of Gilwell, but a few years ago, the name was changed to Gilwell Fellows.

In order to join, it is a commitment of £2,500 over five years.  Young Scouters under the age of 30 can join for an initial deposit of £500, and when they turn 30, they are asked to contribute another £500 per year until they reach £2,500.  Scouters can also be recognized for higher levels of contributions.  The money that is contributed goes totally to improving Gilwell Park for all to enjoy.

During the event, attendees learn aspects of Scouting in the UK.  It is interesting to learn about how their program is growing.  One of the reasons that it is growing is because they have chosen as their Chief Scout, Bear Grylls (https://scouts.org.uk/about-us/organisational-information/chief-scout/ & https://www.gq-magazine.co.uk/article/bear-grylls-scout-essentials), a person who enjoyed his time as a Scout when he was young and considers his selection as Chief Scout as one of his greatest honors.

As a Gilwell Fellow, I was fortunate to attend the get-together this summer.  Before the event began, John Davis, who earned Queen’s Scout as a boy but who now lives in the US, organized a trip around London for five of us.  Besides myself, the additional three scouters attending were Paco Macias, the President of Mexico Scouting; Pedro Dias, the Chief Scout of Mexico; and Pete Armstrong, a good scouter friend.  It was a good day with good friends.

A hobby thing that I do is to help create pins and badges for Scouting.  This year, we tentatively decided on a pin for Gilwell Fellows.  It is an image of a feature that is located at the right end of the Gilwell White House.  At this time, the pin is planned to be gold in color and 9 mm in diameter.  The planned pin will likely look like the image to the right.

The Fellows around the bronze buffalo that was presented to Gilwell in 1926 by BSA.

The Gilwell Reunion takes place in the middle of our stay each year, and we enjoy being able to participate in the activities. As with most Scouting events, they end with a great camp fire program.

Visiting Brownsea Island

The last day of our stay was a visit to Brownsea Island.  This was the location that Baden-Powell used for his first outing as an experiment to establish Scouting.  It is often considered to be the first Scout camp, but Scouting had not been established until 1908.  However, they had taken the Scout Promise so the issue is still open.  That being said, what some consider to be the first official Scout camp was held at Fourstones near Hexham, Northumberland.  Interesting information about the first Scout troop can be found here – https://timpanogos.wordpress.com/2014/01/24/first-official-boy-scout-troop-january-24-1908/.

Brownsea commemorative stone for the experimental camp in 1907.

As I said, next year, 2019, will be the 100th anniversary of Gilwell, and I know it will be a special time.  If you are interested in becoming a Gilwell Fellow and you have any questions, let me know.  The cost to attend is less at the beginning of the year, so think hard about becoming a Fellow as soon as possible.

2018 Peru Moot

My friend, John Davis

The best things about any scout event are the scouters and scouts.  And the Peru Moot was no exception.  My friend John Davis also attended the Moot.  John and I were at the Ecuador Jamboree last year and have attended several Gilwell Fellowships together.

The BSA adults were invited to a special evening event where those in the Interamerican Scout Region were recognized.  A few of us that attended are in the picture below.

Jeff, Craig, Michelle, John & John Davis
leaders
John, Dave and Craig with staff camp behind us.

Dave and Ron were the BSA contingent leaders, but Ron had to leave early because of a family emergency, so John filled in for Ron.

ScoutsOfTheWorld
Milagros, Eduardo, Craig and Alex

All the International Service Team staff (IST) were assigned to teams that supported the Moot in some way.  I was fortunate to be assigned to a team called Scouts of the World.  The team was led by Alex who had two great assistants; Eduardo who could speak English and Milagros who had this very helpful app on her phone that would translate between English and Spanish.  Milagros and I spent a good deal of time communicating using that app.

Scouts of the World is very similar to Messengers of Peace.  The focus of both programs is service.

The camp we used was part of a Hacienda and located in Sacred Valley.  Not one of the better camps that I have stayed in, but the overall location was very impressive.

Hacienda
Hacienda in Sacred Valley

Paco
Francisco Macías Valadéz (Paco)

I had a nice day off.  The small group I was with, which included Paco, the President of the Mexico Scouts, visited a museum where I learned about the inhabitants of Peru since early times.  The Incas were the last group before the Spanish ruined their civilization.  The Incas brought together the people of western South America from Colombia to Chile.

I first met Paco at the Baden-Powell Fellowship in Mexico this last spring.  He is one fine leader and I expect that the Mexican scouts benefit from his leadership.

