Doing the Impossible



This week, I’ve been putting the finishing touches on a new e-book, Showtime!: 45 Top Tips from and The Eagle Court of Honor Book. (It’s available now available for just $2.99 at I hope you’ll check it out.) In the process, I’ve been reviewing some of the tips I’ve sent out over the past decade. Some of those are going in Showtime! and future publications; others will appear here on the blog.

Here’s a great example from 2007.

One of my favorite illustrations from Baden-Powell’s Handbook for Boys (reproduced above) shows a uniformed Scout kicking the “IM” out of “IMPOSSIBLE.” I remembered that illustration when Arne Roe told me about his son’s “impossible” court of honor location.

Arne’s son, Sam, decided a few years ago that he wanted to have his court of honor aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln. Of course, America was at war, ships were being deployed to the Persian Gulf, and terrorism concerns made access difficult.

Arne had some reservations but started working the phones. A retired command master chief, he called the Abraham Lincoln’s CMC, who quickly got permission from the ship’s skipper and executive officer.

That was just the beginning, however, as Arne explained:

We started in November 2003 to set up this impossible court of honor and brought it to fruition in July 2004. During the planning period, the nightmare of logistics to meet the security requirements of the Navy nearly sunk the COH several times. The ship was sent out on an unscheduled mission, the Task Group Command changed admirals, the skipper went on leave, the ship received orders back to the fighting, and it all looked as if it wasn’t going to happen. Well, never accept the statement that it can’t be done! The date was set for the COH, the admiral that had just taken over the Task Group asked that he be invited to the COH on his flagship, and the guest list was confirmed.

It took about six weeks to obtain clearance for all the guests, including the governor, senator, representative, mayor, county executive, Scout executives, and about 150 Scouts, family, and friends. There were five Navy captains—one flew all the way from Texas to be there—many commanders, and more reporters that you could count. The event was covered by four local TV stations and made national news as the ceremony took place.

Now, I’m guessing you won’t try to book the Abraham Lincoln for your next ceremony, but I do have two questions: Where does your Eagle Scout want to hold his court of honor? What’s stopping you from making it happen?


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