CHAPTER THREE: 1940-1950

The War Years

Where the Depression affected Troop 33 in the thirties, it was now replaced by World War II. The forties brought the Troop to new heights in self-reliance and independence because all men over 18 were away fighting, leaving largely the junior leadership in charge of the meetings as well as Camp Ajawah.

Scoutmaster Kyle Cudworth was drafted in 1942 and handed over control of the Troop to Richard S. Stone. He was Scoutmaster until 1944 when Donald Dean took over. Then in 1945 Bill Braddock became the Scoutmaster, a post which he kept until 1954. Cudworth became a navy supply officer and spent the war in the southeast, never actually leaving the country.

Another effect during the war years was that there were, aside from Camp Ajawah, few campouts. It was to hard to arrange the transportation so the Troop activities were largely confined to meetings at church and Waligazus.

One interesting story to come out of the forties was the time that the Troop nearly burnt down Westminister Church:

  • During the war the Scoutmaster had a key to the 12th Street entrance to Westminister Church. The 12th street entrance led to a large open space under the pews which the Troop sometimes used as a work space. Once, when some older Scouts were down there working on canoes, it got cold down there so they decided to build a fire to help keep warm. They were discovered and Troop 33 has never had the key since.

    -Bill Braddock

  • Keeping Camp Ajawah open and up and running through every year of the war was perhaps the Troop's greatest acheivement during the forties. With the older leaders at war, there was talk of closing the camp. They decided to keep it open, however, and the young staff proved willing and able to meet the challenge there was tremendous responsibility involved. Stan Moore, Ted Carlsen and others remember it well:


  • With the leaders going off to fight World War II some had doubts that the camp would survive without them. Dr. Irvine, who was commitee chairman for the Troop for much of the early years of Kyle Cudworth's Scoutmastership represented these doubts at a camp committee meeting at my house with my dad Lowry Moore and Doug presiding. After proposing that camp close down during the war and await the return of the leaders, Dr. Irvine left the meeting early. At a famous rump session of the commitee that ensued, my Dad and Doug Manuel, who suceeded my dad as comittee chairman, and my uncle Brookes Dean, voted to keep camp open. This gave us younger Scouts the opportunity to show what we could do.
  • -Stanley Moore

  • I was in charge of camping and canoeing. I took many trips, we’d go down the Apple River, St. Croix, and the Sunrise right out of Linwood. During the war years there were no adults, the camp was run by 15, 16, and 17 year olds. You never really knew how you were going to get to your destination. They’d just drop you off and say "See you in three days, at this location." Somehow we always got there.
  • -Ted Carlsen

  • I worked at Camp Ajawah 1943-5. I was quartermaster and junior assistant director. The directors were two ministers who were at camp three days each. All the details and problems of camp were left up to me.
  • -C. Sherman Hoyt

  • During WWII, with all the older boys/young men going into military service right high school graduation (and some beforehand), the camp directors, retirees or clergy had to dig deeply to find suitable replacements. Finding none they picked Ted and me (along with other fuzzy cheeked youth) to watch over the other campers, some less than a year younger than we. The first year (1944) that I was in a major staff role, having been a tent counselor the year before, I was on beach staff heading up swimming. I was age fourteen (turning fifteen just after camp was over.) The next year, I held the same job. Ted Carlsen (14) was in charge of canoe trips. (We were too dumb to be afraid of the responsibility, but we were nonetheless confident of course.)
  • -Dick Wheaton

    The young men kept the camp going, relying on their wits and superb training as Scouts of Troop 33. Dick Duncan recalls: "We went up to Ajawah with a vastly inferior quantity of food. I went around scavenging from farmers, asking for food, and I remember we actually got some." Kent Halstead remembers serving as the handicraft expert one year: "I was known as Gimpo-Man as a result of selling so much gimp made into whistle lanyards, etc."

    Charles Jesten spent his last summer at Camp Ajawah as a counselor for 8 weeks as an 8th grader in 1948. "We always had great times: swimming, canoe trips, camping across the lake in tall pine areas, special events, contests, meeting kids from all over the metro area, playing ‘capture the fort’ on dark evenings, camping alone — all part of Ajawah."

