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First Official Uniform Insignia

Even though the Order had existed for over a quarter century and had always used insignia, it was not until 1942 that Arrowmen could “officially” wear any OA item on the uniform. In a sign of the growing importance of the expanding official Scout program, the BSA Uniform Committee authorized the Universal Arrow Ribbon. The first Universal Arrow Ribbon was very similar to what is still used today. It was made to fit over the right shirt pocket button and was a red and white silk ribbon with a sterling arrow.

Second Group of DSA Recipients

The Distinguished Service Award (DSA) is presented to those Arrowmen who have rendered distinguished and outstanding service to the Order on a sectional, regional, or national basis. The following were presented the DSA - Joseph H. Brinton, Thomas J. Keane and Arthur A. Schuck. At the time the plan was to limit the award to only three recipients per National Meeting. Because of World War II, the 1942 and 1944 meetings were canceled.

Third Vigil Honor Secretary

In 1943 George Chapman replaced Thomas Cairns and became the Order of the Arrow’s third Vigil Secretary (Horace Kern, was first). Chapman’s first office in the Order of the Arrow was as a youth when he was elected the first Wimachtendienk Chief in 1916. Chapman fulfilled the obligations of Vigil Secretary for ten years.

First Vigil Honor Certificates

At the 1938 National Lodge Meeting, Thomas Cairns introduced the idea of presenting a certificate to each Vigil Honor member of the Order of the Arrow (OA). The National Lodge approved the idea and gave Cairns the authority to have the certificates printed and presented.

Thomas Cairns

Thomas Cairns was inducted into Unami Lodge at Treasure Island Scout Reservation. Cairns served many years on camp staff at Treasure Island and on August 26, 1927 became the Order’s 63rd Third (Vigil Honor) Degree member. Cairns' Vigil Honor name was Achigiguwen “To Be Jocular”. In 1933 at the Chicago Grand Lodge Meeting Cairns was elected the Order’s ninth Grand Lodge Chieftain serving an extended three-year term to accommodate the scheduled 1935 National Jamboree. It was in this position that Cairns made his most significant contributions to the Order.

Chief Scout Executive Becomes OA Member

In the summer of 1938 Chief Scout Executive James E. West was inducted into the Order of the Arrow at Camp Siwanoy, Chappegat Lodge, New Rochelle, New York. West allowed the Order to grow on its own merits at the 1922 Scout Executive conference when a resolution was entertained to disapprove of camp fraternities.

OA Requests First Uniform Insignia

As of January 1940, the Order of the Arrow still was not authorized to wear any insignia on a Boy Scout uniform. Totem pins, the official insignia since the beginning of WWW, were only authorized for civilian wear. Few emblems existed. The patches that did exist were typically simple emblems worn on sweaters, breach cloths, or jackets. While some Arrowmen did wear badges on their Scout uniforms, they were worn in violation of National Lodge and BSA rules.

Change in Designation of Areas to Letters

In 1940, the OA, which had previously been divided into Areas 1 - 15 in 1938 was changed again. This time they used letters A - O. Each area was basically assigned the letter that corresponded with the number previously assigned (i.e. Area 1 became Area A, Area 2 became Area B, and so on). As new lodges were added to an area, if they became too large, then a new lettered area was added. In December, 1942 letters A – U were assigned in BSA Region order.

Vigil Honor Ceremony Changes

E. Urner Goodman and Carroll A. Edson wrote the first Vigil Honor ceremony (then known as the Third Degree) for the Grand Lodge. The ceremony served the Order well for twenty years from 1921 to 1940. However, with the changes necessary for the Order to become an official BSA program the National Executive Committee determined at their 1937 meeting in Pittsburgh that the ceremony needed to be revised.

National "Areas" Created

As 1938 began, the Order of the Arrow was experiencing expansion at an unprecedented rate. The Order was at almost one hundred active lodges (more than 100 had been chartered). With BSA approval and regional supply lines the pace of expansion was increasing in speed. Just as had been predicted, now that the OA was official, councils all over the country were inquiring about Wimachtendienk.

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