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September Blog Update

Here is a little update.  I thought I owed it to you to hear it from me about the progress of my Blog ticket which in turn has led to me seeing that I am falling short on my goals.
It is good to review once in awhile as I now know that I need to regain some focus and get back on track delivering the promise thought the blog (and Youtube channel).
Pardon all the “um’s”..
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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What will you say…

Last night I had the pleasure as I do every Monday night of having some interesting conversations with the young men of my Troop.  Much to their surprise or dismay, it ends up on the blog now and then.  Last nights conversation got me to thinking about these young men and the men that they become.
Over the past few weeks we have had the honor or conducting two Eagle Scout ceremonies or Courts of Honor.  Our Troop has made it a tradition not to present the Eagle Award during regular Troop Courts of Honor but rather give that young man his own day to be recognized for the work he has done.
During these ceremonies I typically share a thought or two about the young man and the progress he has made, usually share some outstanding quality of the Scout or a unique aspect of his growth in Scouting.  We never “Roast” them or make them look like goof balls.  The Eagle ceremony is special, so we try to keep it classy.
Last night, one of our younger Scouts came to me and shared his thought that I always seem to have something great to say about these guys that have made it to the rank of Eagle Scout.  I told him that over this many years with the guys that have made it to Eagle, we have had many shared experiences.  These Eagle Scouts have been in the Troop for a long time and every one of them remained super active.  So the active guys have more stories to share and more experience to look back on, all of which I have been there to see and do with them.
Trips to Jamboree, Philmont, and all of our monthly outings add up to a lot of time spent together, so yes, in all of that I can find something great to say about a young man who worked hard and earned his Eagle Award.
The young Scout looked up and me and asked… so I wonder what you will say at my Eagle ceremony?
That really got me thinking last night.  This group of young Scouts, what will that experience be?  What will that story sound like?  What will I share about them if and when they make it to Eagle Scout.
I looked back down at this young Scout and told him “That will be up to you.”
Stick with Scouting, be active, stay with the program and get the very most out of it and you will have a great story at the end and I will be there to share it.
He smiled and joined his friends.
That is something to think about Scout leaders.  They care enough to wonder what we will say about them.  Delivering the Promise of Scouting should be the most important part of your Scouting experience.  It will be the best part of their Eagle ceremony and a story for them to share the rest of their lives.
Think about the impact you have.  Believe it or not, they watch everything, hear everything, and want everything from you.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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8 months… Where are you?

scoutlawbelieveitIt’s August, 8 months into the year 2014, 8 months into “The POLICY” Change that sent Scouters into a tail spin running for the hills and screaming that our values suddenly changed.  8 months since the “End of Scouting” as we know it.  Really?  Where are you?  What has changed?
I have yet to see an openly gay Scout.  I have yet to have to deal with sleeping arrangements and one boy hitting on another one.  Just has not happened and I hate to be that guy.. but I told you so.
I lost a good Assistant Scoutmaster over this non issue.  And 8 months later nothing has changed except for ink on a policy letter.
So where are you?  Where are all these gay boys that were screaming to get into Scouting?  Where?
Ok… drama aside…
Last night at our District committee meeting we were discussing the real issues, in particular membership and saving Cub Scout Packs.  The idea that people have turned away from Scouting because of this policy change came up.  The fact of the matter is that nothing changed, EXCEPT… now we are open to serve ALL young men.
So, this should open doors to new membership, right?  Wrong.  Boys that are attracted to Scouting will join Scouting.  So what do we need to do to attract them?  That is what we need to do to get them in our great organization.
Ideas floated around and you know it all comes down to what Scouting is.  A great values based outdoor organization that promises adventure and fun.  It appeals to parents and boys and always has.  The biggest issue is that we do a terrible job of selling that.  We get to wrapped up on political correctness and worrying what the public perception is.  If we just stick to the basics of what Scouting is.. they will come.  But we need to tell that story.
National is not spending the dollars during prime time to tell our story.  Local Councils do not have the budget to do it either, so it’s up to us to get out there and tell the story of Scouting.
Start by know what Scouting is.  Tell the story as often as you can.  Don’t be afraid of what people think, change their minds by what they see.
A policy to allow ALL young men the opportunity to join Scouting should not have sent anyone into a tail spin, it should have opened the door to talk about what Scouting offers in the year 2014 and beyond.  Instead an over reaction and a terrible  lack of action on the part of Scouters to get out in front and say.. NO.. We invite everyone, but the need to follow our rules.. it’s that simple.
8 months into this year of change and where are they.  Those that value Scouting and Scouting’s values are here, the rest left or have not joined.
So now what.  We have a crisis in membership at the Cub Scout level.  WE NEED TO GET MORE CUB SCOUTS!
Is this policy an issue?  NO.  So lets move on and sell Scouting.
Tell our story.
From the Boy Scouts of America website;  The Boy Scouts of America is one of the nation’s largest and most prominent values-based youth development organizations. The BSA provides a program for young people that builds character, trains them in the responsibilities of participating citizenship, and develops personal fitness.
For over a century, the BSA has helped build the future leaders of this country by combining educational activities and lifelong values with fun. The Boy Scouts of America believes — and, through over a century of experience, knows — that helping youth is a key to building a more conscientious, responsible, and productive society.
Is there something there that people have a problem with?  If so, move on and tell the story to someone else.
A Scout is Friendly, Courteous and Kind.

