Sunday, January 16, 2011

Commando Corp; All the Way

In 1985 a good chunk of the Loll Staff went to work at Camp Bartlett. We had actually spent two years at Treasure Mt. We didn't know it then, but we were on our way back to Loll. One of the Loll staffers who came with us was Brad Darrington. His mom had been our Camp Cook back in 1977 and as he grew to be a young man he became a very valuable staffer himself. After his mission Brad came to be the Nature Director at Bartlett in 1985. Brad is nothing if not competitive and he was eager to give as much energy to the Scout Craft area as the Polar Bear, (Bear Wallow at Bartlett) did for the Nature program. He came up with Commando Corp.

There was surely a bit of Rambo in it even then - but the call was, "Commando Corp!!" to which all scouts who had been through the program would reply -"All the way!!!" Brad would walk through the camp randomly calling and the camp would erupt with replies.

Brad Darrington - our first Commando Commander.

Brad came up with the idea of handing out head bands for those who came and joined. Of course we made a big deal about it a Flag Ceremony. It is important that Flag Ceremony be full of fun, adventure, and romance. At the time the Commando Corp requirements were not tied to rank advancement - it was just the glory, the ribbon, and a chance to be with Brad.

In 1986 we headed back to Loll and the Commando Corps came with us. The Nature Director that summer was Scott Parsons and he followed Brad's example to become the leader of the Comando Corps.


Scott Parsons in his Commando Headband waits for the boys to come.

Every day the boys came to Commando Corp. Scott taught the classes and inspired the participation while running the Nature Staff.

I'm sure we had the Commandos during the summers of 87 and 88, I just don't have any pictures of them. By 1989 Rambo had arrived. Trent Warner was the Nature Director that year, but while he maintained the position of Poo Paw of the Polar Bear he delegated the job of Rambo to Ralph Murdock. Ralph was right out of "central casting" to play Rambo Commando. Somehow we had begun the chants as he came on "stage" before the Flag Poles. Rambo Commando, Rambo Commando, over and over again as he marched across then, "G GI GGGI Joe" again and again as he trotted off after recognizing his initiants.

Sly Stallone had nothing on Ralph. Ralph added the arm band to the outfit.

Every Scout in camp wanted to be with him - to be him.

Ralph did his duties in Costume. Teaching Scout Craft bare chested was a great inspiration to boys still trying to grow one. Note the "little guy" to Ralph's right is a very young Spencer Rose. Spencer would be our Rambo himself in years to come.

Rambo is most successful because the entire staff gets involved. Here he leads us all in "all the way!" Curtis Grow is in the campaign hat at the end of the line.

Ralph tells the Scouts where they can meet to join him in the Corps.

Each day the number of Commandos grows.
In 1990 Kent Pitcher was our Rambo.

The whole crew joined in to recruit.

The routine is a repeat year after year, but the boys are new each time.

All the way.


Chip Hopper takes up the mantal.

The key is to find a young man who will inspire the boys to participate, whose presence is a motivation to achieve.

Jason Dalpais was one of our great Rambos.

He had the look, the know-how and the dedication.

The gun show.

The squirt gun show.

Rambo Commando.

Jason comes forward to charge up the crew.


Eric McPhearson was our Rambo in 1992. Every scout that came to camp dreamed of being Eric.

Eric set the example in Scouting as well as in manliness.

He also taught the scouts in costume. With a costume like this who wouldn't.

Here Eric demonstrates one of the Scout Craft skills Rambo shares with the Commando Corp. He also provided the camp with a lot of fire wood - a good thing, since we had to heat our shower water in a wood fed boiler in those days.

Once more - Commando Corp works because the boys want to be and to be with their hero.

Of course the girls want to be with him too. Sometime along the line the Camp women got in on the act. They have been an important part of the show for many years.

Eric McPhearson hands out the awards.

All the way.
Eric was not our only Comando Corp leader that summer.

Chad Carlson as Rambo.

Chad, in costume, teaches the scouts.

Jonathan Moser as Rambo.

Looks the part to me.

As does Boyd Davis.

During Boyd's tenure as Rambo, Pee-Ambo was added to the the show. Mainly because there were so many kids coming that Rambo needed help handing out the manly head and arm bands.

Our first Pee-Ambo was Kevin Hansen. It will be fun to watch Kevin and many other Pee-Ambos grow up. Kevin went from the smallest kid on staff the the Big Man in just a few years. He grew up right before our eyes.

