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yastreb

1960's uniform questions.

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I've got a question regarding the olive-green uniform used in the 1960's, but first a little background. I recently acquired a collection of Boy Scout stuff at an auction, with it came four uniform shirts in pretty good condition. From what I gather from the membership cards, the previous owner was an Assistant Scoutmaster for at least 1962-1963 (I looked him up, he would have been 32-33 years old at that time). Three of the shirts were adult-size, two had a camp patch, the city red and white strip, numerals, and the Assistant Scoutmaster patch of that time. The strange thing to me was that these two shirts also had the first-class emblem on the pocket. The third shirt was the same as the other two, but stripped of all patches except for the first-class emblem on the pocket. My questions are as follows; Was there at any point in time a precedent to have a boy's rank on an adult uniform?

 

After researching on my own I found this site with some interesting history on the connection of the adult leaders' roles and the first-class rank. It seemed that before 1938 the first-class and A/SM patches were differentiated only by color (nothing was said on the site about placement). Then I ran across something that said adults could earn the boys' ranks themselves, however I don't know much about that. Would I be correct in assuming this adult legitimately earned first-class?

 

Anyway, what I'm trying to do is collect and build old uniforms. As I would like to be able to wear them myself, I was lucky that they were all my size, with the Assistant Scoutmaster patch no less! So I've taken the shirt that was stripped of patches and replaced the ASM patch, added my state strip and very hard-to-find community strip. I also had a vintage Eagle knot which I added (I don't think they had Arrow of Light knots back then). I guess I would eventually need to remove the first-class emblem to make it truly authentic, even though going through Scoutmaster training is similar in content. Did they have "Trained" patches back then?

 

I'll be wearing the uniform to the next meeting, I'm keeping the first-class patch for now as a demonstration. Hopefully it will garner some interest in maybe actually wearing at least a uniform sock or two. Our troop is so small that it might actually be feasible to dress them all in old uniforms if they'd only be a little more enthusiastic about it. The only thing difficult is finding the community strip. By the way, the original uniforms just had Philadelphia with no PA state-strip, does anyone know if this was normal back then?

 

I've tried to attach a picture of one of the uniforms in question if anyone is curious.

post-44252-0-73911300-1457318711_thumb.jpg

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BSA's ageist policy toward rank advancement began around 1964, with a nation-wide ban enforced by the end of the decade ... a harbinger of changes to come. (Here's a decent official posting on that adults who earned Eagle during the first part of that history http://blog.scoutingmagazine.org/2015/07/02/10-times-history-adults-earned-eagle-scout-award/with links to sites devoted to that history.)

 

Some scouters on these forums do have memories of the odd adult being awarded rank advancement.

 

I would recommend any SM/ASM to make a good faith effort to complete 1st class (only without bothering over the patch) ... Getting his/her advancement signed off by the SPL.

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Maybe that's what we need for adults to be trained.... earn First Class legitimately.  Being shown how to do it in training is not the same thing as being able to do it.  If one can demonstrate their knowledge they shouldn't need to be trained on it.

 

Having lived through the 1960's as a scout, I can assure you that no one went to the effort to "decorate" their uniforms the way they do today.  If they did, I don't remember it as having stood out.  Community strip, state and numerals on left sleeve and, rank on pocket was what I had on my uniform when I quit after 4 years.  I don't think the Banana Republic Generals era came about until later on.

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I was a Scout in the 60's and adults wearing rank patches was not the custom, as I recall. It could simply be another case of an adult "doing his own thing" and no one was rude enough to call him out on it. We did have the Eagle knot, but the AOL knot came much later. The only knots I remember seeing were the green Scouter's training award, SM Key, and Silver Beaver. Cub scouting did not have knots until much later. Trained patches were also much later, although the position patch did come with a mylar border for a brief time in the 70s to indicate "Trained" status.

