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> updated 11/06/15 adding Victory Base information
> updated 11/10/14
Official version of Crest of Leadership

The Crest of Leadership (shown above) was designed by "Green Bar Bill" Hillcourt as a replacement for the various local Council youth leadership training courses. The Crest was used by the BSA (and is STILL used by some 30 or so local Councils) to award to youth leaders for completing a set of individual training application requirements (similar to a "ticket" which Wood Badge participants must complete) in order to receive and wear the emblem. The emblem was originally designated as a "permanent" emblem but that designation was removed by the BSA in 1980 with the end of the "ALL OUT FOR SCOUTING!" leadership training emphasis.

There are several versions of the Crest out there. In 1981, the leadership of the Blue Grass Scouting Alliance Club at Eastern Kentucky University asked and received permission to alter the Crest and to use it as its official organizational crest. More information on the Crest of Leadership and the BGSA can be found on a separate page.


All Programs Term Green Zone Council

"Green Zone Council"

The Boy Scouts of America (BSA) is divided into some 300 local organizations called "local Councils" or "Councils" for short. This provides local control over how the Scouting program is delivered, supported and organized for local units (Cub Scout Packs, Boy Scout Troops, Varsity Scout Teams, Venturing Crews and Sea Scout Ships, as they may be found). Additionally, local Councils may provide support to experimental programs and in-school or locational programs offered by the Learning for Life Corporation.

official Green Zone Council shoulder patch
Green Zone Council shoulder patch (one of 15 official shoulder patches)

The "Green Zone Council" is NOT a local Council of the Boy Scouts of America. Never has been. In this case, the word "Council" does not refer to the definition above, but a "group of individuals providing leadership, guidance and support" to a cause or issue. Think more like "city council" whenever you see this. The volunteers belonging to the Green Zone Council (GZC) came from BSA local Councils in the United States as well as Europe and the Far East. It NEVER had a BSA Council number, was NEVER counted in BSA membership numbers, but DID get some money from the World Friendship Fund.

The "Green Zone" is the 11 mile in stretch (see map below) area surrounding the former Presidential or Freedom Palace, where Saddam Hussein and his boys dictated Iraq's people from. The area was liberated by members of the U.S. Army's Third Infantry Division in the first week of the conflict labeled "Operation Iraqi Freedom". The Palace was cleaned, disinfected and housed by members of the U.S. Presidential Office of Reconstruction and Humanitian Affairs (or ORHA); later to be renamed by the United States as the Coalition Provisonal Authorty (or CPA). It is under the CPA's authority along with that of the new Ministry of Education and Youth Affairs, that the idea of returning Scouting to Iraq was born -- and with it the umbrella organization called the "Green Zone Council" was created.

Green Zone map (from CNN)
Green Zone map (from CNN)

In the third week after the capture and conversion of Saddam's Presidential Palace in Baghdad, a group of volunteer Scouters working in various offices within the CPA met with the renants of the Education Cabinet. The goal was to restore the pre-Saddam Iraqi Scouting Association, get World Organization of Scouting Movements (WOSM) approval, and to rebuild their national training center north of Baghdad. Scouting had been in Iraq as far back as 1920s but was abolished in the 1980s by the ruler (Saddam Hussein) of that nation.

The organization became known as the "Green Zone" Council (NOT like a BSA local Council but rather a council as in "group of people working toward a purpose or set of goals"). The name stuck and the group created all kinds of items designed to raise $53,000 -- the amount thought needed to hire a national director, build a camp/training center, and purchase the means for them to create their own publications. As those who follow the news know, the factions within Iraq could not get it together and over time, the Association was created but only Shite youth were initially a part of the new organization. The group (and many of you) eventually raised some quarter of a million dollars mainly through insignia sales and dinners Stateside which was used to create that Scouting Center and camp, to hire two professional directors who later attended the BSA's executive school in Texas; brought 16 youth and three adults to the United States to attend the 2005 and 2010 National Scout Jamborees, and several dozen Iraqi youth to attend BSA summer camps and two to go to Philmont Scout Ranch. With the coalition prescence leaving Iraq, the Green Zone Council was disestablished in 2009 and everything converted to the Iraqi Ministry of Education and Youth Programs, where it is today.

The members of the Green Zone Council cut across all branches of the US and 14 other nation's military as well as civil service -- Departments of Defense, Justice, State, Agriculture...others... It wasn't just an " US Army group". I was one of the founding members of the Green Zone Council in Baghdad. Most of the Scouters staffing the Green Zone Council are Eagle Scouts or have received their nation's highest youth honor.

As the buildup continued and the effort strengthened, if volunteers and/or professional Scouters being deployed to Iraq were identified, they were sent information about the "Green Zone Council" (GZC) in advance of their departure from the USA. The patches were created as a prime fund raiser as well as identification items for those working within the Council. All personnel worked with various GZC efforts on their own time, approved by supervisors and managers.

As far as insignia and patches are concerned, 16 different varieties of the Green Zone Council "Moon Patch" (shown above) was created from 2004- 2012 with different border colors; there are tee-shirts, challenge coins, coffee mugs, satchels, water bottles, and lots of printed material created, mainly to support the program there in 11 towns and cities in Iraq. These have become treasured personal items.

As the war effort shifted from stability to removal, it became increasably tough to get in and out of the "Green Zone" to conduct many Scouting activities. A group of Scouters decided to localize the activities being conducted in the "International Zone" (the "politically correct" name of the "Green Zone") and set up a smaller organization within Camps Victory and Liberty, the large Coalition headquarters and support base beside the International Airport. They created two patches for their members and some members sold patches with the words "Victory Base Council" which confused many here in the States. Some said that it was a bogus patch, created by someone as a spoof or take off on the very popular and official "Green Zone" patches. Others stated that while it was "official" that the funding being supplied through sales of those patches did not go to the Iraqi Scouting Association as those sales of the "Zone" patches and related material would. Eventually, with the closure of Victory Base and Camp Liberty, the patches too went away, only to be traded and sold Stateside with accompanying "true" and "made up" stories to support their sales/trades.

Victory Base Council emblem
"Victory Base Council" emblem

The "Victory Base Council" did exist as a community support organization within Camp Liberty and Victory Base, from 2007 to 2011. The monies collected did go to support some activities involving area youth but most did not go to supporting the national Scouting association but rather Scouting groups in Sadr City and surrounding communities. Like the parent "Green Zone Council", the "Victory Base Council" was *never* a BSA local Council or had the intentions at any time to become a BSA local Council.

As the U.S. administration started to curtail and remove Americans from Iraq, the leadership of the new Iraqi Scouting Association created a special certificate and distinctive square knot insignia to award to those volunteers who made Scouting happen for Iraqi youth and who furthered the Scouting movement in their country. The first awards were made in 2008. The award has been given out 38 times to my personal knowledge, with the last Commanding General of the Multi-National Force- Iraq, General David Petraeus being one of the last recipients.

There are four other patches which were made and a neckerchief in the national colors of black, red and green were created for youth and volunteers to wear.

Set of some of the Green Zone patches
Set of some of the Green Zone patches


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Credits: Scans courtesy of Mike Walton; map courtsey of the Cable News Network (CNN)

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