Boyd enjoys the perks of the position.


In 1993, Eric's "little brother" Jared started his fun as Rambo.

Jared was made for the part. Like his brother he taught the scouts in costume and taught them all afternoon every day.

Kevin Hansen was still on board as Pee-Ambo, but he wasn't the wee scout he once was.

Rambo and Pee-Ambo

What a great team! Jared and Kevin were an inspiration to a generation of kids growing up to be "Real Men".


The Loll Staff was off to Aspen Ridge in 1994. Rambo ie Jared McPhearson came along.

A bigger and stronger Jared, his second summer as Rambo.

Kevin started out the summer as Pee-Ambo, but he had outgrown the title.

Pee-Ambo - living proof of the effects of Commando Corps.

Jared led the show.

Jared and Kevin inspire the Camp.

Later that summer Jared and Kevin moved on to other duties and we recruited a new pair.

Dan Iverson was a great Rambo. He had all that it takes.

And for Pee-Ambo, we recruited Shaun Conner, age twelve and a real wee Scout.

Dan recruits another week's worth of Commandos.

The cheer that introduces Pee-Ambo is, "Pee-Ambo Corps, half the way." The crooked arm the symbol.

Rambo and Pee-Ambo, 1994.

Together they call the Scouts to action.

In 1995 we were off to Catalina Island and Camp Cherry Valley. It was a hectic summer. I didn't feel much like taking pictures. Someone gave me these of our Rambo and Pee-Ambo for that summer. Spencer Rose as Rambo, (remember him from 1989) and Ben Prall as Pee-Ambo.

Rambo and Pee-Ambo strut their stuff on the Cherry Valley Parade Ground.

Spencer as Rambo presses Ben and impresses everyone.


In 96, J.R. Hankins was our Rambo. He was not as beefy as some of his predecessors. He used to make jokes about having just escaped from "prison camp". Still every boy at CCV wanted to be with J.R.

J. R. - all the way!

J. R. Hankins as CCV's Rambo

Rambo prepares to inspire the troops.

We had so many Tee Shirts that summer we needed a way to get them sold. The answer was to let Pee-Ambo show the effects of modeling one on the women. Here Tiffany Warner and Julie Orme show their enthuiasm. By the way this is the birth of the wee scout, we will meet him in some other post.

At Cherry Valley we started using the Commando Corps to pass off Tenderfoot, Second Class, and First Class rank advancements. Such a program was now required in the National Inspection. We came up with programs for all the requirements. The Beach Master (CCV's Polar Bear) took on the nature requirements and for the Swimming and First Aid requirements we developed the Bay Watch. We worked them into the Flag Ceremonies. In the picture above the Bay Watch helps out Rambo, who has bitten off more than he can chew. The Bay Watch Man facing Rambo is "little" Kevin Hansen, all grown up! They receive Rambo's gratitude, a promise to get them a head band and tell the Scouts that they will teach them the Heimlich maneuver and other maneuvers at Bay Watch.

The Heimlich maneuver is performed on J. R. by Wade Orme.

Rambo and Pee-Ambo prepare to present the awards and recruit more Commandos.

Half the way.


In 1997 Dan Iverson was back as our Rambo Commando, but he would not be our only one.

Chris Shultz as Rambo - Adam Stevens as Pee-Ambo in 1997.

Adam with another Rambo.

Half the way.


Jordan Garn took the job in 1998, Ben Prall is here, as his now indispensible, side kick.

All the way, no half the way.

Mark Hayward was also a Rambo in 1998.

Morgan Hawkes was there to back him up.

Now that's a farmer tan!

Handing out the headbands.

The whole thing is about recognizing the scouts.

James Lewis also took on the role of Rambo in 98 - Morgan was there.
I have no pictures from 1999. At least I can't find them. I think the negatives are around somewhere, but I lent the photo alblum to someone - and never got it back.

James was Rambo our last summer at CCV.

Brian Calcognio was Pee-Ambo.

In 2001, much of the CCV staff "returned" to Loll. Rambo came with us.

J. D. McBride seemed perfect for the part.

Every kid in camp wanted to be with J. D. - wanted to be J. D.

Camron Prescot took the part of Pee-Ambo.

Shaun Conner also took the job of Rambo, a perfect fit.