Edited by scoutldr

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@@scoutldr, based on what I could read, it seems the use of advancement for adult recognition varied greatly by councils. So, many of us may have never seen this sort of thing while others would have been on the "tail end" of it's use in their area. It is interesting that once all councils stopped using it (presumably by national consensus), insignia for adult training began to appear. Nature abhors a vacuum?

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Interesting point.   If I recall scouting history correctly, it was the mid 50's when adult leaders could no longer work on advancement.  I think the big proliferation of knots came in the late 70's, and 80's  ?

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Scientific studies have gone a long way in recent years to show the effectiveness of training primates when trinkets and beads are introduced as rewards......

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My uni had no collars!   How about this one?   And loooooong tails or not so long?   Long sleeve or short?  

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As a youth, I recall I had a shirt with a collar, and then a shirt without a collar, which said above the pocket "Scouts BSA" instead of "Boy Scouts of America", which led some to speculate about a possible merger with GSUSA.  I probably got the new shirt while I was First Class, because in my personal patch collection I have both the rectangular rank patch (like the one on the original poster's new acquisition) and the oval one with the colorful background (which has since been muted.) 

 

My recollection from previous discussions in this forum is that there is some mystery about exactly when rank advancement was restricted to those below age 18.  I recall that some say it was 1954, some say earlier, some say later, and most say that whatever year it was officially, unofficially it went "out of style" years before that.  In the case of this particular Assistant Scoutmaster, even if it is technically possible that he earned First Class as an adult, it seems more likely that he earned it as a youth and simply chose to wear the patch as an adult.  While incorrect, it is not unheard of.  There is (or was) a SM around here who wore his Eagle patch on his uniform, and it is clear from his age that he did not earn Eagle as an adult.

Edited by NJCubScouter

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Thanks for all the replies, they've been very informative!

I think it is a pity that they discontinued the program, at least up until first-class I'd say it was a measure of skill, something I think the Scoutmaster training doesn't cover well enough. A week of training at summer camp seemed very rushed, there's no way you could master first-class in just that amount of time (it's sort of the same reason we've skipped Brownsea once or twice, we have to retrain the boys anyway).

It would be nice perhaps to use the red-colored rectangular ASM emblem from the pre-1920's era to show skill level of adult leaders, as an incentive to keep us on our toes!

I agree with what qwazse said, that A/SM's should basically earn first class themselves. I've had to do a major personal refresher course as the SM and I are having to train a new Patrol Leader as our troop recently hit several bumps.

 

My uni had no collars!   How about this one?   And loooooong tails or not so long?   Long sleeve or short?

My shirt that's pictured there has a collar. Out of the four shirts I got, three have collars: two with short sleeves and one with long sleeves. The tails aren't much longer than my more modern shirt.

The fourth shirt, that I failed to mention in my first post, is a collarless shirt, it's boy-sized and has a square tenderfoot emblem and patrol patch. Perhaps the guy had a son in the troop, cause it wasn't his shirt, I'm sure.

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During my years in Scouting and in my "real job", I've found that the best way to become proficient in a subject is to prepare a lesson plan and teach it.  Why not conduct your own "Brownsea" (or whatever your Council calls the T-2-1 training camp) at the unit level?  Of course, this should be conducted by the senior scouts, coached by the adult leaders.  I can't tell you how many times I've seen a Scout at an upper level BOR who hasn't retained the basic First Class skills (not that it's a retest!).

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I do not remember seeing my leaders wearing rank on their shirts when I was a youth member. (Tenderfoot starting in 1968)

 

I remember my summer shirt.  It  was collarless.  My winter shirt had a collar, and like so many, I tucked it in.

Edited by John-in-KC

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Yes, I was of the same vintage (Tenderfoot starting in 1967)   My short sleeve shirts were collarless because they were cheaper.

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In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the adult position patches went on the sleeve.  1960's.  The adult patches were round.  The First Class cloth badge was rectangular then.   SM's badge was silver and green  ASM's badge was gold and green.

 

No more adult Eagles as of 1965.  Unofficial: http://adulteaglescout.com/

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