Cub Scout Packs 82 & 137 from Troutville shared an incredible Memorial Day Experience — they camped out at the second most haunted site in America and slept on the most decorated battleship in US naval history!
A coach bus owned and operated by David Halsey of Grand Tour and Coach picked the scouts and their families up in Daleville early Friday morning, May 23. They arrived in Philadelphia, PA at Fort Mifflin, “The Fort that Saved America” by mid-afternoon and were treated to authentic Philly Cheese steaks for dinner. The scout group then took a Ghost Tour of the fort, which was featured on the Ghost Hunters TV series back in March. The fort saw action in both the Revolutionary and Civil Wars.
Fort Mifflin, originally called Fort Island Battery, and also known as Mud Island Fort, was commissioned in 1771 and sits on the Delaware River in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. During the American Revolutionary War, the fort was a centerpiece of the British conquest of Philadelphia. The name “Fort Mifflin” became official in 1795. The fort was rebuilt in 1798-1800 during the presidency of John Adams according to Pierre L’Enfant’s design, and enlarged in the 19th century. The fort was a U.S. military post until the 1954. When it closed, Fort Mifflin was the oldest fort in continuous use in the nation (1771 to 1954). In 1962, Fort Mifflin was deeded back to the City of Philadelphia.
After a filling breakfast and Historic Tour of the fort, the bus took the scouts to the Adventure Aquarium in Camden, NJ, and the Battleship USS New Jersey (BB-62).
Guided tours of the ship were given by knowledgeable docents at dusk , with panoramic views of the city skyline from the deck and bridge. The scout group slept in “racks” three men deep and ate their chow “enlisted” style.
USS New Jersey (BB-62) , (“Big J” or “Black Dragon”) is an Iowa -class battleship , and was the second ship of the United States Navy to be named in honor of the U.S. state of New Jersey . Among the four completed Iowa -class battleships New Jersey is notable for having earned the most battle stars for her combat actions, and for being the only battleship of the class to have served a tour of duty in Vietnam during the Vietnam War
The group then traveled to back Philadelphia, to see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall, before returning to Troutville for a well deserved holiday on Monday. Trip organizer, Donna Haley, Cubmaster of Pack 82, said the trip came together shortly after her family saw the Ghost Hunter episode and was familiar with the area. She said the people at Grand Tour and Coach, Fort Mifflin and the USS NJ Encampment Program were great to work with in planning the right mix of activities to keep the scouts and their families entertained while learning much about our country’s rich heritage.
For more information on all Cub Scouting and Boy Scouting has to offer for boys and their families, please contact the Blue Ridge Mountains Council at 265-0656, Donna Haley at 966-4243 or Charlie Pierce at 992-2086.