Get out there and tell our story!
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, fitness, Ideals, Journey to Excellence, Leadership, Scouting, Service | Tags: | 14 Comments

Your Legacy – Mentoring

eaglementorWhen teaching leadership to both our youth and adults, we spend a fair amount of time discussing what it is that leaders do.  Being a Teacher, Coach, Trainer, and Mentor is found within the job description of any leader.  We find ourselves as leaders focusing on being a good teacher of skills, coaching as those skills are applied, and training our leaders to be effective.  But what of being a mentor?
Not every leader is a mentor.  We tend to throw that around a bit too much in Scouting.  We have “Eagle Mentors”  We have “Unit mentors”, we even consider “Troop Guides” in the context of Wood Badge as a mentor.  But are they really mentors in the sense of having a lasting impact on the life of someone else.
Webster defines the word Mentor as; a trusted guide or counselor.  Other words are Tutor or Coach.
I think that a lot of leaders consider themselves as mentors, but as I look back on those that I consider my mentors I can’t help but go back to the definition.  Trusted guide.  And again,I ask myself what impact if any did this person have on my life.
Looking back, I honestly consider only a few people as a mentor.
In my life I break it down to a few areas.  Work, Spiritual life, Scouting, and becoming a man.
Work.
At UPS I do not consider any one person a mentor.  The work environment tends not to value leadership, rather there is a need to manage everything at UPS as material.  In the Army however, I have had a few mentors.  Men that really made a big impact on my leadership style and ability to lead.
In the Army there is a program that places fellow soldiers, leaders, in a position to develop their subordinates.  The Non Commissioned Officer Development Program (NCODP) is designed to make junior leaders better.  I had a First Sergeant named Ted Godwin that showed me how to use the tool box of leadership to care for soldiers.  He instilled in me the concept of Mission First, Men always.  This may seem like a little thing, but at the end of the day, that is what makes for effective leaders.  In the Army, with the division of leadership roles between the Officer Corps and the Non Commissioned Officer Corps it is the NCO that ensures the men are ready for the mission.  If the men are not ready, there is little chance for the mission to be accomplished.
The basic understanding of being a caring leader, one that truly understands those that he leads became one of the hallmarks of my leadership and a lesson that I passed on to those that I lead when I was placed in a position to mentor younger soldiers.
It was his trusted leadership style that inspired me to be a leader.  When he spoke, we listened.  When he instructed, we learned.
Another mentor of mine in the Army was Command Sergeant Major Cliff Neil.  He was a technical leader and understood why people act the way they do.  He was not a tactical superstar, but when it came to behavior, he was provided hours of lessons on how to be an effective counselor and dig deeper into the reasons why a soldier acted the way he did.  He showed me that everything is not always black or white… grey sneaks in to leadership and it is the effective leader that understands that will change behavior.  Changing behavior is the goal of discipline in the sense of punishment.  It is not a sign of weak leadership to know why.    CSM Neil was tough, but fair and made me an outstanding First Sergeant.  His impact on me was manifest when I became a Sergeant Major and was placed in a position to teaching my First Sergeants.  I adopted the grey area when the First Sergeants saw only black and white.  Typically we could change behavior without destroying a soldier’s career and livelihood.
Again, a leader that I trusted was leading me in the direction of becoming an effective leader.
In my Spiritual Life, I developed a friendship and allowed Fr. Rick Sarianni to be a trusted adviser.  I valued our talks and his understanding of me and my walk in faith.  I have known many Pastors, but Fr. Rick was a special friend that lead me to a clearer understanding of just what I believe and why I believe it.
