From the Archives, March 26, 2017

The Staff Car

In honor of the passing of Claus “Dutch” Mann, we thought we would do something a wee bit different today.  The very first interview we ever conducted for preserving Boxwell’s history was with Dutch in 1996.  Fortunately, one small story he shared connects with this month’s theme of camp vehicles.

Some background first.  In 1971, Boxwell and camps around the nation moved to what was known as “the Commissioner System.”  Program Areas were basically done away with and camp was divided into a clusters, each with a set of Camp Commissioners.  Each Commissioner staff took over the duties of the previous program areas, save the Waterfront.  In other words, the duties of Activity Yard, Con Yard, Handicraft, Field Spots, and site leader were all rolled up in each commissioner staff, of which there were five.

At Stahlman in 1971, Kerry Parker, Jerry Barnett, and Dutch Mann were three of the five Camp Commissioners leading commissioner staffs.  They decided to have a little fun with the job by utilizing one of the MANY military screen vehicles found at the compound at the time. As Dutch briefly explained in 1996…

“We had an old Army staff car that in the compound we decided that Jerry Barnett and Kerry and I decided to get dressed up like Generals and for flag formation we, we pulled up, we had a driver and we pulled up, we made like we were 3 generals and called everybody to attention and we had a swagger sticks and we had inspections of the ranks and so everybody was dressed.  We chewed a few guys out and we had a lot of fun with that and then after the inspection why then we had the flag lowering.  We had a lot of fun with that command car.”

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