When should youth and adults wear the Eagle Scout medal?

expertlogo1Three things signify to others that you’re an Eagle Scout.

You’ve got the oval rank patch, which is only for youth; the square knot, which is only for adults; and the Eagle medal, which is for … whom exactly?

When (and where) adults and youth should wear the Eagle Scout medal is the subject of today’s Ask the Expert.

I checked in with Peter Self, team leader for Member Experience Innovation, to answer this frequently asked question.

Question 1: When is it appropriate for youth members to wear the Eagle Scout medal? On the uniform at any time? On formal occasions only?

Answer 1: The overarching guideline to all awards, including the Eagle rank, is to keep the uniform neat and uncluttered. This doesn’t mean we shouldn’t display those awards and recognitions we have earned, but we shouldn’t wear more than is appropriate for our position or the occasion.

In most instances, the Eagle patch and the medal should not be worn at the same time; however, on special occasions, such as courts of honor or special banquets, it would be considered appropriate.

We couldn’t possibly address every circumstance that would arise (honoring a beloved Scoutmaster at his/her memorial service, attending the BSA’s annual Report to the Nation, etc.), so we leave this up to the discretion of the Scout.

If he does choose to wear the medal, he should wear it above the left pocket flap of the uniform.

Question 2: When is it appropriate for adult Eagle Scouts to wear the medal? With their field uniform? With a business suit?

Answer 2: Adults who have earned the Eagle rank should wear the red, white and blue square knot (item No. 5011), which represents the Eagle rank, when in official Scout uniform.

While it is not specifically addressed in official BSA literature, as a matter of convention it is also acceptable for adults to wear the medal on special occasions, such as those noted above. That means either on the field uniform or, if the adult is wearing business attire, on the left lapel or above the left breast pocket of a business suit or sports coat.

Ask the Expert

Find other expertly answered questions here, and ask your own by emailing me.

Photo from Flickr: Some rights reserved by Daniel M. Reck


  1. The Guide to Insignia states adults should only wear the Eagle medal on formal Eagle occasions. Therefore wearing it to an Eagle Court of Honor on another special Eagle function such as a Council Eagle recognition banquet would be appropriate.

  2. I wore my medal pinned to my field uniform as my Cub Scouts presented the flag at a Veteran’s Day event last week. A veteran, who had no idea what the square knot means, walked past three other adult Eagles to shake my hand and let me know that the first aid skills he learned while earning HIS Eagle saved two lives while he was a Marine in Da Nang, Vietnam.

    It’s very appropriate on some occasions. I’ll wear mine again for an Eagle COH this winter, for Scout Sunday, and for Memorial Day…but otherwise it will remain in its box.

  3. Certain senior military colleges allow the medal to be worn on their uniforms as well. I am currently a cadet at Texas A&M and we are authorized to wear a red, white and blue ribbon on our Class B uniforms and the Eagle Medal on our Class A uniforms.

    • Daniel, Our son is a ’96 Aggie grad ( Old Army Cock Company C-2) and he wore his Eagle Medal and ribbon the same as you. The Aggie Eagle program recognizes prospective students who commit to joining the The Fighting Texas Aggie Corps of Cadets with a small scholarship good for four semesters.

  4. What about a male Venturer who has earned Eagle… does he switch from the oval badge (for youth) to the knot (for adults) when he turns 18 or when he turns 21?

    • Matthew; This just changed due to the new venturing awards. As the awards are to be placed on the left pocket, both venture youth and Adults are permitted to wear the Eagle knot. This was published in a previous version of the FAQs.

    • The guidance rolling out with the new Venturing awards program suggests youth members will wear the square knot for most of their time in Venturing. Once any of the new Venturing awards is earned it takes the spot on the left pocket and the Eagle Scouts can wear the square knot. Hypothetically the scout would wear the oval badge until he earns the Venturing award, but since this is trivially easy (1 activity, personal safety, commit to join) it wouldn’t be worth the effort to sew it on and then remove it less than a month later.

    • According to Jillian Infusino (the National Venturing Vice President):
      “Currently there is nothing to show a male’s Boy Scout Advancement and Venturing Awards. The male must make the personal choice to decide what he wants to wear. This is where it is helpful to have two uniforms, but I understand that that is not always the case.”

        • No. He’s talking about a male Venturer who is earning Star, Life, and Eagle as a Venturer. He can choose to wear those patches or the Venturing Advancement awards on the left pocket.

      • It would be silly for a male Venturer to have two uniforms if he is only registered in one unit and in one program!

        I understand that if an individual is in a Boy Scout troop earning Boy Scout advancement AND he’s also in a Venturing Crew earning Venturing awards, than he might want to have two uniforms (a tan shirt for Boy Scouts and a green shirt for Venturing).

        But what if the individual is only registered in one unit and is earning both Boy Scout advancement and Venturing Awards as a member of a Venturing crew? Why have two shirts?!? Would he have two green shirts (one for Boy Scout patches and one for Venturing patches)? Which one would he wear to Crew meetings? What silliness!

        • Seen quite a few scouts/ventures only in 1 unit with 2 uniforms. Camp Staff, Jamborees, NYLT Staff are just some of the reasons someone may have 2.

        • I’m a real old-timer, apparently. The first summer I worked on camp staff (1983), we had to wear our full field uniform all the time that we were “on duty” — from 7:45 in the morning through the end of dinner — and all evening if we were working on an evening program. We were required to have two complete short sleeve uniforms and one long sleeve. The 1984 staff, by the way, was allowed to wear camp t-shirts in the program areas during instructional time.

  5. As a current Cub Scout leader, I always wear my medal to the annual Blue and Gold banquet. The Cubs like to see it and it allows them start thinking toward the “ultimate goal.”