    Camp Life in the 40s

    While the war affected all members of 33 it by no means stole their experience in Scouting. Camping went on as usual, producing its own adventures and challenges.

  • The sandy soil was a blessing — water just disappeared after a rain. The test of cooking over a fire was not the flavor, or how well done it was, but whether it was free of sand. Hunter Stew, cocoa, and gingerbread were favorites.
  • -G. Leonard Kane

  • It was about 1941 when as a small boy I listened to Dick Duncan dressed magnificently in headdress and buckskin, recite a wonderful Indian legend written in verse, that would have made Longfellow proud. I can still remember some of those lines and I still remember Dick, with arms folded, standing in front of the fire in the lodge, where the final campfire had been moved that rainy night, welcoming the new honorees to the Order of the Arrow.

    It was not until the mid-sixties that I thought of this again. I was at Ajawah temporarily assisting my brother Dave in running the camp. One night, toward the end of first period we talked about reviving Dick Duncan's legend at the final night. But the complete legend had long ago been lost to memory. The next morning, before first call I woke up, grabbed a pencil, and began to write a new "legend." By the time first call blew I had something down on paper. It was intended only to be a rough first draft. it could be polished later. Of course, in the hectic last few days of the camping period, I had no time to complete the polishing job. Thus the current legend was born. The words have remained unchanged now for more than 30 years.

  • -Carl Moore

  • I remember earlier literary and journalistic aspirations. At camp the Appel brothers Bill and Bob, whose father had a pharmacy on South Hennepin, were publishers of the famed Ajawah Oven (Never Fear! You shall be roasted!) At a campfire toward the end of the season, the oven would be declaimed and you would look forward to having your name punned into an imaginative story.
  • -Stan Moore

  • One year during winter camp we hiked over to pine island, made a bed of juniper bows, and under a lean-to spent the night outdoors in our army surplus sleeping bags. Bill Braddock and Dick McFeeters took turns feeding the fire to keep us warm.
  • -John Reichert

  • The place where we camped was at the lower end of a slough, with thick, wet grass underneath. The place was saturated with water and mosquitoes. we probably had a "somewhat" dinner (stew?), but the best part was that the fire created enough smoke to keep the mosquitoes away, partially. Later on, going to bed in our blanket roles (sleeping bags were not yet in common usage) and a poncho for a ground clothe, I had either forgotten it or it was not in the scheme of things to bring a mosquito netting to hang inside the tent. It was a hot, humid night on a sodden piece of earth without mosquito netting! It was horrible.

    I buried my head under the blanket, only to be stifled by the heat. Coming up for air, I inhaled about five mosquitoes at once and spent the next 15 minutes coughing and spitting. This happened the whole night, slapping the "danged critters", trying to determine in the pitch black where the next buzzing sound would stop, slapping myself whether one did or not. Alternately I would dive under the blanket, only to repeat the above process. Little sleep was had that night, my face was full of mosquito bites, I was tired and hungry. The only thing to be thankful for was that the next morning we got to hike five miles back to camp — away from the dreaded "Lake Typo"!

  • -Dick Wheaton

    As you can see, there was nothing unusual about camping in the forties.

    The War Ends; Heroes Return

    As the war ended, the leaders returned and brought their experiences in the military. Kyle Cudworth returned but married Jane Irvine, leaving Bill Braddock, a former assistant Scoutmaster and war hero himself, as Scoutmaster. "We were all excited about having this energetic, tough young man as Scoutmaster. And he could even blow the bugle and send semaphore. There were many hundred young boys who owed a lot to Bill Braddock," Kent Halstead recalls.

    In the years following the war Troop discipline as well the inspection standards at camp went way up, with the returning "war heroes" making sure that no boy slacked off in his duties to his Troop or his country.

