Bill East and Scout Uniforms

Central High School’s Bill East, Class of 1966, died May 24, 2012, and was the subject of a moving obituary mostly written by his buddy, Terry Hopkins. It was fate that caused me to run across a 4×5 negative of Bill almost on the anniversary of his passing.

I got to looking closer at Bill’s uniform, and some things popped out. First, I think this must of been a recycled shirt, because there’s a dark circle on the pocket on the left. We’ll talk about what that might have been later.

Badge of rank

He sports a Star badge, which was the rank above Second and First Classes, and below Life and Eagle. He has two service stars above his pocket, but I couldn’t see whether he had been in for two years, or if the stars had numbers in them.

His handmade neckerchief slide says, “Preparing to Aid Camporee 1963. It was just big enough to hold a dime for a phone call and, maybe, a bandage. His neckerchief is tightly rolled; I usually wore mine bloused out and tied in a knot at the bottom like his is.

I’m not sure what the boot patch with “59” on it signified.

Steinhoff uniforms

Steinhoff Boy Scout Uniforms

I have a large box of Scout uniforms, including Mother’s den mother uniform. These two were still hanging in a closet, so they were fairly presentable.

This one belonged to one of my brothers. It sports a round Camp Lewellen patch which is probably what was missing from Bill’s shirt. The wearer had been to the camp at least three years.

J.L.T. stands for Junior Leader Training, which is interesting. When Bill Hardwick, Martin Dubs and I went to Philmont Scout Ranch in 1962, we were there for J.L.I.T. (Junior Leader Instructor Training). It was explained that we were junior leaders already, but our reason for being at the ranch was to learn how to teach OTHER Scouts how to be leaders.

The colorful patch on the pocket flap indicated that the wearer was a member of Order of the Arrow Anpetu-We Lodge 100. The senior patch indicated that one of my brothers was approaching Boy Scout old fartdom.

Shoulder patches

Steinhoff Boy Scout Uniforms

Mark and David were members of Trinity Lutheran School’s Troop 8 in Cape Girardeau. Older boys could become instructors and Junior Assistant Scoutmasters.

Both brothers earned the Eagle rank. I only made it to Life. To become an Eagle in those days, you had to earn 21 merit badges, including some in specific categories.

I had more than enough badges, but I tended to go after ones that interested me instead of required ones. My path to Eagle status was sidetracked when I got involved with photography and girls.

Dad was an active Scouter

Steinhoff Boy Scout Uniforms

By the time I left Cape for Ohio, Dad was winding up his business, which gave him more time to get involved in Scouting with my brothers.

His uniform showed he was a member of the troop committee, and a member of the Order of the Arrow, Scouting’s national honor society. He, David and Mark were Vigils, “the highest honor that the Order of the Arrow can bestow upon its members for service to lodge, council, and Scouting. Membership cannot be won by a person’s conscious endeavors. ”

Dad was awarded the Silver Beaver

Dad was awarded the Silver Beaver, which is described as “the council-level distinguished service award of the Boy Scouts of America. Upon nomination by their local Scout council and with the approval of the National Court of Honor, recipients of this award are registered adult leaders who have made an impact on the lives of youth through service given to the council. The Silver Beaver is an award given to those who implement the Scouting program and perform community service through hard work, self-sacrifice, dedication, and many years of service. It is given to those who do not seek it.”

He was so proud of his Vigil honor and Silver Beaver that we had it carved on his tombstone.

Patch jackets

Steinhoff patch jackets

It was the custom to collect patches from hikes, camporees and activities that weren’t worn on the uniform. Again, I’m not sure which brother these belong to.






10 Replies to “Bill East and Scout Uniforms”

  1. Thank you for sharing. The sharing of history is a great trait that you have and others should follow. I knew your family was involved in Southeast MO Scouting but wasn’t aware of their recognized accomplishments.

    Charlie Herbst
    TLD 1977(?)
    Eagle Scout 1976
    Silver Beaver 2012
    Order of the Arrow Vigil Honor 2012
    Order of the Arrow Vigil Honor 2012

    1. Scouting added a new dimension to Dad’s life. Up until he got involved with it, he avoided public speaking and public roles. Before long, he found his organizational skills useful for planning things like camp construction projects and camporees. Before long, he made lots of adult friends all over the region that he would never met otherwise.

  2. I knew all the East which lived a few houses down from me on Rodney Vista Blvd. Bill Hardwick was my cousin so reading those names brought back cherished memories. I never learned how Bill East died. Could someone enlighten me?

  3. Thanks for the walk down memory lane. Both my brothers, Lee and Keith Huckstep, were also members of Troop 8. Both were Eagle Scouts, members of the Order of the Arrow and went to Camp Lewallen. I was the driver for them for several years. Our father, Charlie Huckstep, also helped with Troop 8. Lee and Keith both went to Philmont. Lee worked there for several summers and is now leading treks for Scouts who want to go back. Once a Scout, always a Scout.

  4. Ken,
    The small 59 boot patch was from the Bootheel Roundup. It was a Council event that was intended to encourage Scouts to recruit friends. This theme was used for a couple of years. The patch was issued in both Silver and Gold, depending on how many Scouts you recruited. (There is also a neckerchief and plastic neckerchief slide) The position patch he is wearing is Junior Assistant Scoutmaster, but a slightly earlier version from the one shown in the closeup photo of one of your family member’s uniforms. The service stars are hard to make out, but could represent more than two years. The backing discs came in different colors to represent different programs. Cub Scouts used yellow, Boy Scouts green, Explorers red, adults light blue, etc. Also, the stars were numbered, so he could be wearing Cub Scout 3 and a Boy Scout 3, representing a total cumulative membership of six years service. By the way, I’m reading (and writing) this article from my tent at Vigil Reunion Weekend at Camp Lewallen. Thanks for another great article.
    Tony Smee, Cape Girardeau
    Eagle Scout ’85
    Vigil Honor ’98
    Silver Beaver ’08

  5. Ken,
    Correction: The neckerchief and molded slide I mentioned in my prior comment was actually from a different year when it was called the “Back in the Saddle Roundup” See a photo of that neckerchief here:
    Also, I have all of the known versions of the Camp Lewallen summer camp patch, including one simar to yours with all of the segment varieties (staff, JLT, and Explorer Trek). I have added a few varieties to my collection since compiling this digital archive, but haven’t made time to add the photos. You can view the Camp Lewallen patches here:
    Tony Smee

  6. As proud member of Troop 13, BSA. sponsored by the First Christian Church on West End Blvd in Cape I knew Bill Was a scout. Once a year for Camporee we could wear our uniforms to school and we usually did. On that day all the true Boy Scouts would wear their shorts. Why you ask? Well shorts were forbidden, except that day it was a part of the uniform, at least that was what I told Ms. Jennings my math teacher in Junior High, and it worked! I achieved the mighty rank of Star and after that I joined the Civil Air Patrol, which met on the same Monday night’s as Boy Scouts. My Dad was the founding Scoutmaster of Troop 13 and continued doing it until I was in my 20’s or 30’s. It’s funny I just started doing a video project for Troop 10 in Dunedin Florida that is celebrating their 100th anniversary. The Boy Scouts do mold men.

  7. Ken … this was a great post … equal to your stories/pictures about your mom’s birthdays … and … the Valentines you received from classmates at Trinity Lutheran School.

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