Scouting's First Ranger Award
Our Country was made great by strong and fearless men men pushing through forests, over mountains, across prairies and deserts; men canoeing and rafting the rivers, crossing lakes, portaging through the wilderness to other rivers, other lakes opening up the country for those who followed.
Today there are new frontiers different frontiers. Some of them, uncharted or unknown, you will discover for yourself. High adventure still awaits young men fired with the explorers' spirit.
Similar to what might be said for today's Venturing RANGER Award, these are the words from the Explorer Scout Manual (1946) that were used to help inspire Explorer Scouts to earn the first Ranger Award between the years 1944-1949.
Explorer Scouts had been an approved program since 1933 but it was in 1944 that along with a new distinctive uniform color, a new advancement program was developed. The program was set up with four levels of outdoor advancement: Apprentice, Woodsman, Frontiersman, and Ranger. The requirements are given here.
2,782 Explorers earned the Ranger Award between the years 1944-1951. The program actually ended in 1949 but there was a two year grace period for those continuing with their advancement on the Ranger award.
In 1950, a new square knot was introduced which allowed recognition of the Ranger award concurrently with any recognition under the new program. This square knot was issued for only two years and is very rare.
(It is interesting to note that the new program in 1950 would introduce the first Silver Award.)
The new uniform would be a forest green uniform with brown on green unit numbers and community strips. A brown tie would be worn with the uniform. Prior to 1944, Explorers had worn the regular khaki scout uniform and had often been part of a troop. Even if they were not part of a Boy Scout Troop, they were referred to as an Explorer Troop. Now they would form units called Posts.
Today, we continue to recognize the very best skilled outdoor Venturers with an award that is over 50 years old, the RANGER. The Ranger and Silver awards are compared with yesteryears awards of the same name here.
I feel fortunate when a scouter contacts me and shares a story from their scouting years; when two do, it is awesome. Kent Halstead and Dick Thomas both of whom earned both Eagle and Ranger in the 1940's have done just that and they have given me permission to share the following stories:
If you have a story that you would like to share, please send it to me. Thanks.
This is not an official site of the Boy Scouts of America. The explorer badges are scanned images of my collection and are copyright. You are welcome to print these pages for your reference. However, if you would like to use the images in any other manner, you must receive permission from Craig Murray.