    • The “ultimate goal”!?! What?!? Eagle Scout is not the goal of Scouting! The Scouting program has three specific goals, commonly referred to as the “Aims of Scouting.” They are character development, citizenship training, and personal fitness. Notice, “Eagle Scout” (or even the advancement program) is not mentioned there.

      The rank of Eagle is not the “ultimate goal” or “final level” in the game of Scouting. Once you achieve it, you’ve not “won” or “finished” the game. There is still much more to the game beyond Eagle. You’re perpetuating the notion here that once a Scout hits Eagle he’s done with the program, he’s finished. Eagle Scout shouldn’t be the ultimate goal!

      Getting a Scout to Eagle is not a goal or objective of the program; advancement, after all, is just one of the eight methods of Scouting. The final stretch of the advancement trail to Eagle is less than 1/12 of the total trail from Tiger Cub to Eagle Scout. Here’s some quick math for you: 1/12 of 1/8 is 1%. Meaning a Scout who does everything except the final paperwork and project to earn Eagle has done more than 99% of what Scouting has to offer a young man. That’s an A+ in my book.

      Stop thinking we’re in the business of making Eagle Scouts and you’ll improve the program – which is building character, citizenship and fitness.

      • Although I agree with everything you say, Brad, your comment was a bit harsh (and I don’t mind that). To a Cub, however, character, citizenship, and fitness don’t mean anything. I get the spirit of the ultimate goal comment, but you’re absolutely right. There’s a lot more to Scouting than an Eagle badge. We’re in the character building business, and if we ever forget that, we’re not effective leaders.

      • I agree with the concept that Scouting does not have an “end” and that a life of service and self development are a lot of what it’s all about.

        I would also submit that if you treat the list of advancement tasks as a progress bar to achieving Eagle it’s a lot like installing a program. That is, when the progress bar gets to 99% (Life) everything seems to slow down and take forever. Therefore, I would say that it’s not really at 99%…more like 75%. If it was really 99% then there wouldn’t be so few to actually get to Eagle.

      • I am an Eagle Scout. I have a brother who is also an Eagle Scout. I have another brother who “only” made it to the rank of Life, and I can tell you he is by far the best scout in my family. He has shown more dedication to the Boy Scouts than anyone I know. For more than 40 years he has helped, taught and inspired countless young men — including me. He also has three sons. One is a Special Agent in the Air Force, one just became an Eagle Scout, and his youngest is only a few requirements away. One should never think scouting is only about earning badges and obtaining ranks.

  6. My son and his fellow eagle scout classmates wore their medals on their “gown” for their high school commencement ceremony. The school allowed no other adornments on the gown but thought the achievement and medal significant enough that they permitted all six boys to wear their medals.

  7. As with the Congressional Medal of Honor; I’d say the owner has earned the right to determine the manner and method of his own choosing as to when, where, how and why he wears his award.

    • I might be talking out of school here but I’d check with the Medal of Honor Society (www.cmohs.org) to see if any of their recipients would say they earned a right to do what ever they want with that honor. It’s just my guess but I think the MOH humbles a man. I certainly don’t feel that I can do anything of my own choosing with my Eagle medal. I’ll say this respectfully but anything else is very arrogant.

  8. As an Eagle Scout and Veteran of the United States Navy, I was told it is one of the only civilian medals that can be wore on the uniform. Don’t know how true but then again, I wore mine proudly!

  9. If you wear knots sewn onto your “everyday”uniform that symbolize medals that are pinned on such as Eagle, Religious emblems (youth or adult), Den Leader/Scouter Training Awards & Keys,and neck awards such as Silver Beaver, etc, are you supposed to have a “dress” uniform that does NOT have these ribbons for occasions when you wear the actual medals?

    In the military, you wear either ribbons or medals, not both, so is the intention of keeping the uniform “uncluttered” meant to reflect this standard or is there a clear statement?

    • Can you document the above policy in BSA literature? Not to be a pain, but not everyone can afford multiple shirts. Or if they have multiple shirts it’s because they have multiple roles, i.e. den leader and troop committee member.

      While the BSA does have many similarities with the military, we do have different rules and regulations.

      • Nahila, that is my point in asking the question. I like having durable knots on my BSA uniform, but when it is time for a special occasion and I pin on my medals, it DOES start to look cluttered. If there is an expectation of removing knots when the medals are worn, the BSA needs to make uniforms more affordable.

        • “Cloth badges and embroidered square knots are representative of metal pin-on awards and are designed for the convenience of the wearer. Generally, when a cloth badge or knot is worn, the metal one is not worn.”

          The above is from page 11 of the Guide To Awards And Insignia. One way to accomplish this is using hook and loop fastener (e.g. Velcro) for attaching square knots. Some of my uniform shirts have a single row of Velcro above the left pocket. If I’m wearing medals for a formal occasion then I have three knots in place which aren’t represented by medals. If I’m wearing the shirts for non-formal events then I pick which three are attached. I might wear only youth awards, only adult awards, the three I consider most important, or the highest award earned in Cub Scouts / Boy Scouts / adult Scouting.

  10. I have a line of medals for formal occasions 3 of them are drapped on a ribbon bar, the other 2 won’t work that way. The Eagle medal goes first and is worn at formal occasions. COH, District banquets, etc The medals are: Eagle, Scouters award, scouters training award (with 2 pins) The Florida award and a hiking medal (which changes every so often amongst the hike medals I have.

  11. I’m an assistant cubmaster and also wear to the Blue and Gold each year, as well as in the Memorial Day parade – important motivator for the Cubs to stay in the program. Other than that, formal eagle occasions only.

  12. “While it is not specifically addressed in official BSA literature, as a matter of convention it is also acceptable for adults to wear the medal on special occasions, such as those noted above.”