After the museum, we had a nice lunch where some had roasted Guinea Pig.  A little different, but they said it was good!

BSA Contingent
BSA Contingent

Many of the participants went on to Machu Picchu after the Moot, but the IST had to stay for an extra day so we had to visit Machu Picchu on our own.  During the Moot, my wife was in the Galapagos and we met afterwards and visited ruins in Sacred Valley and then onto Machu Picchu.  The first ruin we visited was Pisaq.  It is amazing how much terracing the Incas did for agriculture.

Pisaq
Pisaq

The second ruin we visited was Ollantaytambo.  I found their development of a water system very interesting.  Water was very precious to the Incas and they found ways to pipe it underground to fountains and other places where they needed it.

OllantaytamboRuins
Ollantaytambo with my wife
ollantaytambo-fountain
Ollantaytambo fountain

Next sight we visited was Machu Picchu!

MachuPicchu
Machu Picchu with the “lawn mower” llama

InteramericanScoutMoot2018logoThe last place we visited was Cusco, where we would catch our flight home.  Cusco was interesting as it was the location of the religious and administrative capital of the Inca Empire which flourished in ancient Peru between c. 1400 and 1534 CE.  In Cusco, we saw the 12-sided stone which is emblematic of Cusco and the logo of the Peru Moot.

12-sided
12-sided stone

The highlights of my stay in Peru were the Scouts of the World with Alex, Milagros and Eduardo.  And my American friends John and Michelle made my meals enjoyable.  Of course, the trips to the Inca ruins with my wife topped off a very nice stay in Peru.

GoFundMe has soared above $85k for Walter Carr

Bellhops CEO Luke Marklin gives the keys to his car to Walter Carr.

Last night, July 20, I heard the story of Walter Carr.  The kindness of people is so wonderful that I had to share the story.  One of the more informative articles was written by Briana Harris on July 18, 2018.  So instead of rewriting it, I will quote Ms. Harris.

PELHAM – With a broken-down car and only one chance to make a good first impression at a new job, young college student Walter Carr did what he felt like he had to do and walked to work.

But Carr’s simple decision was only the beginning of an inspirational story that includes a 20-mile trek in the darkness, the kindness of local police officers, national acclaim, a new car and more than $62,000 raised via a GoFundMe account.

Chris and Jenny Lamey met Carr when their doorbell rang at about 6:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 14.  A Pelham police officer told the couple he had picked up “this nice kid” walking along the side of the road before daybreak.

It all started after Carr’s 2003 Nissan Altima broke down and he didn’t have a way to make it to his first day on the job with Bellhops, a moving company.

He used Google Maps to calculate the time it would take to walk from his house to his job assignment – seven hours.  According to Lamey, Carr ate around midnight and headed out on foot in time to make it to work by 8 a.m. where he was set to help the family pack up their belongings and move to a new house.

By about 2 a.m., he’d made his way to Hoover and around 4 a.m. he’d made it Pelham.  It was in Pelham that his journey took an unexpected turn.

Pelham police officer Mark Knighten was the first to encounter Carr walking along the side of the road in Pelham.  Knighten asked Carr if everything was alright and that’s when Carr explained his situation.

Knighten and two other police officers took Carr to get some breakfast and then dropped him off at a church where they thought would be the safest place for him rest for a bit before he had to be at work.

Officer Scott Duffey was just beginning his shift when he heard about Carr’s story.  Duffey went in search of Carr who had already left the church to continue his walk to work.  Duffey picked Carr up and drove him to Lamey’s house.

“We introduced ourselves to Walter and told the officer he was just fine to stay here with us until the rest of the crew arrived,” Lamey said.  “I asked Walter if he wanted to go upstairs and rest until everyone else arrived. He declined and said he could go ahead and get started. So, he began working alongside Chris and I before the rest of the crew arrived.”

Lamey learned that Carr and his mother were transplants forced from their home in New Orleans by Hurricane Katrina, and that Carr hoped to join the Marines.

Lamey was so impressed with Carr that she took to Facebook to share her encounter with him. Lamey’s post about the story on Facebook has generated about 700 comments, 2,000 shares and 7,000 reactions.

