Distinguished Eagle Scout Award

Honoring Eagle Scouts at the national level

Eagle Scouts do amazing things …

The Distinguished Eagle Scout Award (DESA) was established in 1969 to acknowledge Eagle Scouts who have received extraordinary national-level recognition, fame, or demonstrated eminence within their field, and have a strong record of voluntary service to their community. It is NESA’s highest honor.

Only Eagle Scouts who earned the Eagle Scout rank a minimum of 25 years previously are eligible for nomination.

Since its establishment in 1969, the DESA has gained prominent standing among Scouting recognitions. Previous recipients include President Gerald R. Ford, several governors and senators, military flag officers, university presidents, chief executive officers of Fortune 500 companies, and nationally known lawyers, educators, and doctors.

The selection of recipients is made by the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award Committee, comprised of members who are also DESA recipients. Not all nominations acted upon by the award committee are approved. A substantial percentage of nominations are declined.

In short, Distinguished Eagle Scouts are those that have risen to the top of their avocation or vocation at a national level.
– Rick Bragga, Vice-President of the National Eagle Scout Association

How to get the award

  • The nominee must have earned the Eagle Scout rank through the Boy Scouts of America at least 25 years prior to submission of this nomination.
  • The nomination must state the specific reasons or how the nominee has received extraordinary national-level recognition, fame, or eminence within the identified field.
  • Through the years, it has been established that a nominee should also have a strong record of voluntary service to his community. This is in addition to his achievement of a distinguished career, not in place of one. Service to Scouting is not required.
  • Nominations may be sent to the National Eagle Scout Association by the council (an individual may not submit the form) for consideration. Those selected will be added to the list of Distinguished Eagle Scouts, quarterly.

Special considerations

  • The nominee should not be informed of his nomination, and presentation should not be scheduled until NESA has notified the council of the DESA Committee’s decision. Notification is accomplished only in written form.
  • The award should be presented at a meeting of the recipient’s peers, not a Scouting function. Presentation should be made within the council submitting the nomination and, whenever possible, by a previous recipient of the award. It is appropriate that the award is presented as part of a fundraising activity.
  • Ten to 12 weeks are required for preparation of the DESA plaque. If a plaque is ordered, the citation will be written by the nominating council. All DESA orders must be made through the national office, as DESA items are restricted to DESA recipients only.
  • Only the local council over the Eagle Scout’s primary residence may submit a nomination. Since some nominees maintain two residences upon retirement, the nominating council must secure the written concurrence of the related council.

Form

Supply item description and uniform placement

Distinctive cast plaque; red, white, and blue ribbon with pendant; Distinguished Eagle device worn on Eagle Scout knot; Distinguished Eagle Scout Award kit.

Supply/bin item no.

Cast plaque (No. 17575 or No. 2580) Red, white, and blue ribbon with pendant, No. 330; Distinguished Eagle device, No. 94; Distinguished Eagle kit award, No. 330; lapel pin, No. 328; Charm, No. 652, for spouse.

Download the order form or call the National Supply Group Main Number 1-800-323-0732 to purchase.

More information

The presentation of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award to a prominent citizen in your community provides an excellent opportunity to focus attention on Scouting, as well as on the recipient. The presentation should be planned to achieve maximum publicity and visibility.

Since the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award is not presented at a Scouting function, it is important that the council cooperate in full with the local community or business association to which the recipient belongs and through which the presentation will be made.

This is a national award presented by a local council. Presentation should be made at a meeting or dinner with the recipient’s peers. The presentation should be dignified and the main focus of the event. It should not be tied on to another program such as a Silver Beaver dinner.

Plans should be made well in advance for public relations coverage including trade or professional print media.

Following are elements the ceremony should include:

  • Inspirational, patriotic opening.
  • Explanation of the award.
  • Introduction of special or honored guests.
  • Recognition of the recipient’s family members present.
  • Reading of the citation, pointing out the recipient’s contributions to the community, his educational, professional/vocational background, and how he has distinguished himself.Presentation of the engraved plaque by a representative of the local council executive board.

  • Presentation of the medal by a distinguished Eagle Scout (if available).
  • Response by recipient.Inspirational closing.

Sample press release

For Immediate Release LOCAL MEDIA CONTACT NAME: PHONE NUMBER:

Local Scout Receives Distinguished Eagle Scout Award

(CITY/TOWN, DATE)—(NAME) has been awarded the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award upon nomination by the (COUNCIL NAME) Council and the Boy Scouts of America. This award is granted to Eagle Scouts who, after 25 years, have distinguished themselves in their life work and who have shared their talents with their communities on a voluntary basis.