  • The leaders were all returning servicemen who had been Scouts before the war and who were somewhat at loose ends upon their return to civilian life. They knew all about Scouting and all about military life. Thus we boys ended up being miniature soldiers in one sense.
  • -Bob Schuller

  • Not that I didn't admire the returning war heroes: I did: Kyle Cudworth, Bill Braddock, Dick Duncan. But there was an element of intimidation too: they almost too perfectly embodied the Scout law: trustworthy, loyal, brave, clean, and reverent, to which you could hardly measure up, (not to mention memorize in the right sequence).
  • -Stanley Moore

  • When Bill Braddock was Scoutmaster we always had excellent meetings. Bill was a veteran and ran his Troop with a great military influence. He was friendly but demanding in the sense that he wanted you to do your best.
  • -Charles Jesten

  • The directors at the camp had just returned from military duty, it being right after the war (1946 or 47), and it showed. They ran a tight ship. The army, marines, and navy were all represented. Morning inspections required the dirt infront of the tent to be raked, and a coin should bounce off the taunt blanket on the bed. Also no sand could be evident on the back of the hand after the open palm was brought down smartly on the middle of the bed. Bill Braddock, Scoutmaster at the time, required our uniform shirts to have three press marks running up the back. The mothers thought this a bit much but complied.
  • -G. Leonard Kane

    In 1948, Dave Moore joined Troop 33. He recalls as a young Scout that his first major decision was having to choose between two different patrols which both wanted him to join. Later decisions of his would include deciding to become Scoutmaster of Troop 33 in 1965.

    Dave's joining the Troop is a major event in Troop history, perhaps comparable only to Kyle Cudworth's joining in the twenties. In his 37 years as Scoutmaster, Dave has stood as the pillar of Troop 33, moving onward no matter what the challenge was. But back in the forties and fifties, he was winning Waligazus and having problems with hammocks:

  • When we went camping our whole patrol used jungle hammocks with built-in mosquito nets. You couldn't roll over in them, or if you did, you would fall into the mosquito net and be trapped until someone rescued you.
  • -Dave Moore

    A feature of the forties was the intense competition at the Waligazus. The district Waligazu was held in the spring and featured competitions in knot tying, fire building, pep n' whistle, first aid, marching and signaling. Carl Osland even recalls a year in which members of Troop 33 performed a mounted drill using horse cutouts, it was a very diverse competition.

    Without exception all former Troop members, including Ted Carlsen and Charles Jesten, remember doing well at these events, often taking first place. Dick Duncan said: "We always won these Waligazus and I think it was discouraging for these other Troops — our spirit was so high."

    Carl Moore gives an excellent narrative of one of these events:

  • I was a member of Troop 33 in the late forties. One of the most interesting activities that we that we did as a Troop was to participate in an intense yearly Waligazu with Troop119. 119 was a large, well organized Troop from South Minneapolis led by their redoubtable Scoutmaster, a man known to all as Mister Souter. We 33ers considered Mister Souter to be an unnecessarily strict disiplinarian. In fact one year at Ajawah there was a sign in the messhall with the words: "No! No! Mister Souter, not the whip!" That summer he visited Ajawah. Just before he entered camp, Carl Edbloom, who was steward at the time, rushed into the messhall and removed the sign.

    Nevertheless, whether Mister Souter cracked the whip or not, 119 proved to be a formidable opponent at those Waligazus. When 119 marched into the competition hall wearing their sharp, white neckerchiefs, we knew we were up against a fine Troop. As the individual events were contested -- first aid, knot tying, pep and whistle, fire by friction, marching and signaling -- the tension mounted. Dick Manuel, our senior patrol leader at the time lead a spirited pep and whistle drill. John Reichert was the star fire builder. To me 119 looked very sharp during their Troop marching drill but 33 leaders scoffed at 119's "chorus girl stuff."

    At the end of the evening, the judges would add up the scores and announce the final outcome. Specific results have faded from memory. I think we won our share of those Waligazus and I'll never forget the excitement that they generated.

  • -Carl Moore


    The forties were years of new experiences and also a time where the military played its most active role in Scouting. Just around the corner were the fifties, which were to be the heyday of Scouting.


    Troop 33 History