Jump to content

Military uniform items with scouting?

Recommended Posts

I stayed in L/S Centennial BSA uniform for all parts of both weekends of my recent Wood Badge training, which included a fairly steep and long hike, camping in remote locations, work detail, etc... With the exception of a desert patterned GORE-TEX jacket worn when chilly, and a set of green jungle boots I got from Altama a *long* time ago, I was completely BSA-clad.


Had *no* problems with anything BSA-sponsored or BSA-owned.


Let there be no doubt: I'm a fan of Uncle Sugar's stuff - I should be, given my former occupation and my current one also. Noted, I am also sold on what I used from the BSA inventory every bit as much.


For standard BSA ops, the BSA stuff seems plenty sufficient and seemingly-able to stand at least normal wear and tear that we put our threads through....


My $0.02, worth what you paid for it! :)

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • Replies 54
  • Created
  • Last Reply

Top Posters In This Topic

At the risk of invoking someone, here is an extract from the Rules and Regulations, Article X, Section 4, Clause 4b:


"Imitation of the United States Army, Navy, or Marine Corps uniforms is prohibited, in accordance with the provisions of the organizations Congressional Charter."


To me this says two things:


SUPPLY GROUP: Don't draw your designs from the military.


UNITS under charter: The current military uniform cannot be your basic uniform. (Stosh, I'd say a re-enactment uniform, older, would be OK ... but I'd be leery of the just departed BDU era.).


BTW, I wear Cabela's and Bass Pro patented civilian camouflage when in the field, for appropriate activities. :-) Nothing wrong with wearing camo, just not DOD's current camo.


If you want DOD uniforms, go with Pappy and join the Young Marines.

Link to post
Share on other sites

"(j) A person in any of the following categories may wear the uniform prescribed for that category:

(1) Members of the Boy Scouts of America.

(2) Members of any other organization designated by the Secretary of a military department."


According to your earlier post, this US Code seems to me to apply directly to the BSA legally being able to wear US military uniforms, thus the use of the US Navy Uniform for Sea Scouts, the same way Civil Air Patrol can wear the US Air Force uniform. I can't imagine how "may wear" can be reinterpreted to "may not wear". It's not like the Secretary of a military department has given permission to members of the BSA to wear their own uniform. I'm thinking they are referring to the use of current military uniforms.


The only difference is that the BSA has chosen NOT to wear the US military uniforms except the US Navy uniform.


On the other hand ANYONE can wear historical uniforms, no problem. This is what keeps military surplus stores in business. It's just that active military uniforms are restricted to BSA and other civilian organizations that are specifically authorized to do so.


Originally the BSA and US Army wore the same uniform and eventually BSA buttons were added, eventually modifications were needed by the military that BSA didn't need and even though the same company made both uniforms, they somewhat went their different ways. Finally the BSA dropped the tunic and went with the military style shirt only, and now only slight vestiges of anything military remain.


It was as if the law was originally laid out and never revisited or rescinded. It's kinda like the laws that prohibit tying your horse to a parking meter. It is still on the books but no one really cares anymore because it has become rather moot in nature.


In the case of Sea Scouts, however, the trend continues today.



Link to post
Share on other sites



OK, CAP youth squadrons, being an official auxiliary of the US Air Force, are wearing their uniforms under the approval of the Secretary of the Air Force. When they co-charter Venturing Crews, the experiences I've seen (and my local VFW did that for several years) is that the BSA charter is for access to BSA facilities, not to use BSA program materials.


On the Army, I can cut to the chase quickly:


There is nothing in neither AR 670-1 nor the Common Tables of Allowances authorizing BSA to use Army uniforms. The word SCOUT is mentioned once in AR 670-1, and that is in reference to wearing unique Infantry items.

Link to post
Share on other sites



As well intended you might be I think the group here has shown that you really are beating a dead horse. You can believe whatever you want to but in this case you are just plain wrong because your interpretations are way two broad and sweeping and inaccurate.

Link to post
Share on other sites

This military officer has no trouble with anybody in BSA using or wearing military attire or equipment. For many of my scouts, borrowing mom or dad's rucksack or sleeping bag means the difference between going camping or not....borrow or buy military gear. Camping gear and BSA uniforms are outrageously expensive for many scouts with miltary parents so I don't have a problem, I want them out camping and enjoying BSA.


I try real hard to encourage my adult military volunteers to get civilian equipment/uniforms, but having them involved is more important than what they wear or camp with. I've got tons of military gear from 33 years of service that I let Scouts borrow all the time. I still use lots of military gear. Summer of 09, my Philmont crew all carried Army 1 quart canteens and canteen cups, plus other water bottles. One of the crew members carried two army canteens, so what, he had a great time. I wore my very, very comfortable Army boots at Philmont, instead of my heavy duty Asolo, also comfortable, but heavier.