In Scouting I have many friends that have helped me along the way and some that really made an impact on the Scoutmaster that I have become.  I won’t go into the specifics as there are many, but it I feel it important that I name at least two of the men that have made a big impact on me as a Scouter.  Tim Steenbergen gave me sage advise when I was a new Scoutmaster.  Program, Program, Program was his mantra and I have taken that to the bank.  John Caputo is the other.  John is the ultimate Scouter.  I had the absolute privilege to serve on his Wood Badge staff.  I met John the first time as a learner at Wood Badge in 2005.  He left an impression on me and we became friends.  I always looked to him as a role model in Scouting.  His wisdom and knowledge of the program and how to deliver the promise.  Over the past 10 years, John has always been there with advise and instruction.  Watching him as I have staffed on two Wood Badge Courses has been a pleasure and I have learned and taken many lessons from him along the way.
Again, two trusted counselors that left a large impact on me as a Scout leader.  Along the way as a Wood badge staffer I have been blessed to learn from dedicated leaders and folks that have an equal love for Scouting.
Being a Man.
There are four people who made me the man who I am today.  The first is my Dad.  He showed me the value of family and how to treat people.  I can go on and on about the lessons learned from him.
The other three are my two sons and my daughter.  Little did they know, but they guided me to being the Dad and man that I am.  They forced me to lead them and be consistent in how I raised them.  Without their pushing my life could have been different.  The obligation of being a Father was something that I could not take lightly.  The proof is in the pudding as they say.  I am a good man for them and they turned out to be fantastic young adults.
When a young man becomes an Eagle Scout we challenge him to prove that he earned it every day.  My wife has done that for me daily as we challenge on another to be good parents and people who can show our kids the way to being good adults.
So being a mentor is not something that just comes with leadership, it is something that has to be taken on as an obligation with the understanding that you will be impacting the life of someone else.  As I said, not all leaders are mentors.  I can think of many leaders that have come and gone throughout my life that I will never consider a mentor.  They were neither a trusted counselor nor would I consider them wise in the lessons learned.  By definition these leaders just lead.  In so far as their impact on me, I can not measure it.
Being a mentor is leaving your legacy.  That in and of itself seems to be lofty, but in the end, it is what mentor-ship is all about.  Passing on what I have to the next the generation.  Giving the gift of knowledge, of life skills and lessons, of whatever wisdom I have acquired to the next generation.
The other night after our latest Eagle Court of Honor I removed the Mentor Pin from my shirt that had just been placed there by our newest Eagle Scout.  This pin means the world to me, as do the other mentor pins I have received over the years.  I took a mental inventory of those pins and the Scouts that felt as though I had made an impact on their lives.  A pin from one of the Scouts of my Jamboree Troop back in 2010.  He gave me the pin stating that had it not been for me being his Scoutmaster at Jamboree he would have quit Scouting all together and would have never finished his Eagle Award.  Another Scout from my Troop presented me a mentor pin along with a picture of the two of us on a camp out.  He shared that the life lessons he learned from me are shaping him into the man who he wants to be.  Yet another pin reminded me of the young man that I have known all of his Scouting life.  He had always been a work in progress, but in the end blossomed into a fine young man.  He credited my straight talk and insistence on taking care of the little things to insure success.  He is well on his way to being a good man and I look forward to seeing him continue to grow.
It is that obligation to making an impact that I take serious.  Not every Scout, or person for that matter seeks guidance.   Sometimes it comes without a plea, it is a young man who hovers in the background taking it all in, that one day shakes your hand and thanks you for what you have done.
Understand this, Your actions, Your wisdom, Your behavior, and Your willingness to make a real difference in the life of someone else is what matters when in comes to being a mentor.
Trust, Competence, Being a Friend, these are qualities of being a mentor.  It is not the patch that you wear or the position that you hold.  It is your willingness to serve.
Leaving your legacy must be important to you, not for ego or pride, but for the future of those you mentor.
What is your impact, what is your legacy?  Are you a mentor?

Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog, Character, Citizenship, Ideals, Leadership, Service, Skills, Values | Tags: , | 2 Comments

What are you getting?

joshTribOn the eve of my youngest son departing for college it is once again a time to think back on the past 18 years watching him grow into this great young man.  I can’t help but think about getting the most out of life when I think about Josh’s childhood and so it reminds me of the life lessons I have shared with him and lessons that I have shared with our Scouts.
I have always said that you get out of something what you put into it.  You get out of Scouts what you put into it, you get out of life what you put into it.
Josh is heading to college not just to get an education, but to live a dream.  Ever since he was old enough to hold a Football he has held on to the dream of playing at the next level.  Which ever level that is.  When he was in youth league it was Middle School Football.  Then it was High School Football and making the Varsity team.  Then it was College.
He has put in more effort to reach his goals than most teenagers put effort into anything in their lives.  And what he will get out of it will be living his dream.
The other day we had a discussion about the 4% of the Scouts that join Scouting that earn the Eagle Award.  The effort that they put into Scouting ultimately pays off in the award.  A lack of effort or desire will produce just that.  Some will fall short of the Eagle award, not due to lack of effort but drive or motivation.  They have a great experience, but fail to make it to their goal, unless the experience is the goal.
But we know for sure that you get out of life what you put into it.  Life is not unfair, it simply rewards people who make a choice to do more.  A lack of effort in life will result in not being a success.  Put more effort in, get more out.
One thing that I love about Josh’s story is that it reinforces the idea of “No excuses”.  I have watched as coaches over the years have asked the players what they want.  Results or excuses?  You can’t have both.  Put more effort into results and you will find success.  Put more effort into excuses and you get nothing.  Josh has embraced that attitude when it comes to everything in his life.
The couple of months before his 18th Birthday it was clear he would not be earning his Eagle award.  We talked and he asked if I was disappointed in him.  No I told him.  He had to make a choice and he decided on Football.  This was after a great summer of college visits, college recruiting trips, letters from schools, and the single best season of his life.  Not to mention the leadership he was showing in his Senior class, good grades, and enjoying every moment of his last year in High School.  He had put in the effort and was seeing the rewards ahead.  It is a Father’s job to help his kids dreams come true and Josh is seeing it all become real.
This weekend I spent a little time working on wrapping up summer camp, our big backpack trek, planning.  I looked at the list of Scouts attending versus the list of Scouts not going.  It reinforced the idea of what do our Scouts get out of Scouting.  If they are here to get a lot of merit badges and rank, that’s what they will get.  Anyone can earn merit badges.  The experiences, the mountain top shared experiences that can only be found seeking new adventures, the life lessons and skills, those can’t be found in the merit badge program.  They don’t require the effort, they don’t require the skills and shared trial that comes with living within the Patrol, Crew or Team.  They are what they are, but at the end of the day, they are not going to get you what you really want out of Scouting or life.  They are not what you will look back on and remember as the thing that kept you moving toward your goal.  They are not what you will see as real effort that led to reward.
So tonight we load up the truck and get ready to head South to move Josh into the next level, the next chapter of his life.  As he looks back on the last four years, it was not the games lost or won, it is not the merit badges or rank he earned in Scouts.  It is the experiences.  The friends, team mates, patrol members.  It is great seasons on the grid iron.  It is a trip to the National Jamboree.  It is the leadership he showed and experiences he shared.  It is the dream he is chasing and the reality of it coming true.
I am Proud of him.  Not just because he is my son, but because he is a good man of character.  He works hard, plays hard, and is full of life.
Ask yourself, what are you getting out of life?  If it’s not a lot… you are not trying hard enough.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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I’m Calling you out!

