A Scout is Loyal

Troop "Sick-Sick-Sick"

In 1975, I was registered as a Leadership Corps member of my home Troop, Troop 801, where I had just earned my Eagle, and as Senior Patrol Leader of Troop 666.

Where were my loyalities??

The Scout Law says this about loyality:

"A Scout is Loyal. A Scout is true to his family and friends, to Scouting, to his school, community and nation."

But to TWO Troops?

Troop 666 never had the start the rest of the Troops organized at Fort Knox, Kentucky had. Troop 666 was organized in 1973 and its first chartered partner quickly and quietly disassociated itself from the Troop no sooner than it started. The Scoutmaster of the Troop then "jumped ship" to become an Assistant Scoutmaster of one of the better-known Troops, and the Troop floundered.

The Commissioner of Troop 666, whom was also the new Commissioner of Troops 801 and 667, was a former Senior Drill Instructor named Paul Boals. Paul, recently rotated from Germany with his two Scout sons, Jacob and Frank, found their way to Troop 801, at that time one of the better Troops at Fort Knox, Kentucky.

Sergeant Major Boals was presented immediately with a challenge: Troop 666 is dying. It's a good Troop, with its own camping gear and a regular meeting place. It's that number that bothered some parents and kids.

Paul got the Main Post Chapel to charter Troop 666 for one year, as a "trial run". The Post Chaplain agreed, stating that "its just a number and we're glad to do our part to disspell any notion of the "bad nature of the number".

See, to many Christians, the number "666" equates to the "mark of the beast". In Revelations, the New Testament speaks of people being marked with those three numbers on their foreheads or hands. So, when the 3rd Battalion of the 54th Infantry received a charter to operate Troop number 666 (the next "free number available for the Lincoln Trail District"), the image of wearing white "666"s with a red background immediately repelled families (at least those families familiar enough with the Bible) away from the Troop.

The military unit, which called itself "the Devil's Battalion", thought that the number would go great with their military "tradition". They had no problem with the numbers, but a new Battalion Commander, with aspirations of someday commanding an Armored Brigade, distanced himself from the Boy Scout Troop with the "wicked numbers". The rest of the unit did the same, leaving parents and a small number of new Scouts without much to go on.

Us kids had another name for the Troop...we just called it "sick-sick-sick".

So it was Paul Boals that asked me to please consider lending my leadership and guidance to this Troop on its deathbed. It had no boys senior enough to serve as its leader. It's a relatively new Troop and "you can do wonders helping out the Scoutmaster", an enlisted soldier that was a Scout but never a Scouter. Paul wanted me to serve as its Senior Patrol Leader, the usually elected boy leader of the Troop, until they can get on their feet.

I agreed, telling him that I would do it after I became Eagle and only for six months. By then, I reasoned, they would be experienced enough to elect their own Senior Patrol Leader.

It was fun to once again take a Troop from the ground up, just Iike I did with Troop 801, and to build it back up!! I talked two other Scouts from other Troops into "jumping over" to Troop 666. Don Scobie and Kermit Olive knew me from high school JROTC. They became my Assistant Senior Patrol Leader and Troop Scribe, respectively.

Several times during the fall and winter, we would sit around and imagine taking a brand new Troop and finding other senior boys...and REALLY make the Troop "the best one on Post". With all of that talent, skills and egos going "...why shouldn't we be the best??" We were satisfied with just getting the twelve or so young boys in 666 ready for the Spring Camporee and summer camp.

My fellow Troop 801 Scouts didn't like one of their senior boys "working for the competition". I missed them and while they understood why I went over to "that other Troop", several called me "traitor". I had to endure that during the Spring Camporee, which in the spring of 1976, was held at Freeman Lake in E-Town. It did not help things when Troop 666 earned three red and a blue ribbon during the weekend's competition -- a better performance overall than Troop 801.

Despite the successes at the Spring Camporee and the best intentions of the Post Chapel, Troop 666 cased it's colors and merged with Troop 801 in April of 1976. Don left 666 to go back to Troop 128; "Kevin" Olive left Scouting altogether. The boys from the old Troop 666 became the Wolf Patrol of Troop 801. I was reelected, despite my "defection", as Senior Patrol Leader.

I was also elected to the Order of the Arrow, Scouting's national honorary, from Troop 801. This time, I accepted the election.

(MAJ) Mike L. Walton (Settummanque, the blackeagle)

© 1996 Settummanque! for Blackeagle Services

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