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Explorer Uniform

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I was at an auction the other day and picked up some old uniforms. I was wondering if someone could give me some informaion on the Explorers uniform from the early to mid 70's.


Here is what I have:


Green Shirt with Red and White Community Strips


Unit Numbers


Lodge Flap


Leadership Corps Patch


Eagle Patch


1976 Camporee Patch


1970 Camporee Neckerchief


I also have several old uniform pants, some white and some green.


Blank MB sash


2 OA Ordeal Sashes


Can anyone help me with understanding this uniform. I was thinking about putting it on display maybe at camp or Let the council Office Borrow it.

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In the 1970's, the dark (forest) green exploring shirt was authorized for wear by the Leadership Corps in Boy Scout Troops. The Leadership Corps was made up of "senior" level Boy Scouts, boys 14 and older who were at least First Class. The Leadership Corps was essentially a patrol of older, more experienced Scouts. Initially, the age was 14-15 because the expectation was that at 16, a Scout would become a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster (as long as he was at least First Class)or be moved to Exploring but that eventally changed and the Leadership Corps could be made up of any Scout 14 or above.


Leadership Corps members were expected to provide leadership and instruction to the Troop as needed, but were also encouraged to do their own things.


You'll recognize these same functions today with "high adventure" patrols of older Scouts, Troop Guides, Troop Instructors, etc.


The Senior Patrol Leader was the head of the Leadership Corps (but could appoint an ASPL to run the Corps) which gave rise to some believing that there really was such a thing as a Senior Patrol and that the function of the Senior Patrol Leader changed from running the Troop to just running the Senior Patrol (adult led, here we come!).


The Leadership Corps (created in 1972) nominally replaced the "Senior Scouts" which was a replacement for the Explorers which started out as a division of a Troop but when it was separated into it's own discrete program, the Senior Scouts was created for boys over 14 who stayed with their Troops - all this really meant is that you could put a strip that said "senior" above the Boy Scout Strip. Nothing else was ever really done with it. Creation of the Leadership Corps was meant to address that deficiency.


Based on your description, what you have is a Boy Scout Leadership Corps uniform and not an Exploring uniform. Take a look at the BSA Strip - with a Leadership Corps emblem on the shirt, it should read Scout B.S.A. or similar. If it's an Exploring uniform, it would read Explorers.


Something many people aren't aware of - the infamous Red Beret could only be worn, initially, by members of the Leadership Corps. With the forest green shirt, the red beret looked particularly sharp. BTW, the rest of the uniform for the Leadership Corps remained as it was for Boy Scouts. The khaki green pants and matching belt, though leadership corps members wore red tabs for their socks and not the green tabs when they wore shorts.


But what about the Explorer uniform? It had the same forest green shirt but with a strip that read Explorer, forest green pants, and white web belt. Explorers didn't wear neckerchiefs, they wore brown neckties. The white web belt was meant to go with white spats that was part of the uniform.


In 1969, Exploring became a co-ed program. Around that time, there was a change in uniforming policy for Exploring. Individual Explorer Posts could now determine what their uniforms would be. The forest green Exploring uniform was no longer the only option. As long as the post members all wore the same thing, as agreed upon by the post, it was that post's uniform. In a lot of units (including my own Explorer posts), the uniform pants were blue jeans. Police and Fire posts often adopted uniforms similar to their sponsoring departments. The big "E" became the prime identifier of Exploring and it was requested that any uniforms have that identifier on it. So in the 1970's, the uniform varied by Post. Their were some Posts that still wore the "traditional" Explorer uniform but most that I'm aware of dumped the tie, an changed the white web belt to a brown leather belt, and burned the spats.


One of my posts uniforms was a dark blue work shirt with the insignia on it along with jeans. Since that was my primary unit when I was a Lodge Vice Chief, thats the uniform I wore, much to the continuing chagrin of the Lodge Chief. After attempting to guilt me in to buying a Boy Scout uniform to wear to OA functions, he tried to embarass me into it by having the Council Commission hold a sample uniform inspection as part of an OA Work Weekend banquet - the Commissioner was a pretty sharp cookie and asked if the uniform I was wearing was the uniform that my Post had chosen - I said yes - and was the only person to get a 100% on the inspection, despite me wearing jeans. Not even the Lodge Chief got 100%. (Sorry, digressing).


The Leadership Corps patch should be a trapezoid - it changed to a round patch in 1987, two years before the BSA dumped the program for the in troop Venture/Varsity program. The forest green shirt was completely dropped in 1979 - most Explorer Posts had stopped using them by this time and there just weren't enough Scouts in the Leadership Corps to justify the continued cost of supplying them.