    As Robert has pointed out, wearing of the Eagle medal by adults is covered in official BSA literature; namely, B.S.A., Guide to Awards and Insignia, 33066, ISBN 978-0-8395-3066-4 (2012)

    The cryptic language is “Adults wear only on formal Eagle occasions.” Id. at p. 30 http://www.scouting.org/filestore/pdf/33066_Section2.pdf

  13. I also wear Mine to occasions that I believe warrant it. I’ll be adding the Veterans Day flag ceremonies, as I believe that were it not for what I learned on the path to Eagle, I wouldn’t be going to them. I wear it specifically to the Blue & Gold and any courts of honor where ranks are being bestowed. I believe firmly that I earned that medal and the rank, and wear it proudly as inspiration to those who are advancing.

  14. I’m not able to make out the pin on the (left) pocket flap. Is it the President’s Volunteer Service Award? The only pins authorized for left pocket flap are the Sea Badge and
    Emergency Preparedness. I believe Stem Mentor, Eagle Dad or Mentor, Cub Summertime Award, Crime Prevention are considered lapel pins (not for Field Uniform). Correct?

    BTW I want Scouts and leaders be allowed to wear any Presidential award on the Field Uniform Suggest above the right pocket. Examples: President’s Volunteer Service Award (bronze, Silver and Gold); President’s Call to Service Award; Presidential Champion, bronze, silver or gold (fitness program); the old Presidential Sports Award. Your toughts?

  15. From the insignia guide
    “Cloth badges and embroidered square knots are representative of metal pin-on awards and are designed for the convenience of the wearer. Generally, when a cloth badge or knot is worn, the metal one is not worn.”

    To me this clearly says that we should not wear a square knot and medal for the same award (Eagle, Scouters Key, God and Country, Silver Beaver ..,) at the same time.

    I have a “dress” uniform that has no square knots on it and I wear my three medals and my Silver Beaver on special occasions, generally Eagle Scout courts of honor.

    I have another uniform with my square knots (7 that I wear) for other times.

    Now that brings the question, could I wear the medals and the three other square knots. The answer appears to be yes. However I think it looks weird so do not wear any square knots with the medals. I think some of the confusion is that the insignia guide actually shows this.

    That being said I would never say anything to a Scout that is proudly wearing both the oval patch and a medal at a COH. But adults I will point it out to.

    • Our troop had an Eagle ceremony this evening and my Eagle Venturer wore everything. He had his Eagle, his Religious Emblems, his Bronze Vernturing, and conservation medal. He has his religious achievements documented on a square knot with pins but also wore his medal. For the most part when there is something like an Eagle ceremony they pull out all of their bling.

      One thing I do have a problem with is adding various items around the neck. I have seen adults who wear three and four items around their necks at a time. Talk about cluttered!

    • In the old days, Boy Scouts wore metal rank awards; there was one for Tenderfoot, Second Class, First Class, all the way up. At some point, very early on, BSA started making cloth patches for each of those ranks, but they still make the metal badges, which some troops use to this day instead of the cloth ones. The policy states that you should not wear both the metal and the cloth badge for any given rank. In recent years (decades?), people have thought that metal meant medal and wasn’t allowed. We wear our square knots 365 days a year (at least I do); we wear our Eagle medal perhaps half a dozen times a year. We’re not going to remove the square knot every time we put on the medal. It’s not practical. Bryan, thanks for clarifying BSA policy and stating definitively that it’s ok to wear the medal without removing the square knot.

  16. I disagree with BSA policy on the wear of the oval Eagle patch by adults. Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts do not recognize nor care about cloth knots, but they do recognize the Eagle patch and Arrow of Light patch. Call me a rebel, but I will continue to wear the patches I was awarded and patches that scouts recognize. Once an Eagle always an Eagle. …..yes, yes, I am a terrible leader for being such a rebel……

    • Personally, I would never nominate you, nor approve you for a higher (district or council) position, due to your inability to be a proper example, and your nonverbal encouragement for youth to completely disregard rules and guidelines.

      In my opinion, yes, you’re a bad “leader”.

      • You sound like someone who didn’t earn Eagle, he earned the damn thing and can wear it as he sees fit. You’re probably just another one of those award jockeys who as an adult tries to earn everything you can because you are jealous of that one rank that you’ll never hold.

      • So yeah, nobody really cares who you do or don’t approve for higher district council. Your types are never liked in scouting. You are the typical classical dictator type who thinks you are some General of some Banana Republic and try to pick on people.

      • Bob,
        You sir in my humble opinion are a great example of a poor leader who as Mr. Wooden kindly pointed out are not very courteous and thus does not follow the example of the Scout Law very well. You most likely never earned the rank of Eagle Scout, otherwise you would not be so rude in your remarks.

        I earned my Eagle Scout award in 1984 and I completely disagree with the BSA policy on adult and leader uniforms when it comes to the Eagle Scout rank. The Eagle is the highest rank that can be achieved as a youth in Scouting and the oval Eagle Scout patch should be able to be worn for life if you are a registered leader, whether for Cub Scouts, Boy Scouts, Venture or other programs.

        Almost no one outside of “uniform rule Nazi’s”, or trained adults who have been in Scouting for many years knows anything about the “knot’s” and what those many types of patches represent. Everyone recognizes the oval Eagle Scout rank patch and as such it should be allowed to be worn on any adult uniform if you are an Eagle Scout. Especially for the younger boys in Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts it teaches them that as an Eagle Scout you are a Scout for life and will always promote the values of Scouting.

        Also, thank you Mr. McClanahan, for succinctly pointing out the obvious. The rules need to be changed, period. Everyone recognizes the Eagle Scout badge, or medal and almost no one recognizes all the various knots. The percentage of youth who earn Eagle Scout is still small and those who do should be able to proudly wear it for life. Here, here, we need a Round Table or National Conclave to change this silly uniform rule on the Eagle Scout Award.