(NAME) has distinguished himself through his career as a(n) (CAREER NAME/FIELD) and through his continued service to God, his country, and other people by following the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law. He has met community service needs through his voluntary actions.

(PROVIDE SPECIFIC DETAILS OF ACCOMPLISHMENT) The National Eagle Scout Association Committee, under the direction of Alumni Relations at the Boy Scouts of America’s national office, selects the recipients of this award. The members of the selection committee are all recipients of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award.

The Distinguished Eagle Scout Award was implemented in 1969, and since that time more than 1,850 nominations have been approved. Only the local council of the Eagle Scout’s primary residence may nominate. Nominations may not be made for posthumous awards.

Sample DESA presentation script

Heneghan

The trail of the Eagle Scout is never over, but from time to time, we do pause on the trail for a very special tribute. We are privileged today to be presenting the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. This prestigious honor is given to an Eagle Scout who has uncommonly demonstrated his commitment to making our community a better place to live, and to achieving career and life success. It is rarely presented; in fact, only one in every 1,000 Eagle Scouts has been awarded this high honor.

We are privileged tonight to have an opportunity to bestow this special award to one of our own. The recipient will join the ranks of some well-known Eagle Scouts—only eight men have been so honored from our council. They are listed in your program, but we are blessed to have two of them here with us tonight. It is my honor to introduce to you distinguished Eagle Scouts Jack Jadel and Dr. Robert Bonow.

Bonow

Douglass T. Biesel became an Eagle Scout on December 6, 1972. As you will read in our program tonight, Admiral Biesel has distinguished himself and brought honor to Scouting and the U.S. Navy with his warmth and care as a very visible public figure, and with his career achievements. He is, indeed, a role model for all Scouts—and all Eagle Scouts. Will council president John Landgraf and council Scout executive and CEO John Mosby please escort Admiral Biesel and Mrs. Biesel to the stage?

[Landgraf and Mosby walk Admiral Biesel and his wife to the stage.]

We are proud to convene this National Court of Honor at this time, and so I call on my fellow distinguished Eagle Scout Jack Jadel to begin the award ceremony.

Jadel Thank you, Bob.

By the authority given to me by the National Council, Boy Scouts of America, I now declare this court of honor to be open and in session. It is my special privilege to present a resolution from the National Eagle Scout Association.

Whereas, Douglass T. Biesel earned the rank of EAGLE SCOUT as a member of the Boy Scouts of America 36 years ago, on December 6,1972; and

Whereas, as an Eagle Scout he has continued to serve God, his country, and other people by following the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law; and

Whereas, he has achieved distinction as a naval officer; and Whereas, he has given distinguished service to his community and nation as rear admiral, U.S. Navy; commander, Naval Submarine Base, Bangor, Washington; first commanding officer, Kitsap Naval Base, Maine. He completed sea assignments aboard USS Lapon, USS Michigan, USS Annapolis, and a command tour aboard the USS Philadelphia, during which time the ship was awarded the Commander, Submarine Squadron 12 Battle Efficiency “E” Ribbon and Meritorious Unit Commendation. Rear Admiral Biesel is a recipient of the defense Superior Service Medal, Legion of Merit (two awards), Meritorious Service Medal (five awards), Joint Service Commendation Medal, Navy and Marine Corps Commendation medals (four awards), Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal, and numerous personal and unit awards. He has volunteered service to the community as a member of the Kitsap County Chamber of Commerce, Washington member of the Economic Development Council, Kitsap County, and served the youth of his community as a member of the Kitsap County Board of Education, and as a volunteer through the Boy Scouts of America; and having received numerous awards and recognitions; and

Now, therefore, in recognition of these and other achievements and the desire of the Boy Scouts of America, upon nomination of the Northeast Illinois Council acting on behalf of the Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America, the honor and rank of DISTINGUISHED EAGLE SCOUT is awarded to and conferred on Rear Admiral Douglass T. Biesel.

[Landgraf puts the medal around Biesel’s neck.] [Mosby presents a floral bouquet to Mrs. Biesel.] [Jadel and Bonow lead applause.] [All return to their seats except Rear Admiral Biesel; he exits the stage and stands near Jim Neubaum.]