“I just can’t tell you how touched I was by Walter and his journey,” she said. “He is humble and kind and cheerful, and he had big dreams! He is hardworking and tough. I can’t imagine how many times on that lonely walk down 280 in the middle of the night did he want to turn back. How many times did he wonder if this was the best idea. How many times did he want to find a place to sit or lie down and wait til morning when he could maybe get someone to come pick him up and bring him back home. But he walked until he got here! I am in total awe of this young man!”

Lamey also set up a GoFundMe account for Carr that has reached $62,479 in just two days and is continuing to climb.  More than 1,600 people from all 50 states and internationally have donated money to Carr.

According to Lamey, financial advisor Evan Carter with ACG Wealth has volunteered his services to help Carr plan, save and manage the money.

Carr’s journey also reached the ears of Luke Marklin, the CEO of Bellhops.  On Monday, July 16, Marklin decided to travel from Tennessee to Birmingham under the guise of meeting Carr for coffee to personally thank him for his dedication.  But Marklin’s true intention was to surprise Carr by gifting him his own personal car, a 2014 Ford Escape.

Marklin said he was blown away by Carr’s heart and grit.  Carr was speechlees when Marklin handed over the keys to his car.

Lamey said she decided to set up a GoFundMe for Carr after receiving hundreds of messages on Facebook from people wanting to help Carr.  The goal was to raise $2,000 to help him with his car troubles.

Staff Writer Stephen Dawkins of the Shelby County Reporter contributed to this story.

BP Fellowship, Mexico 2018

Attending a Baden-Powell Fellowship Conference is always enjoyable.  I get to see many of my scouting friends that live all over the country and some from other countries.  The Baden-Powell Fellowship is a great program because it supports scouting organizations all over the world that are in need of financial support.  I choose to give to the Baden-Powell Fellowship because of the good work the organization does.

Teotihuacán

One of the benefits is that yearly, the Fellowship meets in different countries.  This time, 2018, it was in Mexico City.  This is the country with all the interesting Aztec ruins that truly interests my wife.  She really enjoys ruins of all types!  So as part of the pre-fellowship, we visited Teotihuacán, the best known of the Aztec ruins.  This is the location of what is commonly called the Temple of the Sun and Temple of the Moon, even though neither temple has anything to do with the sun or moon.

Great Pyramid of Cholula

The next day we visited the great pyramid of Cholula.  The Great Pyramid was an important religious and mythical center in prehispanic times.  Over a period of a thousand years prior to the Spanish Conquest, consecutive construction phases gradually built up the bulk of the pyramid until it became the largest in Mexico by volume.  People have dug into the pyramid and you can go underneath parts of the pyramid and see the layers of construction; in other words, the pyramids were built one on top of another.  Today, the pyramid at first looks like a natural hill surmounted by a church.

Templo Mayor
Templo Mayor

An additional site we visited was Templo Mayor.  The site is part of the Historic Center of Mexico City, which was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 1987.  The Templo Mayor (Spanish for “Main Temple”) was the main temple of the Aztecs in their capital city of Tenochtitlan, which is now Mexico City.  After the destruction of Tenochtitlan, the Templo Mayor, like most of the rest of the city, was taken apart and covered over by the new Spanish colonial city. The Temple’s exact location was forgotten, although by the 20th-century scholars had a good idea where to look for it.

Xochimilco
Xochimilco

Another nice afternoon, we spent visiting the Floating Gardens of Xochimilco.  We did not see any floating gardens but it was a nice afternoon with my wife.

 

Fleur-de-lis
Fleur-de-lis

Towards the end of the Fellowship, we visited a plaza where Mexican Scouts had taken hundreds of compressed soda cans and made a fleur-de-lis.  We got to go to the top of the building to get a good look; very impressive!

In addition to the tours, there is always a day where scouting information and stories are told.  It is very rewarding to know that so many good things happen in the scouting world.

At the close of the BP Fellowship, the people who have contributed since the last Fellowship are recognized by the King of Sweden (on the right in the picture), the Honorary President and Chairman of the BP Fellowship.  I was honored because I contributed enough to be in the Honors Program.  You can learn more about the Fellowship at this website:  www.worldscoutfoundation.org.

It Started with the Dark-Green Twill Square Knot!

I’ve always believed that when you wear a uniform, you should have all the badges in the right place and they should look nice.  This is especially true when you go to an Eagle Board of Review.  When I was a Scoutmaster, I would often get comments about how nice my Scouts looked when we attended District events.

In Venturing, Crews don’t typically fully uniform as they do in Boy Scouts.  But when one does, I think wearing badges that match the uniform make one look that much sharper.