        If you are against it then you are either not an Eagle Scout or just plain stubborn on promoting a widely recognized honor that few earn in Scouting. There are debates on the actual percentages anywhere between 4% to 33% depending on how you crunch the statistics. That being said at best it is still less than a 1/3 and more likely overall less than 10%. There I have stated my opinion whether anyone likes it or not, but I would still bet that most Eagle Scouts would agree on this one change to the uniform rule and as a way to promote Scouting and honor those who have achieved the Rank.

  17. That logic would mean that an adult First Class Scout would also be ‘eligible’ to wear his oval patch on his uniform. I don’t think that’s a wise idea. If ‘Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts do not recognize nor care about cloth knots,’ it really wouldn’t take much to educate them. It could easily be made into a little quiz or scavenger hunt.

  18. I have a photo from the ’60s of our SM wearing his Eagle medal on the field uniform during an outdoor avtivity. I didn’t remember a square knot.

    As The Book says, knots are a convenience, and medals aren’t “generally” worn at the same time. Special cases are obviously the events we’ve talked about: COH, and other formal events.

  19. I attended a meeting yesterday with a group of adults from my old troop (discussing the upcoming centennial of our founding, and the 75th anniversary of our current charter) and was reminded that one of the men at the table had earned his Eagle at age 14 in 1976, and wore the medal pretty much continuously while he was a scout. It ended up badly faded, and a bit frayed.

    As a surprise for him in 2006, the troop celebrated the 30th anniversary of his Eagle by replacing his medal for him. (As an adult, he served a year as Scoutmaster and has now been on the Troop Committee for 23 years)

  20. “…but we shouldn’t wear more than is appropriate for our position or the occasion.”

    What kind of monsense is *this*?!? Define “appropriate” Define what is “appropriate” for which positions and occasions.

    I’m not kidding–I want definitions.

  21. To the comment on building character: I would add,
    a la Michaelangelo and a marble block,
    and Scout Leaders with youth,
    quoting Coach John Wooden,
    “Athletics doesn’t build character; athletics reveals character.”

  22. Would it be acceptable to attach scouting square knot awards to a backing of some kind and then to a “military ribbon bar” so as to have removable square knots interchangable with a bar with the medals mounted to it?

    • In my investigation, the Military Bar does not fit our Knots. My solution after several attempts:

      I settled on my most significant 6 Knots, Eagle, youth God in Country, SB, etc.

      I went to a local fabric/sewing store, and found some “Tandy” leather in Beige. I cut out a 3×2 knot size of this very supple leather. I purchased a box of Brass plated thumb tacks. 4 tacks in the corners of the leather rectangle. Loctite makes NOW several flexible, waterproof glues that are suitable for use with leather, rubber, fabric, etc. (<$10). A "sandbag" of #8 lead shot. A piece of stiff, dense foam. I use military style backs, with the button, (surplus stores) so that I do not get "pinned".

      Press the tacks through the leather into the foam(dot of glue?). Apply Glue to the knots, and then place the knots on the leather [check orientation]. Gently place the shot bag weight on top of the knots, so that you do not displace them.

      Let this rest in the garage for 24 hours. If sometime in the future you wish to change a knot, it is possible to peel, and apply a new knot.

      ONE SET OF KNOTS, ANY shirt, and durable since the 2013 Jamboree, when on staff.
      NO MORE SEWING!!!!!

  23. I tend to agree with ohscouter and disagree with Bob about the wearing of the cloth badge. I have been registered for 53 years of consecutive registration. I have been an Eagle Scout since 1971. I wear 27 knots on my shirt, and probably could wear another 6 or 7. Every one of them earned, and each of them a special place in my heart. I have served in more positions than I care to count and currently still serve in 2 at the present time. I do follow the rules in regards to wearing of the cloth badge and also when to wear the metal one. But I have the same problem. Too many scouts and scouters don’t know what each knot means and, thus lies the problem as well as too few really care what they mean. But to an adult that has earned his Eagle Rank, the badge means a lot. I think it should be left up to the wearer as to which he chooses to wear. While some might say that my uniform is cluttered, it is hard to decide which wear and which to put in a drawer. I will continue to obey the rules, but because most people don’t know what each knots mean I say it is important that we allow people to know what the Eagle Badge is. I also agree that it is important to lead by example, but just because I do, doesn’t mean that people know I’m and Eagle Scout unless they ask or if I wear my medal at an appropriate event, as described above. I think it is a stupid rule and should be left up to the wearer. That’s all I have to say for now. Carry on good scouters!

    • Usually the only ones who make a big deal out of it never earned Eagle in the first place. Why should they dictate to us what we do as Eagles? These types sadly are all in scouting and they are in it to claim every award they can, they act like they are dictators of some Banana Republic. Known many of this type of “leader” over the years, can’t stand the type.

  24. Perhaps we are missing something here.

    1) Clarify the rules BSA.
    2) Eagle Scout Award is one of the most recognizable and respected awards presented by any organization in the country.

    Why would we want to deminish this award by “hiding” it from view just a few years after a young man earns it?!

    I earned my Eagle Scout in 1975 and spend 28 years in the USAF. After my retirement, when I sought to become active again in scouting with my sons troop I was astonished to find that the only thing I could wear to state that I was an Eagle Scout was the cloth square knot, which so many of you here have stated too many do not recognize. Frankly I’m insulted by the language you quote from directives herein that for me to wear my Eagle Scout badge or medal on my adult uniform would be considered clutter.! After 28 years in the military I’m all about obeying the rules, but on occasions rules do need to be clarified & changed. I believe the BSA recently changed a big one. The uniform change way back now was a big deal. Venture scouting, a new idea. So I don’t see youth and adults prohibited from wearing the Eagle badge or medal as something sacrosanct. Perhaps for the good of scouting, before it gives way to the X box & tomorrow’s virtual reality games, we should be proudly wearing our Eagle badges on our uniforms and our Eagle medal on our business suit or Sunday bests.

