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Arrowmen on the Sea

  Paige Morgan and Frank Schaefer             OA Today

Arrowman on the Sea

Many of the valued qualities, such as leadership, character, and service, taught in Scouting and the Order of the Arrow are also valued in the armed forces. Arrowmen from across the country and the world have served in the United States military have served across all the different branches, while other Arrowmen at sea have pursued careers in oceanography and environmental science.

Eric Fretz, an Eagle Scout of the class of 1983 from Troop 1449, is one of many Scouters and Arrowman that have served in the Navy. He served in the United States Navy for 20 years. His first of four deployments were in response to the First Persian Gulf War. He served as an officer on the USS Chosin. He continued his service in the Persian Gulf through his next two deployments, serving in Operation Desert Storm through Operation Iraqi Freedom. Throughout this time, Fretz noted that his experience in Scouting taught him the different leadership skills and character values needed to serve in the military. He elaborated further that understanding your role, the leadership structure, and doing your job is important in the military, as well as Scouting. He also noted that the service to others taught in Scouting is valued in the military.

During his fourth and final tour, he served in the multi-national corps in Baghdad at Victory Base. During his time in Baghdad, he helped to lead the creation of a Scout camp on the base and worked with local organizations and local leaders to help create a program to serve Iraqi youth. He worked with service members in their free time and off days to build the camp and build Scouting in the area. This Arrowman and Scouter traveled the world and brought the Scouting program with him wherever he went in an effort to help guide and lead the future. He used his opportunities in the Navy to serve his country and communities. This service and the importance of Scouting is something personal to him, as some of his mentors in Scouting led him down the path that ultimately led him to serve in the Navy.

Dan McCarthy is an Arrowman with naval experience. He is a former National Order of the Arrow Committee member, having served on the committee for 22 years. He entered Scouting at eight years old and continued in Scouting throughout the years in various roles across the district, council, area, and national levels. During his time in Scouting, he led the creation of the Summit Bechtel Reserve, organizing the opening and operations of the Summit from 2012 to 2017. Part of his responsibilities included preparing for the jamborees in 2013 and 2017 and is providing his expertise for the National Jamboree this summer.

Remarking on his experience on the National Order of the Arrow Committee, he said,

“Much has happened in 22 years, so we have implemented a lot of different initiatives, all I think aligned to where Scouting was at the time, and where we, as an Order, could support Scouting. After all, our purpose.”

McCarthy stated, “Because of my military service, and subsequent roles in business I have traveled extensively across the world to over 76 different countries at last count.”

McCarthy entered the naval service in 1969. Throughout his career in the Navy, he served for 38 years across five different ships. His first deployment was during the Vietnam War, where he served on a ship that made supply runs from Guam to Saigon to support the operations in Saigon. Subsequently, he served on a complete ballistic missile tender, a new class of tank landing ship, a marine corps supporter helicopter carrier, and finally on the USS Missouri. The Navy reactivated the battleship, and on it, he traveled across the world. He concluded his career in the Pentagon as the Vice Chief of Naval Operations for Fleet Readiness and Logistics. 

Regarding his experiences in the Navy and his experiences in Scouting, he explained,

“The idea of service has always been a part of my DNA. But equally, or maybe even more important were the leadership lessons that I learned that are just as applicable as you get more senior and get more involved as they were when I was a Scout.” 

The skill of leadership is transferable to the Navy and life as a whole, and the values and skills learned in Scouting and the Navy are invaluable to him. 

Evan Odell, an Arrowman from Amangamek-Wipit 470, brings a new perspective to what “Arrowmen on the sea” really means. While most Arrowmen might initially think of involvement with the United States Navy, Evan spent his summer at the Brinton Environmental Center (BEC) at Florida Sea Base, where he and the other staff members helped educate Scouts on ways they can help save our oceans. 

“I had two main roles for my job at the BEC: one being that I managed the coral nursery. I would test the pH and do a lot of testing and regulations to ensure the corals stayed healthy,” he stated. “Something we do is micro-fragmentation, where we would cut up the corals into smaller pieces so that we could expand the numbers of corals.”

While corals were a big part of Evan’s work at the BEC, he and the other staff also did general environmental education, where Scouts could learn through hands-on experiences. According to Evan, the staff takes Scouts out on the sea to fish for big fish, like Mahi Mahi, and sharks, some being as large as up to 10-12 feet long. During these outings, they learn how to fish sustainably, so they know how to keep the organisms of our oceans alive. Scouts get to learn about what makes the ocean and marine life work while also learning how to protect them. 

In Lowwapaneu Lodge 191, adviser CJ Hughes compares his 21 years in the United States Navy to the work he gets to do in Scouting every day. 

“My 21 years was dedicated to working for and with others for their advancement, and that’s what Scouting is about,” Hughes reflected.

While his days in the Navy reflect well on his work in Scouting, there are other things that are specific to the Navy that CJ holds dear. CJ also earned the Royal Order of Magellan, which is given to individuals who have circumnavigated the globe and given back to the world of science and the future through peace and understanding. 

 For any Arrowmen who are interested in joining the US Military Services, he advised,

“They need to remember that it’s service, and that they are going to be serving others. If they go into it with that mindset, they will definitely go far.”

For these Arrowmen, they could find where their specific experiences overlapped with the work they did in Scouting. From finding connections in their service to working hands-on with Scouts at the Brinton Environmental Center, they were able to make Scouting and life on the water one and the same.

A flag ceremony on the Victory Base in Iraq led by the Scouting program in Baghdad.
A flag ceremony on the Victory Base in Iraq led by the Scouting program in Baghdad.