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I was an Explorer in the 1968-1972 timeframe. The uniform was the forest green shirt, forest green matching trousers, brown tie (clip on), white web belt, brown socks and forest green overseas cap. On the left shirt pocket was the "CircleV" Exploring emblem...no rank was worn, although I still went from Life to Eagle as an Explorer. For summer, we wore Boy Scout green shorts, and knee socks with red tabs, and an open collar short sleeve forest green shirt. Above the left pocket was "Exploring" or "Explorers, BSA" embroidered in brown.




PS: If you have white uniform pants, they would have to be from a Sea Explorer uniform. Explorers did not wear those, unless adopted by the Post as indicated above.(This message has been edited by papadaddy)

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That is a lot of information that helps with the identification f this uniform.



That was a good history. The uniform that I have is that of the Exploring. That is what is on the Strip. Not BSA.


The pants are interesting because they have the stamp on the inside pocket that says


"This Garment is to only be worn by official members"


Two Dark Green Pair, One pair that was probably dark Green, and one that is white.


Guess I just need to do a little more in the way of research. Glad you folks were able to help

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All uniforms for the various old youth programs are covered at my site: www.seniorscoutinghistory.org


During the 60s there was another Explorer uniform: the navy Explorer blazer and gray pants. the blazer came from National with the circle-v logo on the pocket, later a big E.



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If you're interested in learning more about these older programs, check out seniorscoutinghistory.org


The person who maintains this site has information about every incarnation of Exploring so definitely reference it if you want to use the shirt as part of an exhibit.


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Interesting about the strip reading Explorer. It suggests that whoever purchased the shirt for their Leadership Corps son picked up a forest green shirt and didn't know that there were two different strips which indicated which program one was in. Exploring has never had a Leadership Corps so there wouldn't be a Leadership Corps patch on an Explorer's uniform. But it would not be surprising to find shirts with Leadership Corps patches and Explorer strips on them since the shirts were the same. I wouldn't be surprised to find shirts out there with the Exploring insignia but with a Scout USA strip on it.


Sounds like you've got a hybrid.

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  • 4 weeks later...



Are you certain about that discontinued date of 1979? I was in an Explorer post from 1987-89, and we all wore the forest green Explorer shirt. I bought mine new at the council scout shop in 1987. I alternated between my tan and green uniform shirts when I was on summer camp staff in 88 and 89, much to the chagrin of our camp director.

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"for brief time, I think 79 or there abouts to 85? Explorers wore teh tan shirt with green loops. By demand it was brought back."


When was this "brought back"?

Are you refering to the current Centeninal Uniform?, or are you talking about something else?


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In 1979 to about 1985, Scouts and Explorers wore the same shirt, loops told the difference: red for scout, green for Explorer. Then about 1985 the green shirt came back. If memory serves.

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"When was this "brought back"?

Are you refering to the current Centeninal Uniform?, or are you talking about something else? "


You know guys, if you would check out my site, www.seniorscoutinghistory.org, your questions will be answered.



He is refering to the forest green shirt. BSA National actually dropped it TWICE.


They first dropped the shirt in 1979. After this, Explorers (and leaders) had to wear the tan BSA shirt with green loops, and also made the office patch strips on tan instead of green.


In 1985, they brought the shirt back, and AGAIN dropped in in 1990 (so back to wearing the tan shirt, again).


And finally, they brought the shirt back in 1995, which was kept thru the split of Exploring in 1998.


Now, one thing I found interesting is that per published Exploring literature, when they brought back the forest green shirt in 1995, the Explorer uniform policy was VERY clear that Explorers were NOT to wear tan, they HAD to wear forest green. (adults had a choice). I always thought that was done to ensure enough shirts were sold...







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A few folks mentioned the Scout BSA dark green shirt was dropped in 1979. I know my memory isn't what it used to be, but I'm positive our summer camp staffs at BCMSR (Broad Creek Memorial Scout Reservation in Maryland) were wearing the dark green shirts through the early 80's as the standard staff uniform, and I don't remember anyone every saying they had trouble getting them (with the Scout BSA strip). Maybe the Baltimore Area Council just happened to have a bunch of left over inventory they sold to camp staff? Granted, only newer staff members would have been buying them, but a staff photo from 1982 shows everyone in dark green so we were still getting them somehow after 1979. I think the dark green was used by BCMSR staff at least through 1984. Anyone have any ideas how we might have managed that? Like I said, I don't recall anything unusual being required to obtain them.

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"A few folks mentioned the Scout BSA dark green shirt was dropped in 1979."


The Explorer/Scout BSA forest green shirt WAS dropped in 1979. They no longer had them in the catalog, and they revised the literature (such as the leadership corps booklet) to no longer mention them. So don't know how your camp was able to continue to have their staff wear the green shirt, unless they had a stock to provide to new staffers.

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