    I call for a Round Table to be convened.

    • Brian,
      Thank you for your service in the Air Force, and now in Scouting. Having been in the military that long should make it pretty clear that we wear different things at different times. If you have an Air Medal, you don’t wear it on your fatigues, nor on your class A uniform. You either wear nothing, or you wear a little ribbon. Whether people know what it is, or not, isn’t terribly important. When you wear a dress uniform, you wear the medal. Otherwise you don’t (even when you’d really like to). Scouting isn’t much different. I’ve heard it said (mostly in forums like this one), that people don’t recognize the Eagle square knot. I don’t buy that for a second. If they have any interest at all in uniforms, they know. If they don’t, they wouldn’t recognize a Medal of Honor either.
      We have different insignia for different ages and occasions. We have a guide that tells us when, where, and how to wear them (just like the Air Force). As many have said on this forum, you shouldn’t have to wear your medals for people to know who/what you are. You’ve been recognized for your achievements. Congratulations. Now it’s time to focus on others (mostly our youth), and get them recognized for their achievements.

    • I am the Rick that made a comment on April 23rd. I think both Cole and Brian have good thoughts. I tend to agree with Brian a little more however. I just attended a Scout Expo where several youth and adults came up to me and asked my about the knots on my shirt. I had two adults say, “it’s too bad you didn’t make Eagle”. I replied, “this is my Eagle knot, here”. Out of 9 people who were interested in my knots and the devices that were on them; only one thought he knew that I had an Eagle knot but wasn’t sure. Most of the 9 were 4 adults and 5 youth. They were also newer leaders and just starting out. I walked away concerned that of those 9; maybe only 1 or 2 would ever completely take an interest in knots. I might add that I was standing with my Eagle son who still wears his Rank Badge. He is turning 19 this month so I informed him if he was to continue in scouting that he should probably start wearing the knot. However, getting back to the group of 9; they recognized his Eagle badge right off. I also had another friend who came up to me and because he is always teasing me about things, told me he couldn’t find me in the Eagle Scout registry. I told him it was probably because he wasn’t using my full name. This surprised me, so when I came home I looked up my name, and much to my surprise, unless you look up someone by the name that was at his BOR, then you won’t find him. I immediately sent a letter to NESA and told them this was a total disconnect. My friends know be only by Rick and my last name, while my Eagle info is actually under Harold Richard and my last name. I suggested that this needs to be fixed. After all, how many of us know all of our scouting friends full name. I also told them of my thoughts on the wearing of the Eagle Badge. I agree with Brian and think it should be worn if the wearer wishes to do so. I do feel that you should wear one or the other. Either the knot or the Badge. I also said in my last post that while I abide with the official policies of the BSA, I too feel that this should be changed. I also attended an Eagle COH for 5 new Eagles last Sunday and I had several people (non-scouting leaders, but parents) tell me they didn’t know for sure if I was an Eagle because I don’t usually brag about it unless I’m asked, of course. But because they saw my Eagle medal they realized I was an Eagle. I think it is time for a change. I mean what does it really hurt. I too think that a Round Table is in order, enough is enough. As I stated in my previous post of April 23, I wear 27 knots and 8 devices. While some consider this cluttered, I say which knots do I quit wearing. I am a Council Scouter, so I am always in one of the 4 program areas at any given point. I also stated previously that I could probably wear 6 or 7 more knots but I don’t know where to put them. Good Luck everyone. Rick, Eagle’71

  25. As a Sea Scouter mom I read the SS Manuel where it says up to 6 knots and sewed the Eagle knot on my (15 yr) sons SS New Century uniform. Another SS uniform police mom (so rude!!) told my son that he had to get that off there until he was an adult. I took it off.
    A few months later, I see Area Venturer youth leader (15 yr) wearing his Eagle knot on his dark green/gray pants uniform. He tells me they are different programs (Boyscouts – Venturing) so the knot is okay to wear on Venturing (aka Sea Scout) uniforms and to put it back on.
    What is really correct? Thanks! (kf7dhl@gmail.com)

  26. I’m not sure when the knots came into regular use on the uniforms, but I do remember a couple of my SM’s when I was a scout still wore their Eagle badges (this was early 80’s). I also remember that my grandfather always wore his on his uniform shirt as well when he was an adult. Still had it on his uniform when he received the Silver Beaver. As to medals, he only wore those on more formal occasions. While I don’t wear my badge as an adult, I do have the knots for my youth awards (Eagle, God and Country, Arrow of Light). I only bring out the medals for courts of honor and such. I wouldn’t want to wear them to field activities. All those dangly things easily get snagged or damaged.

    • Jim — the knots came into regular use fairly early after World War II. I have a 1950’s copy of the Scoutmaster’s Handbook that shows them. . .

    • The square knots have been and are stupid. It makes more sense to make ribbons like the military and youth organizations such as the Civil Air Patrol and Sea Cadets use that can be taken off and put on. Buying multiple sets of knots for several uniforms are asinine and always have been. They need to make regular style ribbons and ditch those ugly asinine square knots. As an Eagle Scout, I’ve never liked them and found them to be nothing but trouble.

