Military medals (was religious)
Tue, 24 May 1994 09:40:07 EDT
On Mon, 23 May 1994 23:58:12 +100, Ian Ford <ianford@DIRCON.CO.UK> wrote to
>You are of course correct that B-P wore his military medals and Orders
>with Scout uniform. Here in the UK it is permitted to wear military
>medals as well as certain other medals ( Queen's Police Medal, Queen's
>Fire Service Medal ) and Orders (e.g. orders of chivalry) .
>However, in " Advancement Guidelines " BSA specifically preclude the
>wearing of military medals with uniform. My copy is the 1990 printing and
>it appears under the heading " Badges of Other Organisations " on page 3.
At one time, and up to relatively recent history, military ribbon bars were
considered acceptable on a Scouter's uniform. This practice held in the US
until about 1970, when the ribbon bars were limited to one row, then in 1973,
when it was limited to one ribbon. The practice of wearing military ribbon
bars was prohibited altogether by 1978.
Likewise with medal ribbons, except for the limitation of no more than five
medals (including military) in a single row across the top of the left shirt
pocket. Of course, back in the days when this requirement was initiated, the
Scouter would more likely be wearing his more prized military medals
(Distinguished Service Cross, Bronze Star, Silver Star, Purple Heart, NOT
campaign medals) than any Scouting medals (only Honor, Merit and Eagle
existed then - Training Award medals did not arrive until AFTER WWII).
Did you know that the youth could also wear National Rifle Association medal
awards on their Scout uniform? That practice has also gone the way of the
military honors, what with the anti-gun mentality and the practice of
It was, at one time, considered a patriotic honor to wear the military
ribbons & medals on the Scouter's uniform; this all ended with the Vietnam
(un)war, when anything considered "patriotic" was considered socially
unacceptable in this country.
>If you were to come to the UK and join The Scout Association you <would>
>be allowed to wear your awards from the US Government on your <British>
Scout uniform ...
and in a subsequent posting to Christopher Strauss
>I've replied to George as well. Here in UK it is permissible and
>acceptable to wear military medals and Orders with Scout uniform.
>However, the practice in the British forces is very different to that in
>USA. Most US servicemen I know have a row of " gongs " whereas in our
>forces any sort of medal ribbon is a rarity
>Sometimes Scouters will use their military rank - socially it is
>considered acceptable to use ranks above Major in this way.
This practice is still carried out in the States, although to a more limited
extent. Then there is the "Kentucky Colonel" (No, not for frying chicken :))
>It is, however, considered " bad form " to try to " pull rank "
>in any form - whether that is a military rank or Scouting position.
>Conversely you do not see UK Scouters with pockets full of Scouting ribbons
<more stuff deleted>
At one time, up to 1970, a Scouter coule only wear five knots, and there was
an order of precedence for their wearing. Then again, at that time, there
were only about a dozen knots which COULD be worn: Honor Medal, Medal of
Merit, various Silver critters (three different ones), Eagle, Silver Award,
Quartermaster's Award, Scouter's Key/Award (same knot for both awards - could
not wear both medals OR two of same knot at same time), Religious Award (late
'60's), District Award of Merit (again late '60's - no medal - award was, and
still is, a plaque), Hornaday Award. I think I got them all.
The 32 different knots started in about 1972-73 with a bunch of distinctions
for Cub Scout Leader Training Awards (five different ones), Order of the
Arrow Distinguished Service Award, and a couple of others (I'm at the office
- doing this by memory). The five knot limitation and order of precedence
went out the window about this time. Then, some time in the '80's, along
came the various special youth service awards - Whitney Young, George Meany,
Scoutmaster Award of Merit, Commissioner's Service Award, etc. ad nauseum.
Now we have the "Silver Dollar" (which was long past due).
I think you get the picture.
>I am often amused by the vanity of individuals on the 'net who choose to
>append to their signatures a list of their awards, OA status, Wood Badge
Well, I'm not gonna throw rocks, I live in that glass house. What you are
dealing with here is American versus British culture. In the States, one's
success, hence one's credibility, is measured by one's "I love me" wall
(heck, Ian, my office looks like a physician's or solicitor's office, not an
engineer's - it has little to do with my professional competence, but more
with first impressions). Brits seem to be more understated about that sort
of thing (from my own experience with the British I met).
There is,however, something refreshing in seeing a British Scouter Dress
Uniform, with its minimalist tendencies. My father emulated that practice
with his; I did not.
Sometimes, I too am amused by the laundry lists. That won't stop me from
using mine :)
(not enough room for my closing - you won, Ian ;)
Terry Howerton Sakima Group, Inc. SCOUTER Magazine Kansas City