>updated as of 7 Janurary 2013
Recent Uniforming and Insignia Questions (and some answers)

older questions and answers

QUESTION: "On your web page you reference “the supply group” regarding the ability to get an olive necktie. Would you please be more specific, as I would like to get several of these for the leaders in my troop to be worn with long sleeve shirts."

ANSWER: The "Supply Group", Jim, is what used to be known as the Supply Division. Four years ago, the BSA removed all of the various divisions in a cost-saving mode, and expanded them to include other related operations. The new Supply Group also includes the BSA's marketing and publications offices formerly in their own division or workgroups.

What I would do is to go to your local Scout Shop(tm) and fill out a special order form for the neckties. That special order form goes to the Supply Group, whereby they will search around at Shops which still have the neckties as well as in their warehouse in North Carolina. There was only something like a thousand or so of the neckties made, and most of them have been sold or have found themselves on the back side of the stock rooms in larger Scout Shops(tm).

Q: You wrote and asked me: "I've been trying to get this question answered, but am having a tough time doing so."

Okay...I'm happy to be able to answer this for you!!

"Can a Scout wears his summer camp badges on the back of his sash? Say a Scout has been going to different camps for the past 3 years - can he have all 3 summer camp badges on the back of his sash?"

A: Absolutely!! A Scout may have any number of temporary insignia items worn on the backside of the merit badge sash. They should be worn starting about half-way down the backside. They are ONLY worn on the backside of the sash and the order and number is up to the Scout (and his parents).

Take a look at this page and note that temporary insignia may be worn, at the option of the Scout, on the backside of the sash.

"I've seen examples of this from the 30's through the 60's as it seemed fairly common. I've even seen a boy in our troop do it as well, but I'm confused by BSA's literature, where it states, "Only one temporary insignia at a time may be worn." "

The BSA statement applies to the RIGHT POCKET, Bill...not to the backside of the merit badge sash. Only one temporary insignia piece is worn at a time suspended from the right pocket or sewn to the right pocket. Whatever it is, the size of the emblem cannot exceed the dimensions of the pocket.

Q: "Last night we had a court of honor and my son wore one of the older official Boy Scout Garrison hats for the special occasion. Other Scouts and parents loved it, but the Scoutmaster said that the garrison hat was phased out and told my son that he could not wear it any more.

I read on your website that any official BSA hat can still be worn with the uniform--the hats never phase out. I've heard the same from another Scout leader. What references do you have to support that policy so my son can enlighten our Scoutmaster?"

A: Your Scoutmaster was not correct with regard to "allowing your son" to wear the headgear that he wore. A troop should establish *one form of headgear* and *everyone in the troop should wear it* (the reference to this is in the Scoutmasters' Handbook). However, the BSA has long permitted any form of headgear to be worn by Scouts and Scouters AS LONG AS it carries the official seal of the BSA.

Here's the information from the Rules and Regulations of the BSA:

"Official headgear may be worn while the unit or individual is participating in an indoor formal ceremony or service duty, except in religious institutions where custom forbids. Typical indoor activities of this type are flag ceremonies, inspections, orderly duty, or ushering service. In any informal indoor activity where no official ceremony is involved, the headgear is removed as when in street clothes. The Scouter dress uniform is always worn without headgear. Pins may be worn on the jamboree hat but only while at the jamboree, and Webelos activity badges may be worn on the Webelos cap. As part of the First Class Emphasis, the large standard metal pin, No. 00017, has been reinstated as an option to the cloth First Class rank badge. The large pin also may be worn only by boys on the front of the campaign hat, No. 501, and the expedition hat, No. 637. Adults may wear the adult universal hat pin, No. 50150, on the campaign hat and the expedition hat. No other pins may be worn on official headgear of the BSA."

And here's a link to my Badge and Uniform Site with information about the wearing of headgear.

Q: I was reading your note about non-scouting medals that can be worn on the scouting Uniform. NRA, American red cross, American Archery Association, American Bowling Congress and Crossman Arms.

As I searched the internet, I was unable to determine what awards from those organizations can be worn and what the requirements are to earn those medals. I know about the NRA one as they have it at scout camp. I specifically was interested in the American Bowling Congress.

A: At one time, the American Bowling Congress (ABC - now called the US Bowling Congress) had issued special medals for Scouts and Explorers to earn as part of their Youth Bowling program. I came into Scouting long after that program went away, but the information is still valid as the Exploring program had a strong relationship with the American Bowling Congress into the eighties.

I would contact the USBC and ask them to provide information on youth bowling programs and medals which are available for youth to earn through their organization.

Q: Sir. Good Morning. I have a question about square knot devices. Last year I received the Community Organization Award for being awarded the Military Outstanding Volunteer Medal (MOVM). This year my American Legion Post has submitted me for another Community Organization Award. This one for service to the American Legion and Scouting. How do I show that I have more than one of the same award? They were both earned while as an adult leader in Boy Scouts. I would appreciate any help you can give me.

