Friday, January 24, 2014

Battle of the Bulge

I asked Nathan to write the post for this event...since he was the one who experienced it.  Here's what he said:

Well I was called as scoutmaster and assistant deacons quorum adviser in Nov.  There was no time for a campout in Dec so Jan was our first campout as a new scoutmaster.  One of the things I have been trying to do is let the boys lead.  With a bunch of deacons (12 & 13 yr olds) I feel like it's kinda like giving a kitten a loaded gun.  So I had one boy reserve the campsite and then I figured out where we would go in the morning and do a hike.  I talked to the boy that was bringing the food several times and he said he always had everything worked out, so at that point I just crossed my fingers and hoped it would all work out.  I also then brought enough food for the scouts as a backup plan.  The night before, I downloaded a few documentaries about Bastogne and the Battle of the Bulge and burned them onto 6 DVD’s.  (one for each car) Well off we went to Bastogne, Belgium.  We got there and surprisingly everything went very well.  We had plenty of food that actually tasted pretty good and it was the rain/snow mix the forecast said it would be.  The next day we woke up, the boys made breakfast and then we cleaned up and off we went to the city center of Bastogne.  The scouts here offer a special patch for hiking what's called the Bastogne Historic Trail.  It starts at a tank in the center of town then leads out of town to a memorial.  As I already alluded to, a very important, perhaps the most important battle, in the battle of the bulge took place in Bastogne.  It was fun to learn the history and then go and see the city.  At the end of the trail was the memorial and it was huge.  You could go on top and see the surrounding city and there were maps to tell you what you were looking at.  After we were done we went to the edge of town where there were a bunch of fox holes from the battle in the forest.  They were scattered about and part filled in from erosion but it was still obvious that they were foxholes.  Some could have been holes from mortar fire because they were very circular but most of them were all sorts of different shapes.  The boys loved it and soon started a pinecone war, complete with stick guns and pinecone grenades.  I was amazed at how dark the forest was, from the outside it looked like someone had turned out the lights inside the forest.  Well we came back, had some PB&J, and that was it.  I just cant imagine how those young men fought that war in the cold snow without all our modern equipment.  Here I was in my waterproof shoes, with nice snow pants and I was marginally comfortable.  We got a light dusting but during the actual battle there was a lot of snow on the ground, it must have been miserable.  They truly are the greatest generation.


1 comment:

Sabine Schindler said...

How awesome is that to experience with your Scouts!
I'm sure you'll have many more fun adventures like that. What a great opportunity for you!