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Buffalo Skipper

Theodore Roosevelts Leadership

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I wrote this recently for use at our upcoming first new PLC meeting. I got the idea from the History Channel show "TR: An American Lion," and I backed up the facts with on line sources. What do you think? Any improvement ideas?




In 1898 Theodore Roosevelt was the Assistant Secretary to the Navy. He had worked hard to build a strong navy for the country and he has succeeded. When the Spanish American War broke out that year, he resigned his comfortable office job to lead a volunteer force of cavalry. These men, who were an unlikely mix of Western cowboys, frontiersmen, Eastern athletes and sons of prominent families, were not trained as regular Army personnel; they became known as the Rough Riders.


For several weeks they fought their way across Cuba, which was at the time a territory of Spain. They battled, not only Spanish soldiers, but also a variety of diseases like malaria and yellow fever, and many a man died of either disease or wounds from battles. Toward the end of the campaign, the Spanish fleet was trapped in Santiago Harbor, and a push was made to secure the high ground surrounding the bay. One particular objective was the heavily entrenched San Juan Hill.


There was a strong push to take this area, and the division with which the Rough Riders was assigned, were directed to take the nearby Kettle Hill. After taking the hill and still under a dangerous barrage of fire from the well fortified, adjacent San Juan Hill, Roosevelt, without orders, directed his men to charge that hill and rode off. After a few hundred yards, he saw that he was accompanied by only 5 other men. In the noise and confusion of battle, the rest of his men had not heard him. While being fired upon by the enemy, he turned around and rallied his men for the charge with the new command: Follow me!


Needless to say the Rough Riders took San Juan Hill. Two years later he was William McKinleys vice presidential running mate, and upon McKinleys death in 1901, Roosevelt became one of the most famous presidents of the United States.


You are leaders of this troop. How well do the boys listen to what you say? Do you think they would better respond to the command Charge or the invitation to Follow me?


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Buffalo Skipper,


I find it very interesting timing that you wrote your Theodore Roosevelt insired Scoutmaster Minute, specifically because my book called "We Are Americans, We Are Scouts" is being released on October 10 from Red Honor Press (www.redhonor.com). It is a unique book that takes the words and anecdotes of the great Theodore Roosevelt and puts them into the framework of the Boy Scout Oath, Law, motto, slogan and Outdoor Code, all en route to becoming a better American citizen-leader. In fact, the book's foreword was authored by TR's great-grandson, Tweed Roosevelt.


When working on it, I found that TR's impact on Scouting has never ceased and his endorsement of the BSA's program back in 1910 enabled James E. West to more efficiently promote it to those influential movers and shakers who could mould it into a national icon. When you read "We Are Americans, We Are Scouts," you should be able to augment any type of Scoutmaster Minute with some pertinent quotation or story by Theodore Roosevelt, a man who wrote over 15 million words in his prolific lifetime of literary production. I am especially proud of the Duty to Country setion where I re-tell the story of how he gave a dramatic speech in Milwaukee after having been shot moments before by a would-be assassin. I place it into context of how his example can make us a better people. Other stories talk about each point of the Scout Law, and the other parts of the Scout Oath, et al.


It has been endorsed by the likes of Ross Perot, former Chief Scout Executive James. L. Tarr, Congressman Pete Sessions, and representatives of the national offices of the Sons of the American Revolution, the VFW, and the American Legion.


Additionally, Red Honor Press has just become an Official Vendor of the Boy Scouts of America and "We Are Americans, We Are Scouts" may be available at a Scout Shop near you shortly. Until then, you can download a sample portion at www.redhonor.com and get a copy of the book at Amazon.com. The Amazon listing is in the process of being updated as well as creation of the Barnes & Noble listing.


By the way, your choice of TR as a model for your Rought Rider Scoutmaster Minute is excellent on a number of different levels, especially pertinent this month since it marks his 150th birthday being celebrated at several national parks. Of them, the Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the Sagamore Hill National Historic Site will carry a supply of these books in their stock as well. Your boys will benefit greatly from your insight.


Good Scouting to You,

David C. Scott

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