WHEREAS

Earned the rank of Eagle Scout

As a member of the Boy Scouts of America ____ years ago, on ______________ ; and WHEREAS, as an Eagle Scout, he has continued to serve God, his country, and other people by following the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law; and WHEREAS he has achieved distinction as and WHEREAS he has given distinguished service to his community and nation as Therefore, be it RESOLVED, that in recognition of these and other achievements and the desire of the Boy Scouts of America, upon nomination of the _____________Council acting on behalf of the National Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America, ____________ the honor of Distinguished Eagle Scout is awarded to and conferred upon him, ______________ in , _________________, this day of ______________ . In testimony whereof, the Boy Scouts of America and the National Eagle Scout Association have caused this commemorative document to be signed by its officers and its corporate seal to be hereunto affixed.

Sample DESA Citations

SAMPLE DESA CITATION – STEPHEN AMBROSE

Whereas

Stephen Edward Ambrose

Earned the Rank of

Eagle Scout

As a member of the Boy Scouts of America 50 years ago, on August 31, 1950; and

Whereas, as an Eagle Scout he has continued to serve God, his country, and other people by following the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law; and

Whereas, he has achieved distinction as an artist; and

Whereas, he has given distinguished service to his community and nation as Boyd Professor of History, University of New Orleans; founder, National World War II Museum in New Orleans; director emeritus, Eisenhower Center; co-chair, Corps of Recovery, American Rivers; author of more than 20 books including New York Times best sellers: Nothing Like it in the World: The Men Who Built the Transcontinental Railroad 1863–1869Undaunted Courage: Meriwether Lewis, Thomas Jefferson, and the Opening of the American WestCitizen Soldiers: The U.S. Army from the Normandy Beaches to the Bulge to the Surrender of Germany, June 7, 1944–May 7, 1945Band of Brothers: E Company, 506th Regiment101st Airborne from Normandy to Hitler’s Eagle’s Nest, and D-Day: June 6, 1944: The Climatic Battle of World War II; and has received the Distinguished Civilian Service Medal from the Department of Defense, Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Dakota Wesleyan University, Department of the Army Award for Distinguished Public Service, and the Will Rogers Memorial Award; and has received numerous awards and recognitions; and

Resolved, in recognition of these and other achievements and the desire of the Boy Scouts of America, upon nomination of the Montana Council acting on behalf of the Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America, the honor and rank of

DISTINGUISHED EAGLE SCOUT

is awarded to and conferred upon him.

In testimony whereof, the Boy Scouts of America and the National Eagle Scout Association have caused this commemorative document to be signed by its officers and its corporate seal hereunto affixed.

SAMPLE DESA CITATION – STEVE FOSSETT

Whereas

J. Stephen Fossett

Earned the Rank of

Eagle Scout

As a member of the Boy Scouts of America 40 years ago, on December 21, 1957; and

Whereas, as an Eagle Scout he has continued to serve God, his country, and other people by following the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law; and

Whereas, he has achieved distinction as a corporate officer and adventurer; and

Whereas, he has given distinguished service to his community and nation as chairman, Lakota Trading, Inc.; having set various world records in ballooning, sailing, and racing; board of directors, The Jimmie Heuga Center; board of governors, Opportunity International; board of trustees and student affairs committee, Washington University; fellow, The Explorers Club and The Royal Geographic Society; honorary member, the Adventurer Club; Philmont Scout Ranch committee member; chairman, Northern Tier High Adventure Committee; national advisory council member, board of directors, and past advisory board member, Chicago Area Council, Boy Scouts of America; and having received numerous awards and recognitions; and

Now, therefore, in recognition of these and other achievements and the desire of the Boy Scouts of America, upon nomination of the Chicago Area Council acting on behalf of the Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America, the honor and rank of

DISTINGUISHED EAGLE SCOUT

is awarded to and conferred upon him.

In testimony whereof, the Boy Scouts of America and the National Eagle Scout Association have caused this commemorative document to be signed by its officers and its corporate seal hereunto affixed.

SAMPLE DESA CITATION – ROBERT M. GATES

Whereas

Robert M. Gates

Earned the Rank of

Eagle Scout

As a member of the Boy Scouts of America 34 years ago, on August 16, 1958; and

Whereas, as an Eagle Scout he has continued to serve God, his country, and other people by following the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law; and

Whereas, he has achieved distinction as a government official; and

Whereas,he has given distinguished service to his community and nation as Director of Central Intelligence including the Central Intelligence Agency; past assistant to the president and deputy for National Security Affairs, National Security Council; and having received the following awards and recognitions: Presidential Citizens Medal, National Intelligence Medal, Intelligence Medal of Merit, Arthur S. Flemming Award, and 1992 Kansas Society of Washington, D.C., Kansan of the Year; and

Resolved, in recognition of these and other achievements and the desire of the Boy Scouts of America, upon nomination of the Quivira Council acting on behalf of the Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America, the honor and rank of

DISTINGUISHED EAGLE SCOUT

is awarded to and conferred upon him.