When Venturing was introduced in 1998, the Venturing community asked BSA if they would reintroduce square knots with green background as they had from 1966-1979.  As you know, BSA said no.  In 2002, while I was attending Powder Horn, I said to my Powder Horn Crew that I was thinking about making square knots with green backgrounds.  Everyone in the Crew fully supported the idea.  So, I had them made for the common knots and they were in high demand.  Scouters no longer had to pay a premium for the original ones on eBay.

I also introduced two additional knots that have been well received.  One for the Ranger award (a copy of the original knot made in 1950-51) and one for the Girl Scout Gold Award.  When Venturing was introduced along with the Ranger award, many were asking for a knot.  The Girl Scout Gold Award knot was motivated by the fact that one of my Crew Presidents had received the award.

Another quality that my knots have is the fact that the knot itself is the same design between all types of square knots; no extra material outside of the border of the square knot; and all are the same size.  BSA has about a half dozen different configuration of square knots and the size of the patches vary.  The point is that BSA square knots are not uniform, mine are.

As a result of my knots being uniform and color coordinated, I have also had many requests to make knots for the Sea Scout uniforms, along with traditional Cub and Boy Scout knots.

Venturing Trained
Venturing Trained

In addition to square knots, I’ve had requests for various TRAINED awards.  At one time, BSA made these patches to match the uniform but now there is only one that matches the Boy Scout uniform.  I stock them for the Venturing uniform in two colors; green and white, and a red one.  I also made them for Sea Scouts, Commissioners, OA, Philmont, NYLT and Cubs.  Thru 2010, I also made trained-like patches for Kodiak and Kodiak X.

Kodiak & Kodiak X
Kodiak & Kodiak X
Trained
Trained
Sea Scout Trained
Sea Scout Trained

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

VOA

Area VOA

 

 

 

 

 

National Venturing Cabinet

One of my more interesting patches is the one I developed for the Venturing Officers Association (VOA) from a request from Joe Garrett in 2006.  In 2008, Northeast Region requested that I make one for the Area VOA.  And then in 2009, the National Cabinet Advisor asked for a design.  The Cabinet was only able to wear it on their pocket that year.  What was really interesting is that BSA came out with the same designs in 2012, while decreasing the quality but increasing the price by 67%.  My standard VOA patches could be used for both Councils and Districts but BSA added the word Council on their patch so there is no longer a patch available for District VOAs from BSA.  Of course, you can get some from me!

I do not do the patch thing as a business.  I use some of the profits to pay for the scouting web sites that I maintain for the benefit of the scouting community.  However, I give most of the profits to international scouting because that is where I spend most of my time.  My most recent donation is going to a project for the street children of Uganda called Scout Donation Platform started by a Canadian Scout group.  You can read about the project here:  https://donate.scout.org/project/97b92a84-5cc5-44ea-9872-30eb1916ac21.  If you can donate to this project, it would be appreciated and I know many would benefit.

 

Swastikas in Scouting

I wrote an article over a year and a half ago entitled “Swastikas in Scouting.”  I posted it on the Las Vegas International Scouting Museum’s website (www.worldscoutingmuseum.org) as I am their webmaster and they provided much helpful information.  That article has continually been hit by readers from all over the world.  On a recent inspection, people from over 30 countries have visited the site.  The address of the site is www.worldscoutingmuseum.org/swastikas.shtml.

views
(When the article was first listed, hits from Germany and the Netherlands were a high percentage relative to the above list.)

I never expected such worldwide interest.  My interest came from collecting tokens made by the Excelsior Shoe Company.  The tokens were an advertisement for Boy Scout Shoes.  The tokens were possible because BSA did not receive its charter from congress until 1916 and did not have a patent on many things “scouting” as they now do.  There are many varieties of these tokens and the starting point for viewing is www.sageventure.com/coins/scout.html.  On the reverse of the tokens was a swastika.  At that time, and up until the mid-1930’s, the swastika was a good luck symbol and used by many countries, including the Scouting program.  It was not until Hitler and his Nazis took over Germany and raised their Black Swastika flag in 1935, that the emblem could no longer be used for anything else.

Anyway, I am happy to say that I have provided an article that so many people worldwide have visited.  I hope that the readers interested in the article also have the best of intentions – that they learn the history of the swastika and how it applies to the positive aspects of scouting.

