Troop 501 Eagle Scouts

Andrew Jackson - 2011

Project: Recycle Bins at the World Bird Sanctuary

William "Billy" John Fisher, III - 2012

Project: Fire Truck Reading Center at Arnold Branch Library

Christopher "Blake" Hufford - 2013

Project: Flag Pole Installation and Beautification Project at New Hope United Methodist Church

Paul Morton Claeys - 2013

Project: Playground Renovation and Update; Construction and Installation of Benches at New Hope United Methodist Church's Preschool

Drew Vitello - 2014

Project: Development and Installation of interactive, 3-D, educational playground mural at New Hope United Methodist Church's Preschool

Summer Camp Success

Well, the boys have completed yet another year of summer camp, and, boy, what an adventure! We all had a blast! Of course, there were minor obstacles, homesickness, and setbacks, but the Scouts overcame those setbacks, obstacles, and homesickness, to have a great week at camp! The food was good, and the companionship of fellow Scouts was great! All of the summer camp advancements, including merit badge work, has been updated, and is available for review at the Troop 501 Advancement Portal. Please log in, and check to see what great things your Scouts have accomplished, this summer!

Happy Independence Day!

A RARE GLIMPSE, Originally published by Sean Linnane, on February 20, 2010, on his Stormbringer blog:

The American Revolution is a remarkable conflict to study, for several reasons. It can be argued that the war should never have been fought; that the British Army should have won hands down; and that once won, the young United States should have failed as a political enterprise and rejoined the British Crown within it’s first ten years.

But independence WAS declared, the war WAS fought and won by a handful of poorly trained and equipped amateurs up against the most professional army of the day, and the sentiments that led to the Revolution evolved into the most successful and enduring political philosophy ever devised; as expressed in the the Federalist and anti-Federalist Papers, the Constitution, and the Gettysburg Address.

I have often wondered about what the American Revolution was like from the British point of view. Specifically; the point of view of the front-line British soldier, far from home fighting people who looked like him, spoke like him, for all intents and purposes WERE him, in a fantastic land that resembled Europe save for the vast, untamed wilderness.

How did THIS . . .

. . . ever defeat . . .

. . . . . . THIS?

Now, a remarkable set of letters have surfaced that shed light on the British point of view during the American War of Independence. The papers were the property of the Strachey family in Britain for about two centuries, later sold to the US newspaperman James Copley, who collected documents relating to American history.

According to the documents, the British military began to despair of victory almost as soon as the conflict began in 1775. A letter from Gen John Burgoyne, dated 25 June 1775 in Boston, gives an early assessment of how bad things looked:

“Our prospects are gloomy,” he told an unidentified lord in a letter written after the first two battles of the campaign in Massachusetts – a humiliating defeat to a local band of militiamen followed by a victory but with heavy losses at Bunker Hill.

He describes the British position as “a crisis that my little reading in history cannot parallel,” and predicts that the Crown would only be able to subdue the rebellion with the help of German or Russian allies.

“Such a pittance of troops as Great Britain and Ireland can supply will only serve to protract the war, to incur fruitless expense and insure disappointment,” he said.

The Burgoyne letter is part of the collection of papers and correspondence of Sir Henry Strachey, chief aide to the Howe brothers who led the British war effort. Strachey later held a similar role at the Paris peace negotiations.

In March 1777, Sir Henry writes that the American revolutionaries are much more “obstinate” than realized by the “short-sighted folks in England”.

A sentiment evidenced by the Rattlesnake flag, the first American naval jack flown, and flown, today:

A note to my Commonwealth readers: Here at Blog STORMBRINGER we love Britain and all things British. The Revolution was a terrible conflict that caused much tragedy and suffering, but it produced what we have today and for that I am thankful. I am also truly thankful that America was a product of Britain, versus France or Spain, and I celebrate our two countries special relationship.

When I served alongside the British Army, the “sqaudees” of the Duke of Edinburgh’s Royal Regiment (Berkshire and Wiltshire) explained to me that the red triangle on their beret flashes represented the white cap feathers their predecessors of the famed “Berks and Wilts” regiment dipped into Brandywine Creek, which flowed red with American blood following Washington’s defeat there in September of 1777.

I told them two things: “Yeah, well who won in the long run?” and “Thank God we were YOUR colony, and not the French.”

The Significance of the Troop 501 Neckerchief

card00696_frIn celebrating the birth of the United States of America, on this Independence Day, it seems only fitting that we give pause, and consider how we honor her throughout the year.

Troop 501 is an incredibly patriotic Boy Scout Troop. We have retired our Great Nation’s flag, multiple times, in conjunction with the Veterans of Foreign Wars. We (Mrs Hufford) started the annual Jefferson Barracks National Cemetery New Year Good Turn, at which Troop 501 presents and posts the Colors. And, we have even been honored to be the on-field Color Guard for our Nation’s Standard at a game of the Major League Baseball’s National League Saint Louis Cardinals! the_rattlesnake_flag_at_bunker_hill_battle_print-r3fd72c1fc034436fa3a8374884c40e32_8boyl_8byvr_1200

As a symbol of our pride, and our dedication to the values of Scouting, and as a reminder of our Duty to Country, we proudly wear the Rattlesnake motif, and verse, “Dont Tread on Me,” from the Gadsden Flag, on of the earliest flags of the American Revolutionary War, embroidered on our neckerchiefs of yellow-gold fabric.

