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:
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:
-C. Sherman Hoyt
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.
-G. Leonard Kane
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.
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"!
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.
-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:
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:
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.
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