  27. After reading some of the comments, I think there’s one really important point missing from the discussion. Boy Scouting is for youth. It’s great that they have recognitions for adults, but those are not the focus of the program. Why are youth the only ones allowed to wear the oval? Because it’s a youth program. For this reason, I don’t wear my youth C.O.P.E. knot or my Parvuli Dei as an adult, even though I earned them and am proud of them. I also limit what I wear to COHs and other events where youth awards are the focus.

    The one exception is my Eagle medal, but only at Eagle COHs or recognition banquets. A boy earning Eagle places him in an elite society. Thus wearing an Eagle medal at these events is not a show of individual accomplishment, but instead a sign of solidarity with the boy who has accomplished so much.

  28. As an adult assistant Scoutmaster, I always wore the Eagle Scout Badge. I worked to hard and too proud to wear and Eagle Scout Square knot of the same designation which too many have no idea what it is.

  29. I personally think Scouters who attain the rank of Eagle (and only Eagle) should be allowed to wear the oval patch on their uniform. I think the Eagle knot should be used to signify that the Eagle is a Lifetime member of NESA. IMHO, reducing the Eagle rank to a knot does not sufficiently signify the distinction of attaining the Eagle rank. Followingly, I think the Eagle Medal should be reserved for (scouter) civilian wear, such as the lapel of a suit during appropriate “formal” occasions.

    • Rob, I agree with you whole heartily, I have been in the program for 53 year, earned my Eagle in 71″. Got married in 72″, suddenly I was an adult scouter. I wore my oval for about 6 months. Now, I am constantly explaining that I am an Eagle and this is my knot. The only time anyone knows I am an Eagle is when I attend a court of honor or other special event where I might wear the medal. I think the time of saying we aren’t deserving to wear the oval anymore is childish. I is probably decided on by people that aren’t Eagle scouts. Bravo to you, lets get something rolling. Your in the Eagle Brotherhood, Rick Eagle 71′.

      • I’m sorry, but I couldn’t disagree more. Our focus (by definition) is to develop character in young people. The focus should be, by design, entirely on the youth. We do happen to recognize adults for their service, and one who has attained Eagle always ‘wears’ that title, but our purpose and intent is to develop and recognize the kids. They’re the ones who wear the ranks and lots of patches. I would argue that if an adult thinks he should wear the Eagle patch, he might also think that he should wear the 60 merit badges he earned to demonstrate that he’s more special than his fellow Eagle who only earned 21. Great conversation piece and a motivation for the Scouts (same argument as that for wearing the Eagle patch). And if we’re going to wear the Eagle patch, why not the Life patch and the 20 merit badges to show how close one was, because that’s pretty impressive, too? Then they’d have a visual aid to demonstrate how close they came, and share their regrets. Great conversation starter. Kids may not know what a Key or a Silver Beaver is either. Should we wear them on our uniforms as often as we think it’s important for a kid to recognize our achievements? When we put on a Scout uniform, we should put our ego in our pocket; not on it.

        • Youth want to wear the Eagle patch oval a long time to show everyone you earned it? Don’t wait until you are 17+ to finish earning Eagle.

          My son earned Eagle at 14 and even has several palms now.

          “Aims of Scouting” doesn’t list Eagle as the goal.

          Found out answer to my question before. Venturing youth can wear CubScout/BoyScout knots (Arrow of Light/ Youth Religious /Eagle knots) on their Venturing uniforms, consistently taught by Area 6 President all the way up to National Venturing Advisor.

        • True. Venturing youth are also entitled to wear their Boy Scout rank and the Arrow of Light patches on their uniforms.

        • Cole, I appreciate your comments; which actually sounded a little harsh to me. I do follow the rules and obey them to the letter. It is just very frustrating to me when, not only myself, but plenty of others who have earned The Eagle rank at 16 or 17, 17 particularly; who get to wear the patch for 6 months to a year and then told they have to take it off. It really makes no sense to me. I think it is a motivator to those other youth that we mentor. The youth don’t know what knots represent either. To me, if I am trying to motivate a young man to achieve the Eagle Rank, and they can see it, in the flesh so to speak, I think that is a good thing. It is frustrating to me to see Adults have to explain themselves to others that don’t know knots, that “Yes” I am an Eagle Scout but can’t wear my badge now, because someone tells me that I can’t. I have been an Eagle Scout for 44 years. I serve in the scouting program to this day. Consecutively registered for 53 years. I think teaching, motivating, encouraging, helping and setting an example is what the young men need. I have gone to 6 courts of honor this year alone; almost everyone over 18 doesn’t understand the “rule” either. Young men that hear the adults talking and saying that they can’t wear the oval after they turn 18, are frustrated as well. Other boys in the wings, waiting to get their Eagle listen to this and don’t understand it either. It seems like that we are moving away from some of the traditionalism. I remember there was a time where you could wear the oval no matter what age you are. I know rules are important, and as I stated, I follow them. I just feel, as others around me do, that maybe this is an item that needs to have a second look see. Rules about wearing things on the uniform have changed many times in my scouting career, some decisions I thought were appropriate, others not so much. I have had 2 near death experiences in my life, one in the last 45 days. I think I will tell my wife to make sure that she at least pins my oval on my uniform in my coffin. mainly because I won’t be able to tell them “yes, I’m an Eagle scout and this my knot”. I see some adults that do not follow the rules on this matter; I never know whether or not to say “hey you can’t wear that anymore”. I figure maybe he knows already but this is the choice he made. It will be interesting to see what the future holds. I mean, look at all the recent changes.Still a proud Eagle, and I will go on explaining what this knot means. Rick Pixler, class of ’71

        • No problem. We’ll not be agreeing on this, but we can both still play an important role in the lives of our Scouts.