In the image to the right, a postcard from our past, the Gadsden Flag, noted in the caption to be our Nation’s First Flag, Revolutionary War Patriots capture British commanders, at the Battle of Bunker Hill, along with the flag of Washington’s Crusaders, and the Continental Flag.

As an outward sign of our deeply held patriotic values, and our tenacity in our brotherhood and solidarity to each other – and to honor another Scout – Eagle Scout Drew Vitello conceptualized the simple, yet complexly significant re-design of the Troop 501 Neckerchief, during Summer Camp, in 2013. It has been a smashing success, and with (and without) our campaign hats, certainly commands attention, whenever we are around!

Bedford FlagTo help re-enforce these lessons of American History and patriotism, we fly a variety of Historic United States Flags from the Revolutionary War – Era, posting a different flag of historic significance, each day. We open Summer Camp with the Bedford Flag. The amoured arm, holding a sword, descending from a cloud, with three cannon balls in the background, is the arm of God. The Latin inscription, which reads, “Vince Aut Morire,” written from top down on the front, and the bottom up, on the obverse, is translated into English as, “Conquer or Die!” The Bedford Flag is the oldest existing flag in the United States, the second oldest in the western hemisphere and the only flag carried by the Minutemen at the battle of the North Bridge in Concord on April 19, 1775, and it was the flag that was flying, representing our fledgeling Nation, over the “Shot that was heard ’round the world,” starting the American Revolution.

It had a long history before the Revolution, for it had been used as a standard of the Massachusetts Bay cavalry Troop for over 100 years and had seen service in the Indian Wars many times before that great day at the bridge.

In 1659, when the cavalry troop was organized, arrangements were made for a proper emblem. The flag was probably made in England for the Massachusetts Bay Colony sometime between 1660 and 1670. Records of the order for the flag, and a description of the proposed emblem, are in the British Museum.Historic US Flags From Text Book

Movers and Shakers of the New World Order

As we get ready to celebrate our nation’s birthday, Independence Day, let’s turn our focus, briefly to one of the men who made it possible, Benjamin Franklin.

By , of Noet:

BenjaminFranklin2Of all the influential figures in Colonial America, Benjamin Franklin is perhaps the most memorable. Politician, author, scientist, postmaster, diplomat, inventor—he was the quintessential Renaissance man. He was born to humble origins and worked his way towards becoming one of the most influential men in America—if not the world.

Franklin credits his rise to prominence to a good work ethic and his constant endeavor to improve himself. At the age of 20, realizing that he was becoming trapped by poor decisions, he set out to unlearn his bad habits, replacing them with good ones. He identified 13 virtues and even kept a journal recording his progress. (Curious about what these 13 virtues entailed? Download today’s free book from!)

In his Autobiography, Benjamin Franklin admits that he fell short of his virtuous ideals on multiple occasions. However, he writes that his lifelong pursuit of virtue did make him a better, happier, and more successful person.

Throughout his Autobiography, Franklin shares nuggets of wisdom learned through his many successes and failures. These timeless insights remain relevant today.

5 Pieces of Advice from Benjamin Franklin, Renaissance Man

BenjaminFranklin1 About opportunity: “Human felicity is produc’d not so much by great pieces of good fortune that seldom happen, as by little advantages that occur every day.”

About personal relationships: “I grew convinc’d that truth, sincerity, and integrity in dealings between man and man were of the utmost importance to the felicity of life.”

About besetting sins: “In reality, there is, perhaps, no one of our natural passions so hard to subdue as pride. Disguise it, struggle with it, beat it down, stifle it, mortify it as much as one pleases, it is still alive, and will every now and then peep out and show itself; you will see it, perhaps, often in this history; for, even if I could conceive that I had completely overcome it, I should probably be proud of my humility.”

BenjaminFranklin4About self-improvement: “If you wish information and improvement from the knowledge of others, and yet at the same time express yourself as firmly fix’d in your present opinions, modest, sensible men, who do not love disputation, will probably leave you undisturbed in the possession of your error.”

Nothing is below his notice! “[I]f you teach a poor young man to shave himself, and keep his razor in order, you may contribute more to the happiness of his life than in giving him a thousand guineas.”

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Troop T-Shirts and Hoodies

We will be ordering troop T-Shirts and hoodies during the next two troop meetings. These troop T-Shirts, often referred to as “Class B” uniform, are of the highest quality, and affordable, at only $10, each. There are a number of activities during which we will wear a Scouting T-shirt, instead of the full field uniform (often referred to as the “Class A” uniform). These shirts are a great way for the entire family to show their 501 Pride! Class-B-BackClass-B-Front1