hoseAt our Troop meeting last night we got into a good discussion about “kids these days”.  I contend that the kids are no different, they are still kids.  The world is the same.  It still spins and the sun rises in the East and sets in the West.
I know that all of you have seen those posts on Facebook, you know the ones that say something like;
If you remember drinking from a hose, playing outside till the street lights came on, playing Cowboys and Indians, having dirt clod fights, standing on the swing set, getting a bloody nose because you spun on the merry-go-round to fast, than you are were part of this or that generation..  Hit like and Share.. you know… that post.
Well, who is it that posts and shares that.  WE DO.  We, the adults that are raising kids today.  SO…
I’m calling you out.
The world has not changed.. WE DID.  We got soft and now won’t let our kids do what we did… but we find comfort in sharing that hypocritical garbage on Facebook.
LET YOUR BOYS BE BOYS or stop posting that stuff.
We got into a discussion about “The Greatest Generation” the other day.  What made them great.  The world at that time was a scary place.  We came out of worse economic times, a World War and then another one.  We saw mass murder and a generation of young Americans scared for life by what they experienced in their war.
I contend that this generation should be the Greater.  But we will not let them.
We fill them full of pills, we hand our participation ribbons and try as hard as possible not to hurt their feelings.  We keep them in a bubble and never let them explore their world.  We set limits and boundaries and teach them to add by counting dots not numbers.  We preach that the world is their oyster but never let them get in the water.
We are hypocrites.  This generation will never be great because we won’t let them.
We send them off to fight in a war that no one wants to win.  What is the message.  I don’t care about politics.. we fight to win.. or don’t go.   Tyranny is Tyranny, Nazi or Taliban.. they are the same enemy so lets win, just like we did in 1945.  That winning helped shape the generation.
Let them drink from a hose and get skinned knees.  It only hurts for a while.
I once heard a Sergeant of mine tell us that “pain is temporary, being a loser is a life sentence.”  It comes done to the character of the generation.  WE are growing that generation and I find it unacceptable.
So.. what are we going to do about it.  Nothing.  We will hit like and maybe share… but at the end of the day, we will shelter, over protect, and dump a gallon of hand sanitizer on our sons and buy them a new video game.  What’s the worse thing that can happen there?
Crime is no worse, the woods are still the woods, creepy people are still out there as they always have been, and the world is not coming to an end any time soon.
I’m calling you out!  What are you going to do?
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Just a Quick note to the Blog Followers.

1450824_244807472343666_426054249_nI just hit ‘Publish’ on my latest post and thought that I needed to drop a quick note to all of the followers of the blog.
As you may have noticed, I went from daily posts to more random, less frequent posts lately.  There is no lack of interest or passion.  I am just busier than heck right now and the blog had to take a back seat.
As you should know if you have been following, our youngest Son, Josh is graduating from High School this week.  Now under normal circumstances that would mean family coming into town, parties and of course the graduation ceremony itself.
With Josh being recruited to play college football it has also meant long rides down to California where he will be attended college, time spent on the phone with coaches, getting him into the School, dorms etc.  Football players are required to take Summer term also as they are on campus practicing.  So we have gone from 0 to 60 in days.
I do not want to sound like I am complaining, but this process is not an easy one.
For Josh there was a lot of uncertainty as to where he would be going to School.  While his classmates all filled out college applications early in the year, most being accepted as early as April, Josh had to wait to see which college was going to take him to be on the football team.  In most cases this process can go right up to graduation.  We were luckier in that we had a month to get it all done.
In talking with other parents that are going through this and college coaches we have learned the reality is that there just are not a lot of Division 1 athletes out there.  You know the guys that you hear about on ESPN or go on to get full rides at Notre Dame.  There are thousands of high school football players that will never play another game after high school.  So between Div 1AA, II, III, NAIA, and JC there is a ton of competition for those limited roster spots.  It only takes a visit, an injury, or a phone call for everything to change at the last-minute of your high school life that will impact where you go, if you go, and what you will do next.
For us as a family this has been stressful and exciting at the same time.  Josh landed in a good spot.  Today, he is not a DIV 1 athlete, like most of the high school players around the nation.  That is reality, but his dream and opportunity live on and he has the chance of one day being that guy that made his dream come true.
So the blog has suffered a little in this period of transition as we have done what we can to move our son forward.
I am still working my blog ticket.. and it is coming along, slow but sure.
Thanks for your patience and your comments.
Thanks for hanging in there.
Thanks for coming back, again and again.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Liberty