31st APR Scout Jamboree 2017

Jamboree PosterI had a great time at the 31st Asia Pacific Regional Scout Jamboree in Mongolia this past July.  Not only was the jamboree a fun experience but the group of Americans that I met up with were a good group of scouts and scouters.  I expected that I might meet up with my friend who was the contingent leader, Pete Armstrong, in Beijing on our way to Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, but I was totally surprised when I got on a bus for transporting passengers from one terminal to another and on the bus were the American scouts and scouters.  I travel in uniform so it was easy for them spot me.  Now, being with the group made it easy for me to get from one end of the long terminal to the departure end because with a group, there were many sign readers!

Beijing airport terminal

The American scouters were Pete Armstrong, the contingent leader and a good friend, and Alan Lepard, a professional scouter, volunteer scouter and Eagle Scout.  In general, I’m not one to write about professional scouters but Alan is an exception.  He’s more than just a great guy; he is both an Eagle Scout and a tireless, generous volunteer scouter.  There were two women scouters, also nurses who were so helpful to me.  I had been in an accident before the jamboree.  Ruthie Rosenstein and Joan Biesksha graciously tended to my wounds.  Another scouter that the scouts admired as a leader was Lisa Gittings.  There were many more excellent scouters, but these stood out in my mind as exemplary individuals.

American Contingent
American Contingent

The scouts that I remember well were Nick, Alan’s son, who I know had a great experience; Carl, Lisa’s son, who I admire for managing well with his broken arm; and Nadine, a Venturer who has attended a number of international jamborees which I really respect.

Scouts
Nick, Carl and Nadine

Pete had been to a Mongolian Jamboree before so he had a number of friends in Mongolia some of which had come to the U.S. to staff at Philmont and his council summer camp.  This worked out well because we had scouters to pick us up at the airport in Ulaanbaatar and take us to the hotel in the middle of the night – very kind and much appreciated.

The next couple of days we caught up on our sleep and explored the city.  What fascinated me was that if you need technical support for your cell phone, printer or any such device, there were shops that would do the work as you waited.  In the U.S. we just buy new devices; seldom do we repair a device.  I watched them work so quickly and efficiently.  Very impressive!

31APR

IST Cabins
IST Cabins

Then off to the jamboree.  The scouts and the leaders checked in and went off to set up camp and since I was on the International Service Team (IST), I was put up in a cabin with a bed.  Wow, did I luck out with a cabin and bed.  I shared the room with two scouters from Australia and a scouter from New Zealand.

Jamboree
Jamboree view from my room

EveryContingent Pinone seemed to have a great time at the jamboree.  Overall, the weather was good.  I designed the patches and pin for our contingent so I had fun trading with other contingents.  During the Contingent Patchtrading, I met so many nice scouters including Reiko Suzuki, the contingent leader from Japan.  She was such a friendly person and it was not until after the jamboree that I learned she had received the Bronze Wolf early this year.  Bronze WolfIt is the highest honor that can be given a volunteer Scout leader in the world.

Scouting in many countries is primarily run by volunteers.  Countries like Mongolia do have a few paid scouters but not highly paid like BSA scouters.  For this reason, I chose to give to the Mongolian Scout Association and in return, they awarded me with the Silver Falcon.  The Falcon is their national bird.  The presentation was done at a nice dinner in a fancy Mongolian ger (Mongolian word for yurt) and also presented to my two friends Pete Armstrong and Chinchu Chen from Taiwan for their donations.

Silver Falcon
Pete, Chen & Craig

There were a number of nice evening shows at the jamboree.  Everyone would gather and because there where viewing screens, everyone could see all the presentations.  It was very well done.

Genghis Khan
Genghis Khan

At the close of the jamboree, Pete’s Mongolian friends took us back to the hotel in Ulaanbaatar.  We would spend the next three days touring parts of Mongolia before taking the train to Beijing.  On one of those days, we took an interesting bus ride to Genghis Khan, the world’s largest equestrian statue.  It was too bad that that was probably the worst weather day we had.  That evening we slept in gers.

Mongolian Gers
Mongolian Gers
Train to Beijing
Leaving for Beijing

Our train ride to Beijing was long but interesting.  Along the way we saw wild herds of two-hump camels and yaks.  At the border, they had to change the rail wheels because they were a different gauge between Mongolia and China.  That took a good while but during that time, the Chinese could check luggage and all those other boarder things.  We traveled in cars with beds so we were able to get some sleep during the long train trip.

camels
Camels we saw on the way to Beijing
yaks
Yaks we saw on the way to Beijing

When we arrived in China, the tour company that we had given a deposit to did not have the train schedule and apparently had not made our hotel reservations.  It was really looking bad but when we did made contact with them, they tried to put us in a dump of a hotel.  I must say that Pete stood his ground and in the end, all turned out well as we stayed in a Holiday Inn.