      • I’ve been saying the same for years, those square knots are asinine and only a source of income for the BSA uniform division. It would make more sense to have actual ribbons like the youth military organizations have that can be taken off and on. All that sewing on multiple uniforms is just asinine. Also I earned Eagle as I was turning 18 so I never got to wear my oval patch, never. It is true, nobody knows what that stupid square knot is nor do they care. The BSA needs an overhaul in some of this asinine uniform crap. You are right in pointing out that these rules are made by non-Eagle Scouts and those adult “leaders” who constantly try to have a rack of knots all over their uniform because they are so jealous of one single award, the Eagle. I’ve known many of these types in scouting and they act like a dictator of a banana republic. They try to qualify for every adult award possible to make up for never getting Eagle. I ALWAYS ignore those types, they mean nothing to me. There is also a group of Vigil Honor OA Members too who think that Vigil is above Eagle but thats another whole story, they too are beyond asinine.

  30. Richard, and Cole, thank your for your thoughtful comments. By way of full disclosure, I am the NESA Committee Chairman in CT Yankee Council, in CT. That said, these opinions are my own and do not represent those of other Council leadership. I do think Scouting erred in signifying the rank of Eagle as a knot for the scouter uniform. Historically, Scouting has tracked the insignia conventions of the US military (which is why silver rather than gold signifies a higher rank). Knots, I believe are intended to be analogous to military campaign ribbons. The difference here is that the military typically has three modes of uniform – Full Dress, Service Dress and Utility. The Boy Scouts have 2 types of uniforms Class A and Class B. Class Bs have no rank insignia on them,

    This is why I advocate the Eagle medal for “formal” business attire (business suit / formal wear) – none of which the Boy Scouts offer. (BTW, the Boy Scouts could offer a high quality navy blue “Eagle Scout Blazer” with an eagle patch on the pocket – which I would surely buy).

    As for the knots versus the pocket patch – I strongly stand by my assertion that Eagle is such a notable distinction that its wearer has earned the right to keep this insignia on their uniform pocket. Scouting has a huge structural challenge transitioning scouts to scouters – especially in their under 25 years. Compelling an Eagle to remove their hard-earned badge of rank is a misstep in that direction. I vote for the continuity and continued recognition. And am happy to lead a campaign to get that rule changed.

    I have a second rationale for this. Scouting has (regrettably) done a poor job of building the “Eagle Brand.” Generally, the public knows that Eagle Scouts are distinguished, but they don’t know why precisely. What I do know is that Astronauts, Navy Seals and Eagle Scouts often summon-up very positive impressions – rightfully so. When I call leaders of other organizations (for scouting business), and identify myself as calling from the “Eagle Scouts” those leaders are almost always receptive to a conversations.

    Said another way – I believe Eagle Scouts are and should be the “ambassadors” for Scouting – and should strive to be Scouting’s most passionate and persuasive spokesmen (in word and in deed). Ever mindful that I am an Eagle Scout, I strive every day to hold myself to the very highest standards of behavior as set forth in the Scout Oath and Law. That is an obligation and privilege I gladly shoulder.

    I am proud of being an Eagle Scout, and as appropriate, I want others I encounter, in business and in life to know that via the insignia / medals I wear. With specific reference to knots, I do not want other scouts/ scouters to have to locate and decrypt the Eagle Scout knot (in a sea of other knots) to visually comprehend that I am an Eagle Scout.

    BTW, Richard, I also became an Eagle in ’71 – and I have asked my wife to bury my Eagle Medal with me.

      • Tony, so sorry, my last comment was for you. I mistakenly put it down under Rob. Read the one above and just put your name there. So sorry again, I am willing to support such a commitment and undertaking that you suggest. Go to the NESA site and make a new discussion group, lets make it happen. Rick Pixler

  31. Rob, I am on board with you. This has reached a problem of great significance. I thought your words were so right on. I have been married more than once and my current wife of 26 years, asked me once why I don’t wear my oval badge? I told here that I wasn’t allowed to anymore. And her exact words to me; were, “That’s seems pretty stupid. You would think that an Eagle Scouter is a greater motivator just by his very presence”. I have always worn the full and complete uniform, no matter what I am doing in the program. As I get older, it does seem rather pointless to understand why an organization that prides it self so much on the Eagle Scout, to tell them that, your an Eagle Scout but you can’t wear the oval badge any more. The more I think about it, it does make me mad. There is a place on the NESA site that allows us to form a group that we can share thoughts with like minded Eagles. Pick a good name, go on the site and let me know what it is. I will be the second to join. I noticed your got your Eagle in ’71, well I was 17 in 71 and I married in March of ’72 because I was going to be a father, so I wore my oval badge for only about 6 total months before I started to worry about other things. I applaud your scouting job; it certainly puts you in a good position to know and understand all that needs to be understood. Let’s get it going. Maybe I can wear it again before i die. Thanks for your comments, Rick Pixler, proud class of ‘ 71.

  32. Richard,

    I’ll start that movement this weekend. Let’s motivate some change together! Eagle scouts are a force of nature. We / Scouting have to learn how to harness that force not just to bring scouting back from the brink, but to take it to a new level.


    BTW – I never got a chance to wear my oval. If we connect privately, I’ll tell you my story.

    • Rob, I don’t know if you can see my email but it is my name richardpixler all lower case, at aol dot com. I am sending it this way in case they won’t let you see it otherwise. Feel free to contact me at your leisure. I am as serious as you. I bet our stories are similar. Looking forward to hearing from you. Rick

    • Rob, I am still on board with you. We can connect privately, if you look at my name as listed, put it all in lower case, no spaces and use aol. you know, it starts with a c. Also, I have reviewed some of the other comments and I feel like Brian McClanahan, Kevin Bell, Steve Wilson and perhaps, ohscouter would be potential members of an initial group to get this thing rolling. I think that there is a spot at NESA to do groups and get others to offer suggestions and feedback as well. I know you might not see this right away, so I will hang loose. Richard pixler

  33. I have three uniforms; two are relics of Jambo 2001, the other is outfitted as the uniform for my District actvities. On the two every Scouting day uniforms, I wear my District Award of Merit knot, my Scout Leader Training knot, and my Silver Beaver knot. On the District uniform I wear my Silver Beaver knot. On those occasions when I wear the Scout Leader Training medal, I pin it directly above the knot, to sort of cover it. I will not take off the knot to wear the medal and I cannot afford/don’t care for the style of the new field uniform.