soldiersalute
Our Nation remembers today those that have given for our Country.  Their motives all different, their sacrifice great.
John F. Kennedy once said, “Let every nation know, whether it wishes us well or ill, that we shall pay any price, bear any burden, meet any hardship, support any friend, oppose any foe to assure the survival and the success of liberty.”
That is in the heart of those that serve and have served.  Articulated in many ways, but there just the same.
God Bless those that serve and have served, especially on this Memorial Day.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

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Memorial Day 2014

bluestarEach passing year brings new or rekindled emotions as we enter the Memorial Day weekend.  This past year I have sparked new interest in my status as a Veteran as I have renewed some friendships with men that I served with long ago and have taken a look at my career as a soldier and the what that all means now that I am removed from that part of my life.
What I have learned more than anything else is that the bonds and at a risk of sounding cliché, the brotherhood shared with the men that I served with are lasting.
This morning I watched a TED talk.  The subject was “Why Veterans miss war”.  I thought, this guy must be out of his mind.  The speaker is Sebastian Junger, he was an “embed” that is what we called embedded reporters, those reporters that become a part of a unit through the time of their deployment.  Junger was embedded with a unit in Afghanistan, a unit made famous by the documentary “Restrepo”.  Junger followed the 2nd Platoon B Company 503rd Infantry of the 173rd Airborne.  Again, I thought this guy was an absolute nut case, but I thought to myself; “Well, I’ve seen the movie and it tells the story of pretty much what any Infantry Platoon is like, so I’ll listen to his talk”.  His point is that they do not miss the battle, they don’t miss the conditions or the locations.  What they miss when they get home is the brotherhood.  The idea that there is no one in our daily lives that will ever understand the bond and the love that we have for one another.  The absolute trust that this man to my left and the man to my right love me enough to give their life for me.  They know that in their daily contacts there is no one that will do that in Anytown, USA.  That bond is left on the battlefield, in the FOB (Forward Operating Base), in the camp.  They will never have that contact again in the context that it belongs and so they miss war.
My war-time experience was a little different in that by the time the Army saw fit to send me to war, I had progressed through the ranks and now was in a position at the Battalion level.  680 soldiers in our care, the Commander and I knew that beyond good decision-making our soldiers were in the hands of those men directly to their left and right.  This is a weird position to be in as we knew what it took to be at those squad and platoon levels, but now were removed to a certain extent from “their world”.  The brotherhood and bond though in an Infantry Battalion remains the same.  My love for those soldiers was and ever will be deep and true.
As the Senior Non Commissioned Officer of the Battalion it was my charge to ensure that the NCO’s of the Battalion were trained and ready to serve their men.  I can remember the day before we deployed to Iraq I called all of the NCO’s of the Battalion together.  From the Team Leaders all the way up through the First Sergeants.  I shared some thoughts about leadership and keys that will get up through the next year.  The final thought was simple.  Love your men.  When you love them you will serve them.  Know that you will not be able to shelter them or put a bullet proof force field around them, but every decision you make, every move that take, you need to put them ahead of yourself.  That bond of trust and love made us successful.  It was not easy and not without pain and decent, but the NCO’s of my Battalion understood that no matter the mission, the circumstances, or the decision, we would take care of our soldiers.