A: Like you, I've also received two awards which qualified me for wear of the Community Organization Award square knot emblem. Unfortunately, there's no devices which are worn with the Award square knot, either formally or informally.

The reason why is because like many awards which qualifies for the award/wearing of the Community Organization Award square knot emblem, both Military Outstanding Volunteer Service Medal (MOVSM) and the Amercan Legion's "Square Knot Service Award" recognize service to Scouting overall and not a particular program or role in the same way that the Scouters' Key, Scouters' Award of Merit, or the Scouters' Training Award does.

Thanks for asking me...and congrats on both awards!!!

Q: "Where does a scout wear the broze palm patch?"

A: First, the Bronze Palm isn't a patch. It's a pin. There are two places -- and only two places -- where he can wear it.

During FORMAL OCCASIONS, he wears the Bronze Palm on the red/white/blue ribbon of his Eagle Scout medal. It's worn centered on the ribbon. When he earns the Gold Palm, he REPLACES the Bronze Palm with the Gold Palm in the same location. Likewise, when he earns the Silver Palm, he REPLACES the Gold Palm with the Silver Palm.

During INFORMAL OCCASIONS (most of the time), he wears the Bronze Palm on the oval Eagle Scout cloth patch which is centered on the left pocket of the uniform shirt. The original Palms had long "stems" to go through several layers of fabric to catch on the inside of the pocket. The newer Palms don't have that long "stem" so you have to cheat it a little -- by ironing or pressing the Eagle Scout cloth emblem into the shirt before pinning the Palm.

The Palm is worn either above or below the Eagle in the center part of the emblem. When he earns the Gold Palm, he REPLACES the Bronze with the Gold Palm like above with the medal; again when he earns the Silver Palm, he REPLACES the Gold Palm with the Silver Palm.

I keep saying the word REPLACE because the color of the Palm is key to how many merit badges he has earned (in addition to meeting the other requirements) for the Eagle Palm. The first Palm is earned by earning five merit badges over the 21 merit badges required to earn Eagle. The second Palm (the Gold one) represents ten merit badges; and the third Palm (the Silver one) represents 15 over Eagle. Eagle Scouts may continue to earn Palms in that order -- Bronze, Gold, Silver -- until they have earned all of the merit badges available or turn 18.

Hope this helps out....I also left a shorter version of this response on your voice mail. Thanks for asking me!

Q: Every spring and fall I run into many Scouts and Scouters incorrectly wearing the National or their Council Youth Leadership Experience (otherwise known as NAYLE for the national level training program; and NYLT (National Youth Leadership Training at the local Council level...this is the program basically for leadership at the Troop, Team and Crew level replacing "Junior Leader Training (JLT) or "Troop Leader Training (TLT).

Ray Theberge wrote to me:

"I sent two Scouts to the NAYLE course at Philmont this year, and the boys came back with their NAYLE participant patch sewn over their right hand pocket on their field uniform shirt.
I explained to them that only World and National Jamboree patches go there, but the boys insisted that the SPL (and the ASPL’s) from the course had theirs sewn on in the same place and told the boys that this was an approved place to put the patch."

A:It is NOT...the ONLY approved insignia which goes over the "Boy Scouts of America" strip and any interpreter strips (if earned) is EITHER the BSA's National Jamboree emblem (and segments if earned), the BSA's World Jamboree contingency emblem; or a World Jamboree or International encampment emblem (like InterCamp, EuroCamp, PacCamp, etc.)

"While I found the section in the insignia guide that says where to put the World and National Jamboree patches, I could not find a section that explained that other patches were prohibited from being above the right hand pocket."

He sent me images of both the staff and participant emblems, and they along with some other earlier emblems, are displayed on the NAYLE page at http://www.scoutinsignia.com/nayle.htm along with a short summary of junior leader training emblems. Thank you Ray, for the scans and for asking the question, which I've also passed on to the BSA for consideration in their new Guide to Insignia and Awards.

Q: "My cub scout has earned a Leave No Trace- Outdoor Ethics patch. Where does this go?"
A:The Outdoor Ethics emblem is one of several temporary emblems. They can be worn one at a time centered on the right pocket of his uniform shirt; or on a patch vest or jacket anywhere on the jacket or vest.

Q: "Can I wear the old bs uniform with green numbers and green shoulder loops?"
A:You most certainly may wear the green uniform numbers and the green shoulder loops wiht the current (what I call the "legecy") uniform shirt. They are designed however for the new "Centennial" uniform shirt and you should wear those items with that shirt....but either one is fine!

