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1128’s March trip was chosen by the PCL to be a bicycling trip. Now we all love bicycling but early March was asking the Scouting gods for a bit much as temps and weather could be very nice or down right nasty. As luck would have it the day time temps were perfect for a ride along the C&O canal whilst the over nite temps treated all the scouts with temps of 25F thereby earning many the Polar Bear badge or another snowflake.
The trip was a hybrid car camping trip as logistically we had to move 40 bikes, gear, patrol kits, scouts and scouters to the start from Andrew Chapel and from the finish to Andrew Chapel as well as to the camping location. In addition, in order to ensure a pleasant experience for all, mandatory bike safety checks were held with help from The Bike Lane service van and bikes@vienna. A good number of scouts bought new bikes as their current bike was simply too small. The rental truck was loaded Friday nite with gear and bikes allowing a quick departure Saturday morning.
Saturday morning we took head count and headed north to White’s Ferry – a short boat ride across the Potomac to the ride start at Mile 35 on the historic C&O canal. The patrols were staged and sent out every 5-10 minutes. The first day’s mileage was to be 24 miles ending at Marsden Camp ground just down river of Great Falls. All the patrols arrived around the same time, 2pm, meaning they spent about 4-5 hours in the saddle. The truck arrived and just like the landing of D-Day, gear and food were delivered to the campsite. Water however was an issue as NPS hadn’t turned on the faucets yet so an ASM and some Scouts went in search of water, finally finding some at a local fire station. Fortunately and unfortunately, embers were still hot from the previous site occupants. It made for a quick start to our fire but was certainly a dangerous thing to do on the part of someone. Dinner was made and the rest of the evening was spent around the fire to keep warm as it was going to be a cold nite.
Sunday morning came around with frost on tents and backpacks. A quick hot meal was had, camp was broken down, gear delivered to the truck and patrols set out on the final 11 miles to Georgetown. Patrols all arrived within 20 minutes of each other and began the trek across the Key bridge and the awaiting truck. Bikes were loaded up and everyone headed back to Andrew Chapel.
A successful trip was had with a flat tire being the only mechanical. A few adjustments were made on the trail but nothing major. The weather was perfect for riding and we avoided bad weather on the previous and following weekends, but May is still a better time to hold a bike trip.
Thanks to Mr Wolfe for all the logistics with the van and all the ASMs and parents who joined in on a great bike ride.
Troop 1128 toured the United States Naval Academy on Saturday, February 24th. Thirty-nine Scouts and ten adult Scouters spent the day at the Academy learning about its history, traditions, and importance to our country. The Troop was fortunate to have Major Mitchell Rubinstein, Midshipman Samuel Winegar, and Midshipman Thomas Dias serve as guides during the trip. All three did a fantastic job in describing various aspects of the Academy’s mission, history, building architecture and the “life of a Midshipman,” as a member of the Brigade, which was informative and very entertaining. The Troop was also fortunate to have its Scoutmaster Mr. Robert Leggett with them on the trip. Scoutmaster Leggett had been an instructor at the Academy for six years. The Scouts and Scouters were very impressed by the institution and grateful for the time and attention granted to them.
The Troop enjoyed lunch in a reserved section of Dahlgren Hall. Afterwards the troop attended the Navy vs. Loyola basketball game. A couple of the Scouts participated in the timeout contests on the court and almost all the Scouts were thrown miniature Navy promotional basketballs. The Scouts had a great time interacting with the Navy Goat mascot “Bill” when he visited the section. On top of that, Navy had a great come-from-behind victory!
In addition to learning about the daily workings of the Academy from the perspective of a Midshipman, the Scouts also saw the Chapel crypt where the body of John Paul Jones is laid to rest. The visit to Memorial Hall with its plaques displaying the names of Academy graduates who have given their lives in service to their country served as a reminder that freedom is not free. The trip was a memorable and meaningful experience for all, and the Troop greatly appreciated the special attention.
On 16 December, several scouts ventured to Arlington National Cemetery to participate in Wreaths Across America. The National Wreaths Across America organization has a mission to Remember, Honor and Teach by coordinating wreath-laying ceremonies at Arlington National Cemetery, as well as over 1,200 additional locations in all 50 U.S. states, at sea, and abroad.
There are near 250,000 graves at ANC and it takes 1000’s of volunteers to lay wreaths on those graves. Last year, 1128’s plans were cancelled due to a freak ice storm making travel dangerous. This year, the weather was bright and sunny albeit chilly. The sun and reason for participating combined to warm everyone up more than necessary.
Wreaths were placed on several relative and friends’ graves: Kyle Porter’s Grandfather (served in WWII, Korea and Vietnam – Combat Infantry Badge) and Eric Anderson’s Great Uncle (Bronze Star – Vietnam) and family friends (Husband – Purple Heart – Pentagon Sept 11th / Wife – 2 years later of breast cancer).
Many other veterans graves were visited and after laying the wreath – their names were said out loud and were thanked for their service and sacrifices. Of those the troop placed wreaths on were two WWII veterans. Both were born in 1919, survived numerous missions and died in 2014. One was US Army LTC -Third Army, landed at Omaha beach, fought in the Battle of the Bulge, marched into a defeated Germany and was awarded two Bronze Stars and field promoted to 1st LT during the battle of Metz, France. The other was US Army Air Force – COL, a bomber pilot in B-24 Liberators and B-17 Flying Fortresses , participated in the Berlin Airlift in 1948 and had commands in post-war Europe, Alaska and Korea during a 30 year career.