July 20, 2019 marked the 50th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 mission’s landing on the Moon – the landing of the lunar module Eagle in the southwestern corner of the Mare Tranquillitatis (Sea of Tranquility) on the Moon and the establishment of Tranquility Base.
The first two men to set foot on the Moon, Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin were Scouts – the first, Neil Armstrong was an Eagle Scout. If you were alive then, do you remember where you were at that moment in history? I was attending the 1969 National Jamboree in Farragut State Park, Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. I and 34,000 of my closest friends (all wearing red jackets!) watched as the telecast of the landing was projected on to giant screens. As I recall, there was a lot of cheering (as one might expect). Earlier in the Apollo 11 mission, on July 18, 1969, while flying toward the moon inside the command module Columbia, Eagle Scout Armstrong sent the following greeting to the Jamboree: “I’d like to say hello to all my fellow Scouts and Scouters at Farragut State Park in Idaho having a National Jamboree there this week.” Armstrong carried with him on the voyage, a World Scout Badge. All told, of the 12 Apollo astronauts to have walked on the moon, 11 were Scouts and two of them (Armstrong and Charles Duke of Apollo 16) were Eagle Scouts.
I’m sure the event we commemorate on its 50th anniversary caused me to get ‘stars in my eyes’ and want to be an astronaut. While that dream was never fulfilled, it did set me on a path to get a degree in astronautics and aeronautics and to pursue a career in Naval Aviation. Scouting and the Moon Landing molded my life. It’s exciting to think about what events will inspire the youth we serve today for the future.
Yours in Commissioner Service,
Unit and Assistant District Commissioner, Colonial District, NCAC
Assistant Council Commissioner (Exploring/Web), National Capital Area Council