Re: Eagle Square Knots
Settummanque, the blackeagle (waltoml@WKUVX1.WKU.EDU)
Tue, 31 Jan 1995 14:49:19 CDT
David McCullough <Mccecolsys@AOL.COM> writes:
>A little bit of history on square knots, with an emphasis on the Eagle square
Let me please add to your excellent history lesson, David..
>Square knots were a direct outgrowth of ribbon bars, which were introduced in
>1934 for the following awards:
>Silver Buffalo, Silver Beaver, Scoutmaster's Key, Scouter's Training Award,
>Honor Medal, Eagle, and Quartermaster Badges.
>"This bar [the ribbon bar] may be worn by the Scout or Scouter to whom the
>decoration or award has been presented, upon the left breast of the Uniform
>coat, or shirt, below the Service Stars, whenever it is not proper to wear
>the decoration or award itself. Both should not be worn at the same time."
> -- Scouting magazine, June 1934, page 20.
In 1945, the BSA received a letter from the War Department (the
forerunner to the Defense Department), asking that the BSA discontinue
the usage of the ribbon bars and other insignia which resembled
military decorations. They also asked the BSA to also discontinue the
wearing of the Campaign Hat without a BSA logo or imprinted indica.
It happened that a Scout was picked up by military authorities and
placed on a military installation, mistakenly for a solider that was
Absent With Out Leave (AWOL). Since the Scout and military uniforms
were similar in style during that time, the BSA complied and stopped
issuing the bars. Also, the Campaign Hat (the "Smokey-the-bear"
hats), were designed to add a leather band with the lettering "BSA"
and each hat also had the BSA Universal emblem inked on the inside.
And Scouts were asked not to purchase their hats from "military
surplus stores". Like today, they didn't listen.
(point of information: the Army's Drill Instructor (DI, the "drill
sergeant" hat), is two inches in diameter LARGER than the BSA's hat.
This was one of the military's resolution to the problem of separating
Scout from military folk.)
>The ribbon bars were discontinued in 1946, and replaced by the square knots.
>"It was announced in January SCOUTING that the wearing of ribbon bar pins
>indicating Scout honors or awards has been suspended to avoid confusion with
>military ribbons, and that a new method of indicating Scout honors would be
>provided for use on the uniform.
I have inquired several times to find out why the BSA chose the "reef
knot" (the square knot) as the emblem and got only generic "because it
is most associated with the service aspect of the program" answers. Nor
could I find out whom it was that designed the first square knots.
Of course, the color of the knot correspond with the ribbon color(s)
of the award.
As David wrote, the square knots were for the above awards, as well as
the new Silver Antelope awards introduced shortly afterwards.
>No insignia is provided to replace the bar pin previously used to represent
>the Eagle rank, because embroidered insignia is available for this purpose."
>-- Scouting magazine, March 1946, page 27.
>So, the Eagle Scout ribbon bar was discontinued at this time as well, but no
>square knot was developed. The Eagle Scout square knot did not come until
>Although the rope color has been red, white, and blue since the inception of
>the Eagle square knot, there have been five different background colors which
>have been used since 1947:
>Khaki Regular uniforms of the Scouting program.
>White Dress white uniforms of the Sea Scouts program.
>Blue Dress blue uniforms of the Sea Scout program.
>Dark Green Regular uniforms of the Explorer program.
>Light Tan Regular uniforms of the Scouting program.
(point of information: ALL FIVE are STILL considered LEGAL WEAR when
worn with any official uniform (or DDI, in Exploring's case) of the
BSA. This means that Explorers whom are Eagles can (if they can find
them still!) wear the Eagle knot on the kelly green background instead
of the generic tan background knots; likewise, those with older
uniforms may opt to wear the older khaki backgrounded knot instead of
the current tan ones. )
>The vast majority of Scouts receiving the Eagle would have the Khaki
>(1947-1980) or the Light Tan (1981-Present) knots. Did any of our Scouts-L
>Eagles receive their awards as Sea Scouts or Explorers?
I did. I earned my Eagle as a member of an Explorer Post and as a
member of a Scout Troop. I had two Eagle ceremonies: the Court of
Honor with the Troop I served with and the Eagle Ceremony at the
television/communicative arts Post under which I did the service
project and the work afterwards to earn the Eagle.
> Were your
>requirements the same as those in the Boy Scout Handbook?
During my time (1975 is when I earned Eagle, by the way), Scouts had
to earn *24* merit badges, instead of the current 21. This was the
period of the BSA's "Improved Scouting Program". If it wasn't for
this "improvement", I would still be left trying to do the First Class
Swim! (*those interested I can send the story to. I posted it a while
back when we were talking about the process to get kids toward Eagle*).
> It would also be
>interesting to find out if we have any Eagles who received the ribbon bar
>with their Eagle *after* 1946.
I don't know if we have any *real* old buzzar..er, Scouters here!
*loud laughter* Do we?
Thanks for the information!
Settummanque, the blackeagle... (MAJ) Mike L. Walton (
co-Owner, Blackeagle Services ___)_
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