Once more James Lewis is Rambo, this time at Loll.

Camron is still Pee-Ambo.

Side by side, handing out the head bands.

Half the way at Terraced Falls.


Joe Brazzael as Rambo - with two Pee-Ambos. Mike Stettler to Rambo's right, Spencer to his left.


A new Rambo.

Matt is still Pee-Ambo, he is bound to hit a growing spurt someday.

Bay Watch to the rescue?

One way or the other.

John Smith as Rambo, with Brad to lend a hand.

The boys get their rewards.

Manly men.

With Nathan Sutterfield as Pee-Ambo.

Handing out the headbands.

J. D. Mason is quite the manly Bay Watch Boy.
Mid-season Loll gets a new Rambo - Quinn McBride.

Quinn, his first week on the job.

Sometimes Pee-Ambo has a little trouble getting through the line. Not to worry, Rambo can handle it.

Rambo mocks the Pretty Boys from the beach.

The girls at Loll have so many men to chose from. Can any of them compete with the wee scouts?


By 06 Quinn had mastered the part.

Nate Sutterfield and Quinn.

All the way.

Quinn is a great salesman.

Quinn is a great performer.

He is the only one who can understand a Rock Jock (Travis Williams) who has spent a lot of time on the rock.

So many heroes at Loll.

Quinn is a master at the "big bite".

It's the swallowing that gets him in trouble.

Rambo opens the way.

I know it's type casting.

But, all scouts grow up.


In 2007 Lafe Conner, Loll's Nature Director assigned Charles Bowker to be Rambo. Charles put his heart into the part.

Charles Bowker - Rambo 07.

One of our Pee-Ambos in 2007 was Nelson Riches. He'll be back!

All the Way!

A new Pee-Ambo comes through the line.

Nate is back.

Back stage with the guys.

Many more head bands earned.

More apples choked on, more Bay Watch Boys share in Rambo's glory.

Pee-Ambo admires the boys from the beach.

Oh, the perks of being a hero.

Manly man.

Manly men.

Pee-Ambo hands out the headbands.


In 2008 Quinn returns for a reprieve. That first week, Wes Mathis was Pee-Ambo.

One week later Wes became "the man".

Our new Pee-Ambo par-excellant is Chris Barton. This will be the beginning of a three year run.

Rambo leads by example.

He mocks the Captain of the waterfront - Shaun Conner, and the Bay Watch.

Stirring the troops to action.

Not all the Commando Corps instruction is done by Rambo, here Cory Christensen lends a hand.

More awards for excellence, each representing mastery of an important Scout Craft Skill.

Wes goes "all the way".

There were plenty eager to follow.

In 09, Nelsen Riches became Rambo. What a man!

Nelson Riches at 16 - Camp Loll Rambo.

He leads the way for many eager scouts.

Here he is with Pee-Ambo Matt Tingey.

Head Bands for all who earn them.

The "Dream Team. - Nelson Riches and Chris Barton.

Nelson can handle the whole crew.

Chris has his share of adventures too.

Week after week the army of real men grows.

and grows,

and grows.

It looks like all this Commando Corp training has had some effect on Pee-Ambo. He's looking like a Marine.

Justin Hansen does a "cameo" as Pee-Ambo.

These men are also hams.

Nelson with the apple.

Week after week, the gag never gets old.

He gets ready to take his manly bite.

Bay Watch to the rescue.

Rambo thanks Mitch Sutherland and Jason Bott who promise to teach everyone their manuevers at Bay Watch.

Back Stage with all the players.

All the girls want to be with Rambo.

The whole Nature Staff go all the way.

All the way on the top of Survey Peak with Mitch and Matt Bredthauer. Everyone wants to be like Rambo.

Even the Camp Director wants in on the action.

In 2010 Nelson is Rambo once again.

The Polar Bear, Nature Director, Quinn McBride are great friends. The Polar Bear owes his life to Rambo. Here they have a close encounter with "Steve Erwin" from the Naturalist. It's all in good fun.

Scouts love a little violence.

The trick is to get as big a bite as possible.

Then, spew it on as many Scouts as one can.

Look at this manly headband.

Rambo is still there for his "little" buddy. Just back from Iraq or Afghanistan, Rambo can easily handle a bunch of Loll Staffers.

Pee-Ambo has had his adventures to tell as well.

Headbands all round.

All the way!

And what a great way it is.