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Saluting in "Class B" uniform

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From the Heart of America Council 2005 Leader's Guide for the H Roe Bartle Boy Scout Reservation:


"The Boy Scout uniform builds pride. The Scoutmaster's attitude toward wearing the Boy Scout uniform will be reflected in the dress of his troop. Scouts should wear their uniform to and from camp with prid. Scouts and Scouters who have their Class "A" uniform shall wear it to camp-wide flag ceremonies, as well as campfires, Mic-O-Say Ceremonies (if not in tribal attire) and church services. THose who do not own a complete uniform should wear their Class "B" uniform.


EVALUATION: Class B may not be a term National Council uses, but local councils sure as heck do!!!

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I say we line up all the people in Scouting who use the terms "Class A" & "Class B" uniforms & beat them with a wet noodle.


These might not be "official" BSA terms, but they are terms understood by many in Scouting.


Ed Mori

Troop 1

1 Peter 4:10

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John in KC

I have heard council trainers as recently as a few months ago say that you had to be in uniform when traveling for your insurance to be enforced. That's hogwash also. The BSA program is what the BSA says it is not what anyone else thinks it is.


BW(This message has been edited by Bob White)

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"So is one of the largest councils in the nation in violation of BSA rules by proscribing a 'Class B' activity uniform, which can apparently include various Scout-themed T-shirts, as well as the 'official red' (we assume polo-style) activity shirt?"


There is no rule against using the term "class b". Local councils are not immune to misinformation.


Scout-themed tee shirts can be part of an official activity uniform. Did you think otherwise?


"Joshua played the trumpet, so runs the ancient rhyme

He taught the Israelites to play in syncopated time.

But when they played in Jericho, their music raised a frown,

So he set the boys to swinging, and the walls came tumbling down."



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I was a Boy Scout until I turned 18. I became a Cub Scout leader when I was 36. For a few years between those ages I was in the U.S. Army, where I served for a time in a special flag detachment for color guards and other parades.


I never heard of class A and B uniforms in Scouting when I was a teenager, but I did in the Army. In the Army, your class B uniform displays your rank, just as your class A does. I don't think the same can be said of Scout "class B uniforms". There is nothing that makes them official BSA uniforms, but more on that in a moment.


In a military color guard (which I believe sets the standard), the guards and flag bearers DO NOT salute the flag. If your Scout unit wants to do it differently, that's up to your unit committee.


If your unit wants to salute the flag in a T-shirt, that's up to your unit, I guess.


Article X, Section 4, Clause 2 of the Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America states: "The official uniforms authorized as evidence of official relationship to the Boy Scouts of America shall be those approved by action of the Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America from time to time, as illustrated and correctly described in the handbooks, catalogs, and other official publications of the Boy Scouts of America."


I have yet to see an official publication with an illustration of a T-shirt being described as an official uniform, except Tiger Cub uniforms (which I have heard are going to button-front shirts too).

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I would like, if possible, to spread peace, love, and understanding on the topic of Class A and B uniforms.


It seems to me that,to most units and councils, "Class A" is a nickname for the field uniform, and "Class B" is a nickname for the activity uniform, in the same way "Smokey Bear Hat" is a nickname for the campaign hat. Use of these nicknames should not confuse people, however, about what is an approved uniform and what is not--BSA defines that, with some leeway given to units on hats, neckerchiefs, and activity uniform T-Shirts.


I suspect these nicknames took hold for a couple of reasons--their common use by the military, and the inherent confusion in calling the more formal uniform the "field" uniform.


So my modest suggestion is this: when somebody uses the term "Class A" or "Class B," we don't need another discourse on how those terms don't exist in Scouting. It's enough to say, if you must, that you assume the poster means the field or activity uniform when he or she is using one of those nicknames.

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When in uniform, salute. That includes both the field uniform and the activity uniform. A troop t-shirt is only one piece of the activity uniform and one piece of a uniform is not a uniform. A salute would not be appropriate while wearing only a T-shirt.


The Scoutmaster and Assistant Scoutmaster Leader Specific Training syllabus describes the official Scout uniform and refers to it as the field uniform. It also describes the activity uniform in detail which includes a BSA T-shirt or activity shirt (designed by the troop or a Scout camp) along with all the other parts of the field uniform.


The Uniform chapter of the Scoutmaster Handbook also describes the uniform, including the activity uniform which may be worn for informal activities, or physically active outdoor events.


Boy Scout Handbook describes the official uniform on pages 12-13. The T- shirt option for outdoor activities is described there too, although the term activity uniform is not used.

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Sure there are many in Scouting that use the term Class A or Class B when referring to uniforms. The problem is that these terms mean different things to different people. When someone says Class B are they referring to the same uniform items as the activity uniform as described in the Insignia Guide? Or, are they referring to someone wearing some form of Scouting related T-shirt with any pants or shorts or socks or hat?


Mike Walton is considered an unofficial authority by many on the Boy Scout Uniform. He talks of a class A, B, C, and D uniform. His definition of a Class B uniform is what most would call the Field Uniform or a Class A uniform.


Please check out this site:




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"unofficial authority"?


Isn't that an oxymoron? Like "military intelligence"?


I think by now most of us will recognize the activity uniform as defined by various councils, and it seems by at least a few BSA sources, does include the T-shirt option, as long as a Scout belt and pants or shorts are included also.


However, it does seem a silly argument, when we can't even seem to get Cubs and Boy Scouts to wear official pants or shorts when they wear the uniform shirt and (sometimes) neckerchief. To me they still look like a motley bunch when some are wearing grey sweatpants, another red shorts, another blue jeans, etc. What is worse is when even the leaders do not seem to care, and show up in blue jeans or khakis.


But, I guess that is for another thread.

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Having read this thread a couple of times I am reminded of a story that one of my brothers told me.


He was at the time a second generation scoutmaster and at a parade when the colors were passing he called his troop to attention and called for scout salute.


Not only did the scouts of the troop salute but several members of the audience saluted with the scout salute as well.


No mention of what uniform was worn by either the troop or the other scouts, but to me the important thing is they all showed respect to the flag and what they had learned it stood for.


Regardless of what a scout is wearing, class a,b, activity etc etc etc the (imho) is the fact that the recognize the need of that respect.


Doesn't matter how we get there but that we get there.



The challenge is to live with interest.

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In my long time at Scout camp, the staff has defined class B uniform to mean scout pants and a scout related t-shirt. (if they're wearing shorts, then scout socks are req'd but you can't see them under pant legs anyway). there are indeed days when we are told to wear the same shirt (for example the camp staff offical shirt), and during all this time, every morning at flag ceremony we salute. The idea we've tried to emulate is that a uniform is more of a cohesive element than it is a certain shirt. This was told to us by the camp director who works for the council, and it was told to him by the Council's Chief Exec.

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With minor variations, uniform is defined as "A dress of a particular style or fashion worn by persons in the same service or order by means of which they have a distinctive appearance; as, the uniform of the artillery, of the police, of the Freemasons, etc."


By that definition, "class B", t-shirts, coult be loosly considered a uniform since all members of a troop, pack, crew, wear the same. That said, the strict definition basically applies only to the BSA uniform.


What uniform to salute in is very vague and not strictly covered in the flag code, but my personal feeling is that unless in full official uniform, th ehand over the heart should be used.

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