Old outdated army gear no issue with me, especially now that the woodland pattern of cammies are no more. They make great field pants and the Goretex is first class, especially if you have one modified from Korea or Germany with the field jacket liner sewn in/removable like mine. Bottom line up front, get the kids outdoors with whatever resources you have available, including military gear/clothing. My last troop's neckerchief was forest green with a specific Army Unit's patch sewn on it. Since 80% of the families were associated with the unit and they were our semi-official sponsor....Worked for us!

Link to post
Share on other sites
  • 1 month later...



Don't much care about bdu,s and boots. I see kids at summer camp at flags in bermuda shorts and their scout shirts.


So here is my problem...or opportunity:


Several of the adults in my troop are ex-military including myself. I go farther in that I was also a member of an organization that did some of the neato things the Marine Silent Drill team does.


I have a core of boys with the support of the new scoutmaster that want to form and formally trained Color Detail for parade and ceremonial event. They want this to be a self perpetuating thing that will set the model for their fellow scouts and maybe we can lose the bermuda shorts and actually stand at attention during reveille and retreat.


The vast majority of those boys as well as us ex military types are sick of boy scout color guards being viewed as ...sloppy is the nicest thing I've heard.


So uniform question - Flag ceremonials and color guards shold always be covered (hats) And by the way the offical smokey bear hats the Scouts have are the official headgear of marine corps drill instructors so how is that within the rules. The boys also want something to distinguish the members that have earned the right to be a member of the color guard. SO this is what they want to do. and I have talked them DOWN, not up


During ceremonials where they are presenting, marching, or handling the flag - Full Class A's, BERETS with the color guard pin on it. Normal Class a wear, they want new members to be awarded a single strand shoulder cord that can be worn at all times with their scout shirt. They wanted a patch and I thought the shoulder flash that said color guard but thought the cord alone when not performing and the beret and cord in full uniform while performing would be sufficient. They want to do it right and in an military manner as flag ceremonials are supposed to be so. Beret and cord in green to match the official scout pants. I talked them out of bib scarf and gloves and rifles though we'll see what the scout exec thnks after he sees what they can do. They will be trained in accordance with the Army manual of arms to do it RIGHT or at least in as much a military manner as possible. We should be at least able to match the Fire Department.


I remember as a when a kid scouts had a beret. What happened to it. So gentleman and ladies. Should I foresee a problem in the wearing of beret and cord, cord at all times, while performing flag ceremonials by a constituted Troop Color Guard? And then tell me why when any and every organization. civic, public, or governmental, from the VFW, to the Fire Department color guards ALL wear COVER and GLOVES when handling the flags in any ceremonial or parade.


They want by their bearing their appearance and their performance for people who are used to seeing Boy Scouts sorry excuse for Color Guards to say...WOW.



Link to post
Share on other sites

From the BSA Insignia Guide -


"No alteration of, or additions to, the official uniforms, as described in the official publications, or the rules and regulations covering the wearing of the uniform and the proper combinations thereof on official occasions, may be authorized by any Scouting official or local council or any local executive board or committee, except the Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America after consideration by the Program Group Committee."


"No alteration of, or additions to, the official badges and insignia or in the rules and regulations governing their use or their location upon the uniform may be authorized by any Scouting official, local council, local executive board, or committee except the national Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America and committees specifically authorized thereof."


"Boy Scouts or Venturers who are members of bands, drill teams, or drum and bugle corps affiliated with a unit or a local council must wear the official uniform for their registration status."


"The wearing of special helmets, scarves, gloves, unofficial leggings, and the carrying of ceremonial guns or swords by members of such organizations using the uniforms of the Boy Scouts of America is in violation of the Rules and Regulations of the Boy Scouts of America."



So, BSA is VERY clear that your berets, color guard pins, shoulder cord, color guard patch, shoulder flash, bibs, gloves, and rifles, etc, are all NOT allowed, under the BSA policy of no alteration of the uniform, or it's insignia.


What other organizations do, or wear, when preforming a flag ceremony, has nothing to do with what the BSA allows.


Have you ever talked to your Summer Camp Director about requiring all flag ceremony participants (caller, flag bearers, color guard) to be in full uniform?


If you want people to say "WOW" when they see your Troop do a flag ceremony, instead of pushing your boys to imitate a military color guard, even though it is against BSA rules, have them wear a COMPLETE BSA UNIFORM. To distinguish the members of the Troop color guard from the other Troop members, you should get your Council Scout Executive's permission to do custom neckerchiefs.