It’s weird to look a man in the eye and wish him well as he is about to leave the safety of the FOB and enter bad guy country.  Could that the last time you see him?  I had many close friends that I served with, men that at one time or another we developed friendships and bonds that proved painful on days that we knew would be bad.  One such soldier was Scott Shobert.  Scott and I served for years together, he always being in a subordinate role.  Squad leader when I was a First Sergeant etc.  Scott later became a Sergeant Major also and is now retired.  One evening Shobert was taking his Platoon out on a patrol to set an ambush along a know route that the insurgents used to move supplies.  They also knew that this route was used by US forces to move supplies in and out of Baghdad.  On this particular evening there was a weird feeling flowing through the camp and the platoon seems a bit antsy.  I talked with Scott before they mounted up.  He had his platoon doing Pre Combat checks and he turned to me and smiled.  “We’ll be alright Sergeant Major” he said.  “I know” I said.  As he jumped into the back of the 5 ton, the last man to load, I reached up and shock his hand.  That weird feeling that I may not see him again.  It was that moment that I really got it.  That feeling of brotherhood.  The Battalion Commander walked up and said that he wanted someone from HQ to have eyes on the ambush that night, there was a container with US equipment broke down in the area and it was pretty high on the priority list that we care for it.
I told the Commander that I would go.  My driver and I got ready and followed the Patrol out and joined them.  The rest of the company moved into that area later in the night and the ambush was set.  As we lay there in tall grass overlooking the ambush site, I could hear the nervous energy coming from the men of the support by fire position.  Chewing gum like it was the last piece on earth savoring each and every chew.  One soldier looked at and asked what the hell I was doing there.  I told him that I was there to make sure he didn’t do anything stupid.  He smiled at me and said “yes mom”.. we let out a quiet chuckle.
What happened the rest of that night doesn’t really matter and surely does not need to be shared in this context.  The point is that is what I miss.  So I suppose Junger is right.  We do miss it.
On the other hand.  This Memorial Day, I think about all the men that I served with, especially those that rest eternally in the Great Assembly area.
I fly a Blue Star Banner in my window at my house.  This is the same Blue Star Banner that my wife flew for me.  Now it serves my neighborhood as a reminder that my Son is serving and will one day answer the call.  Today, he is developing that bond that I know so well.  Today, my son is a part of the Brotherhood of Infantrymen, like me that know what it means to look left and right and commit to never, ever letting that man down.  That is something that does not exist here.  There are people in our neighborhood that do not know what the banner means, they don’t understand why my flag fly’s proud in the front yard.  They will never know.  They say “Thank you for your service”, but for the most part do it because they are supposed to now a days.
goldstarThere is a woman in our community that flies a Gold Star Banner at her home.  Her husband was one of my Soldiers.
This Memorial day, I think of him.  Staff Sergeant Brad Lindsey.  Killed in Action.
I can honestly tell you that I never want to trade my Blue Star for a Gold one… but this day.. above all others we Honor those that bear the burden of that Gold Star and remember the Soldier that the Star represents.
This Memorial Day Weekend stop for 10 minutes and remember.  It is impossible in America today not to be effected by the loss of a Soldier.  In every community, in every Town, City, and State of our Country we have felt the sting of the loss of a Soldier.
The only day of my Army career that I ever shed a tear was at the funeral of Lindsey.  His loss hurt me deep.  He was a good man, he was a great husband and father.  He was my radio operator when I was a First Sergeant and proved himself a good Soldier.
Take time and thank them, Honor them, talk to the living, and pray for dead.  Most of all Love them.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog | Tags: | 1 Comment

A great time for Scouting…

I mean now of course.. I am not one to wish for that simpler time, we can’t have that back.  What we can do is keep Scouting the way it is supposed to be.  Fun, Adventurous, and an organization that builds up men.
I stumbled on this neat video, thought I’d share it.  Imagine if we could just get back to the basics and deliver the promise of Scouting the way it should be.
Enjoy.
Have a Great Scouting Day!

Categories: blog | Tags: | 1 Comment

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