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Posted: Friday, January 19, 2018 2:39 pm

Some of you who read my articles may know that I was a volunteer with the Boy Scouts of America for about 17 years.  Since I've started writing about WWII history, I've wondered what was the Scout's role during WWII.  After all, duty to country is part of being a Scout!  The following is a little of what I learned.  My information comes from the International Scouting Museum website.  The museum is located in Las Vegas.

The Boy Scouts began their service for the war effort in the summer of 1941.  Fiorelle Guardia, Director of the Civil Defense, sent an official government request for the collection of scrap aluminum by boy scouts and cub scouts.  From 1941-1945, scouts collected over 210,000 TONS of scrap aluminum and other metals.  And their service didn't stop there.

The demand for paper was also high.  The military used paper for over 2800 items, including draft cards, shell and cartridge boxes, containers for blood plasma, daily work plans, and boxes for first aid supplies.  The scouts worked so hard collecting waste paper that they actually managed to provide an overstock by April of 1942.  

However, the need was great, and the scouts were call on once again.  On November 24, 1943, Donald Nelson, Chairman of the Salvage Division of the War Production Board, issued the call.  During the month of December alone, Scouts collected almost 150,000 tons of waste paper.  And again in 1944, a two-month drive with a goal of 100,000 tons, was surpassed.  Nearly 3 million scouts helped with the war effort.  

Approximately 85,000 scouts qualified for individual Waste Paper Badges--quite an accomplishment when it required proof that an individual scout had collected 1000 pounds of waste paper and moved it to a waste paper dealer, to earn the award.

In 1945, General Eisenhower himself sponsored a paper drive.  This drive ran in March and April.  The scouts collected another 300,000 tons, bringing their total to over 720,000 tons of waste paper collected for the war effort.

Scouts also helped with collecting rubber and milkweed.  Milkweed silk was used to make life jackets.  Scouts collected enough milkweed to make nearly 2 million life jackets.

Scouts made many more contributions during WWII; and they continue to contribute to their communities today.  Annual food drives, community service projects, and flag ceremonies are just a few of the activities performed by the Boy Scouts of America.

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