In China, we did the normal touring; Forbidden City, Great Wall and several other interesting Chinese structures.  I had a great time with a group of nice people.  A trip I will long remember.

Chris Hagerty, A True Scouter

I met Chris in 2012 at the American Tall Ship Institute in Oxnard.  We had both been invited to learn about their mission and that was definitely right up our areas of interest.

“Our mission is to encourage positive youth and community development through environmentally aware, hands on, ocean-based programs aboard tall ships and in our boat building shop.”

Chris was very involved in Sea Scouting and Venturing with his units in Arroyo Grande and I was an Assistant Council Commissioner (ACC) for Venturing.  I had taken Seabadge back in 2004 because Sea Scouts were part of the same senior scouting program at that time.

It was a very informative day and a pleasure meeting Chris as I could see the enthusiasm that he had for all of scouting.  It was the day that would establish a long-term friendship.

Sometime in the next year, Chris got involved with the Corps of Discovery (COD) (www.sagethinking.org/corps-of-discovery/) with more enthusiasm that anyone that I had known.  I believe it was because the COD was a service society and that is what Chris was all about.  He took it upon himself to write the first and second handbook for the COD.  He then created the Corps of Discovery Founder’s Award in 2015Chris Hagerty Founders Award (www.thecorpsofdiscovery.org/founders.html).  He presented the award to Joe Garrett, me, and Matt Petrick for his service as a youth in 1999.  Joe and I have renamed the award to the Chris Hagerty Founders Award and have awarded Chris as the fourth recipient.

Chris was not just involved in the COD.  He was an advocate of the Boy Scouts of America and, in the last few years, the Baden Powell Service Association.  Of course, there were the scouting programs which were dear to his heart, but any way he could provide service to others, he would; whether it was with youth or some event that involved Dutch oven cooking.

I will always remember Chris, as he was a true scouter and I love that type of person.  They give and don’t expect anything in return.  I will miss him and his phone calls.  It’s hard to let such a young man go.

Water Parks

I love water parks.  The one close to me is Raging Waters, San Dimas, California.  The best time I had was many years ago when I got to go with my grandson and we held hands most of the day.  A memory a grandparent will never forget.

Recently, I learned about a very unique water park in San Antonio, Texas.  The story on CBS was about a father who created a special water park for his daughter who was physically challenged.  The water park featured activities that were accessible by kids in wheelchairs.  What an outstanding feature!  It brought tears to my eyes seeing all the kids, challenged and otherwise, having such a great time.  You can read the details on the CBS web site.

I’m Glad I’m a Veteran

I was fortunate that, during the Viet Nam era, when I got out of Navy boot camp I was sent straight to the Pentagon.  I already had a B.S. degree in Mathematics with training in computer science, and there were few with that skill-set back in 1969.

While in the Pentagon, I worked for the Office of the Secretary of Defense.  My most significant programming responsibility was to code a communist land movement model written by a Captain in the Air Force.  The Captain and I worked together well as I had the math skills to read all his work, and could run all the needed scenarios.

I only had to serve two years active duty, coming out of boot camp as E-2 and leaving as E-4.  The Navy requires two additional years of reserve duty, so when I started graduate school I joined a reserve unit.  Quickly, I was promoted to E-5 and found the extra money useful while going to school.  I can’t remember the details any longer, but I was offered a direct commission in the field of security because of my math background, and became an Ensign.   A couple years later, I was promoted to Lieutenant Junior Grade.  However, shortly after that, because of budget cuts, the government decided to pay officers only half-pay for attending reserve meetings.  In 1977, I finished my Ph.D. and got a good paying job, so I dropped out of the reserves.

Everyone seems to have so much respect for veterans these days, as it should be.  This is so much different than the Viet Nam era.  Of course, today is Memorial Day, a day to memorialize those who lost their lives serving our country.  I was fortunate when I was in the service getting a job where I could contribute to saving the lives of Americans.  How lucky I was compared to so many others who were sent off to Viet Nam and never returned.

Today we honor those fallen who were not so fortunate but I also want to close by thanking two great scout friends who spent their career in the military, Jim Shannon and Pete Armstrong.