    I know this started over the Eagle recognitions and when to wear them, but in my home town Scouting was a hit and miss thing so I don’t think I made it to 1st class, but I had fun along the way.

  34. I just want to put this out there….

    For those that want to say:

    Well I got my Eagle at 14, or if you want to wear the Badge longer, try harder and work faster, completely miss the point of being an Eagle or the parent doesn’t understand it either. It is the journey there. The lessons learned. That the goal was met. But it isn’t a end goal. It is a Neverending goal of a life practice. Rushing through it doesn’t mean you did it better.

    That said, not everybody gets the same upbringing or chances as everyone else. If they overcome some obstacles later in there childhood, and get their rank at 17 and can’t even have their COT until after 18, that means they never get to wear the Badge at all. And where is the compassion there?

    Add to that, with the loss of interest in Scouting, wouldn’t you want to want, as this is pointed towards National, to promote Scouting anyway you can. With having a public perception, and when we dress accordingly and professionally, something needs to stuck out to the PUBLIC to draw them in. The Eagle Badge, besides the Uniform itself, is the single biggest most recognizable thing associated with scouting. The uniform draws you in, the Badge keeps them on the hook. Can you land a fish with an empty hook? Yeah sure, but one with “bait” works better.

    Because of this and some others on this thread, I will, unless ordered to, sew my Badge back on. With Honor.

    Oh and BTW recieved my Eagle in 1995, a day before my 18th birthday and never got a chance to wear it on my uniform offically. Removed it because I was shamed into the “proper” edicate.

    If doing this small thing of putting Scouting most treasure emblem that I EARNED back on my heart where it should be help recuit one scouting family. Then I say it’s worth it.

    Count me in to help facilitate a move to make National understand this and change the directive.

    • Got My Eagle in January 1992 but I count myself class of 1991 because I finished it at the end of 91. I agree with your sentiments and I Never got to wear my award either. The fact that Eagle is “for life” should also mean the oval patch, if you choose to wear it, should be for life as well. Nobody knows what those stupid square knots are for. I earned several of them years ago during my leader training and now I can’t even remember whats each square knot is for. Anyway the people that bitch about who’s wearing what are usually the ones that never got Eagle, overgrown adult babies that go around finding ways to get more and more square knots so they can look like the dictator of a Banana Republic, Can’t stand those types in scouting and that is one reason I got out after many years of service. I got tired of those types who think they can dictate to everyone else what they do. As I said the majority of those types aren’t even Eagles. They are, however, overgrown adult babies.

  35. I commented earlier in the this very long thread and after reading most of it, I have to completely agree with Rob, Richard, Matt, Kevin, and other posters who are in favor of changing this outdated and obnoxious uniform rule. IT NEEDS TO BE CHANGED! I am more than happy as an Eagle Scout and a current Cub Scout adult leader to petition both BSA and NESA to change this rule.

    As previously stated, outside of a few “trained leaders” and long time Scouters who become more involved, almost no one knows what the knots mean and those outside of Scouting will not recognize you as an Eagle Scout. Everyone knows that once an Eagle Scout always and Eagle Scout. It is an award of honor for life that most who earn it do actually live out the values and principles throughout their lifetime. BSA is struggling against our changing more secular society and it should proudly recognize those lifetime Eagle Scouts and allow them to be easily recognized by anyone to promote Scouting and its fantastic values.

    I for one will always wear my badge proudly and promote the values of Scouting. If parents and others who are not leaders cannot recognize who are Eagle Scouts because of the asinine “knots”, then what is the point? If a boy earns his Eagle Scout award right before his 18th birthday and then cannot wear the oval Eagle Scout badge on his uniform as an adult within a few months, what’s the point. BTW, I earned my Eagle Scout in 1984 at the age of 16.

    All younger Scouts look up to Eagle Scouts and most everyone, even those who have never been in or involved with Scouting in any way have respect for an Eagle Scout. It is a very outdated and simply obstinate uniform rule and may I say even obtuse for that matter. You can make the argument all day that it is an award earned by youth, but then to denigrate the award and its achievement by not allowing it to be worn for life is just baffling to me. There is no argument that can be made to change my opinion on this and anyone who would debate it either did not earn Eagle Scout or does not really want to promote Scouting by the most recognizable award that stands for the highest principals of Scouting.

    The fact that this debate continues is ridiculous. It is not about personal gain or achievement but about promoting the positive values and showing the life long commitment to those values that most Eagle Scouts espouse through their actions and example the live out to others. It promotes the best of what Scouting is about through something that most all people recognize and all boys who enter into Scouting dream to one day achieve. Even a recent Boys Life article about the most recently nominated Secretary of State, and CEO of Exxon Mobile is an Eagle Scout and he is a very big promoter of Scouting. I would be interested to know his thoughts on this debate. Again, I bet he would opt for wearing the badge as an adult.

    There, I have stated my opinion and hope that those in charge, would understand the value and recognition of the Eagle Scout award and its ability to be worn proudly by all who have earned it, especially those who continue to be adult leaders and promote the excellent values of Scouting. Thank you all for your time and interest in this important debate and hopefully, we can come to a reasonable and common sense consensus to change this uniform rule to better promote Scouting.

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