In testimony whereof, the Boy Scouts of America and the National Eagle Scout Association have caused this commemorative document to be signed by its officers and its corporate seal hereunto affixed.

SAMPLE DESA CITATION – CHARLES E. MCGEE

Whereas

Charles E. McGee

Earned the Rank of

Eagle Scout

As a member of the Boy Scouts of America 69 years ago, on August 9, 1940; and

Whereas, as an Eagle Scout he has continued to serve God, his country, and other people by following the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law; and

Whereas, he has achieved distinction as a military officer and civil rights pioneer; and

Whereas,he has given distinguished service to community and nation as an original Tuskegee Airman, achieving unparalleled success in combat abroad and contributing to racial desegregation in the military at home; serving in the U.S. Air Force for 30 years, becoming a colonel and command pilot with 6,300 flight hours; holding an Air Force record with 409 fighter combat missions flown in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam in aircraft ranging from the P-39 Airacobra to the RF-4C Phantom II and the P-51 Mustang; commanding the 44th Fighter Squadron in the Philippines, the 7230th Support Squadron in Italy, the 16th Tactical Reconnaissance Squadron in Southeast Asia, and Richards-Gebaur Air Force Base in the United States; receiving numerous awards, including the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, Bronze Star, Air Medal with 25 oak leaf clusters, and the French Legion of Honor; earning a business degree from Columbia College and an honorary doctorate in public service from Tuskegee University; being honored by the National Aeronautic Association with the Elder Statesman of Aviation Award, by the Air Force Association with its Lifetime Achievement Award, and with the most distinguished Congressional Gold Medal; and serving in a volunteer capacity for organizations including district and regional positions with the Boy Scouts of America, and as church elder, trustee, and lay leader in the Disciples of Christ Church; now, therefore, be it

Resolved, in recognition of these and other achievements and the desire of the Boy Scouts of America, upon nomination of the National Committee of the National Eagle Scout Association acting on behalf of the Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America, the honor and rank of

DISTINGUISHED EAGLE SCOUT

is awarded to and conferred upon him.

In testimony whereof, the Boy Scouts of America and the National Eagle Scout Association have caused this commemorative document to be signed by its officers and its corporate seal hereunto affixed.

SAMPLE DESA CITATION – PETE SESSIONS

Whereas

Pete Sessions

Earned the Rank of

Eagle Scout

As a member of the Boy Scouts of America 29 years ago, on February 10, 1970; and

Whereas, as an Eagle Scout he has continued to serve God, his country, and other people by following the principles of the Scout Oath and Scout Law; and

Whereas, he has achieved distinction as an elected official; and

Whereas, Whereas, he has given distinguished service to his community and nation as representative of the Fifth Congressional District of Texas; sponsor of the Speed Trafficking Life in Prison Act of 1998; chairman, Results Caucus; board member, East Dallas YMCA; member, House Rules Committee, United Methodist Church, and Rotary Club; past vice president, Public Policy at the National Center for Policy Analysis; past member, Banking and Financial Services, Government Reform and Oversight and Science committees; past chairman, North East Dallas Chamber of Commerce; and

Whereas, he has maintained his commitment to ensure Scouting maintains its position as the preeminent youth movement in our world by serving as Scoutmaster and mentor for 13 young men who achieved their Eagle Scout Award, and served as past district chairman, White Rock District, Circle Ten Council, Boy Scouts of America; and having received numerous awards and recognitions; and

Resolved, in recognition of these and other achievements and the desire of the Boy Scouts of America, upon nomination of the Circle Ten Council acting on behalf of the Executive Board of the Boy Scouts of America, the honor and rank of

DISTINGUISHED EAGLE SCOUT

is awarded to and conferred upon him.

In testimony whereof, the Boy Scouts of America and the National Eagle Scout Association have caused this commemorative document to be signed by its officers and its corporate seal hereunto affixed.

Distinguished Eagle Scout Award recipients

Listed alphabetically by council