Q: "You wrote and asked me: "Hope this email finds you well. I have a quick question. I am an Eagle Scout and was a member of the Order of the Arrow (Yokahu 506 - Puerto Rico Council) back in my youth years. I now live in the Washington DC area, and have become involved again with Scouting as my son has just become a Tiger Cub."
Way to go!! Congrats!!
"I have been asked to become that pack's Cubmaster, which I have agreed to do."
That IS a great responsibility...thanks for stepping up and assisting not only your son, but all of the other families and their sons too!
"The question is whether it would be appropriate to wear my old Yokahu 506 Lodge flap in the uniform, since I now belong to the National Capitol Area Council, or if I should wear the National Capitol Area Council OA flap instead."

I'm going to give you two answers.
The first answer is the official one: If you are registered with the local Council and are an Arrowman, you *should* wear the OA flap representing that local Council. The BSA has instructed local Council Scout Executives to direct that only dues paying members of the local Council AND its lodge should wear the lodge totem (lodge flap) of the local Lodge. If you are not aware, the BSA and the OA agreed that all Lodge numbers and Council numbers will become one and the same...this was a dumb move in my opinion, but one which will strengthen the connection between the Order of the Arrow and the local Councils, which is the way the BSA is looking at this. So you should also contact the Lodge in NCAC and ask them to register you as a member of their lodge -- and wear their lodge totom (their Lodge flap).
The second answer is the unofficial one and what is currently "the default" method: If you are registered with the local Council and are an Arrowman, you may wear EITHER the local Council Lodge's OA flap (preferred, especially by those "patch police people" out there) OR you may wear the Lodge OA flap representing the Lodge in which you *last served as an active member*.
Presently, while the policy is out there which states that OA members should wear the Lodge flap corresponding to the Council where they are registered, it is NOT being enforced simply because there is a lot of personal pride associated with many Lodges and some Lodges have long since been merged or split over the years and the OA flap from those former Lodges serves as a reminder that the individual was and continues to be a part of an organization with a history. When good-intentioned Scouters ("patch police people") ask me about why I am not wearing the OA flap representing where I am currently registered, I simply answer with "while I realize this is not "official", I also know that National has not MANDATED (hence, my * * marks around the world "should" above) that I MUST only have the flap representing the Council where I am registered. This flap is staying."
To be honest, the only people who will give you any "static" about your choice in OA flaps are people either who are a) jealous that you're wearing such an historic, colorful and (probably valuable) OA flap and b) those who have nothing else better to do than to point out what they see are inconsistancies with your uniform. I basically acknowledge but ignore the lot of them.
On two of my uniforms, I wear the OA flap representing my Ordeal and Brotherhood membership (Zit-Kala-Sha, 123, which doesn't exist any more). On the other four I have the Lodge flap representing the Lodge where I am currently registered (Black Eagle). When I go back to the States next year, they will still be on those shirts...I only have ONE Local council Lodge flap (Blue Ox) on a long-sleeved shirt.

Q:Where can I wear the "student of my faith" patch? I just recieved this patch from the chaplian at scout camp and don't know where it goes on my uniform. Any ideas? A: Yep. The "Student of My Faith" emblem is a temporary piece of insignia. The only place where it can be worn on the uniform is centered on the right pocket of the uniform shirt. Additionally, you can wear this emblem on a vest, jacket or the backside of your merit badge sash (6 inches from the top edge of the backside of the merit badge sash).

Q: Where would be the correct place to put a " Junior USA Shooting Team " badge or patch?
A: The only place it can be worn on the uniform is centered on the right pocket; it is considered a temporary insignia item. You can also wear this on a jacket or vest.

Q: I've seen on several occasions scouts wearing the merit badge sash "tucked" into the waist of their uniform pants...they even go so far as to call these occasions "tuck day/night, or tuck event" due to the habit of the sash in slipping down off the shoulder...it seems to be a curiosity that no-one really has an answer for...if anyone knows--it's you
A: It is NOT official, Curtis.

The merit badge sash is ONLY WORN during formal events -- like a Court of Honor or some other event. At ALL OTHER TIMES it's to remain at home -- you don't bring it to Troop meetings, you don't bring it to campouts -- it stays AT HOME and is NOT tucked under the waist band or under the belt of the uniform pants.

The BSA for decades have been trying to tell Scouts and Scouters this....it came from some good-intentioned Scouters back in the 40s and over time, it was "assumed" to be some sort of unwritten policy. It is NOT policy and the BSA encourages Scouts to wear the sash (same goes for the Order of the Arrow sashes...) ONLY during those events which are formal in nature and where the sash does not interfere with service (for instance, accolydes during church services would not wear a merit badge sash because it slips. The same goes for color guards. Escorts would probably wear the sash because they can adjust it when it slipped.)

Thanks for asking me!!

You can also ask me questions (and I'll do my best to answer them and if I do not already have content explaining or describing what you asked, I'll add it to the Badge and Uniform Site). To do so, just send me an email Settummanque!