Link to post
Share on other sites





2) I agree with Nike, everyone of your scouts should be able to do the ceremony, not just a select few. I know that when I worked summer camp every single staffer, except dining hall staff, had to practice doing the flag ceremonies during staff week AND had to be able to do it properly with only a few minutes notice.


3)In reference to campaign covers, aka "Smokey Bears," they are still BSA authorized. What I've seen done, and did with the ones issued to me by my old council for completing Brownsea 22 back in the day and staffing JLTC (the predecessors to NYLT) which were government surplus hats, was to get leather scout hatbands and put them on the hat to cover up the ribbon band. For the one that is "field experienced" and been shot at by German scouts, I use a boot lace for a chin strap, the newer one in better shape fro formal ceremonies has a scout chin strap.


Now Scouts can wear the First Class Pin on them irregardless of rank, and adults wear the pewter pin. Me personally I would love the BSA to allow the actual rank the scout is to be on the hat, and make the pins larger too.


Now in my troop, and in my council for that matter, as a youth, the only folks who wore those smokey bears were Wood Badgers and Brownsea 22 (and later JLTC) graduates. BUT I have seen photos of troops wearing them as their uniform hat. So if you want them, and can find them cheap, GO FOR IT!


As why the smokey bear is OK, remember it was a western hat before being adopted by the military. Also originally the BSA wore uniforms almost identical to the militray, and the BSA is still authorized to wear military uniforms with BSA identifications IF they choose to. At the moment, only the Sea Scouts do so, i.e. "crackerjacks," "dungerees" etc.


4) If your troop decides to go with a beret, then you can do it. If you go that route, I'd pick one color for the entire troop and customize it with the troop info/logo. If you wanted some patrol individualization, put patrol medallions on them. I personally wouldn't go with the patrol customization, sticking with a troop version. Then again I usually wear my smokey bear. Only time you will catch me in a beret is if I am wearing my gray Air Scout beret from the UK in my Venturing uniform.


5) as stated, color guard patches, pogey cords, gloves, etc are specifically banned by BSA regs. Wouldn't go there. I know that my old council did have some type of color guard training program, and they issued a temp patch saying you completed the training, BUT not that you were a color guard member.


6) I applaud your effort to get scout color guards up to par with other organizations. BUT I would focus on your entire troop to be able to do that, instead of a select few. Talk to the SPL and PLC, see what they think, and if they are on board, help them out.


7) If you want to use a drill manual, I'd use the current Sea Scout one found on http://seascout.org/ Type in Drill manual in the search box and it will hook you up with the book. It is based upon NAVMC2691.




go Old School Scouting, and have your SPL and PLs teach the old scout signals. Older scout manuals written by Green Bar Bill have them, and I bet KUDU's website http://www.inquiry.net/ has them on there as well. My troop did use them growing up.


Again good luck and hope it helps!



Link to post
Share on other sites

Our PLC decided a few years ago to use a camo pattern for the troop t-shirt. I had been warned about this issue and took it to Council. They told me to not allow camo. (It wasn't BDUs or other real/former/replica military uniform item - just cheap camo t's from t-shirt shop.)


After thinking about it a bit, I sided with PLC and we have some awesome camo shirts the boys are proud to wear with troop logo on the front and troop motto on the back.


Since we got the camo t-shirts, I always wear specific black t-shirts under my Scout uniform while the boys are in public (camporees, etc) wearing the troop t. I'm waiting for the time when someone comes to tell me the boys can't wear those t-shirts because they look like they might be military uniforms. When that happens, I'll unbutton a bit and ask if it would be better if the boys were wearing black t-shirts like mine. Then I'll tell the complainer my t-shirt really is an official military uniform item purchased at a military clothing sales shop, therefore, according to BSA, illegal. Really? It's just a black t-shirt. Black is a color. Brown, tan, green - they're just colors. Is BSA really outlawing colors? I think we have better things to worry about.


My guys love their troop t-shirt and are proud to wear it. It's called Spirit and it has a magical effect on many things within a troop.


Nobody has complained to me, yet, but I'm ready to have a little fun!

Link to post
Share on other sites




*** And here I thought our job was to guide the PLC. That might include reminding them that a Scout is Obedient. What did you teach your Scouts? Perhaps next time they'll want a swastika on their shirts, claiming it's Native American. Will you guide them then, or "side with the PLC"?


Link to post
Share on other sites

BDPT00 - You're out of line equating a camo colored troop t-shirt with clear Boy Scout markings with something almost-universally hateful like a swastika.


I did get an opinion from Council to not do it, but researched the language and realized while there is a ban on incorporating uniform items, there is no ban on colors.


"Stupid rules are meant to be broken." - Col Sherman T. Potter, 4077th MASH


We'll see you on down the trail.

You'll know it's us.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Create New...