Troop376 Bugle History

Jesse King’s Bugle

The BSA bugle that I donated to Somers Troop 376 was originally given to me when I became the bugler for Troop 33 in Glassboro, NJ, in approximately 1962. Jesse King was the Scoutmaster for the troop when I joined it and was the original owner of the bugle. The battered rope and tassels on the bugle are original decoration. Jesse worked for Owens-Illinois, a glass and bottle cap manufacturing company in Glassboro. Owens-Illinois sponsored our troop, and we held our weekly meetings in their company clubhouse.

Jesse was a tall, thin man with a thick southern accent. He grew up in the mountains of Tennessee, nd described himself as a back-woodsman. He had a deep knowledge of nature and an ability to get by with minimal resources in the woods. He also had many exciting stories of encounters with bears, snakes, and other creatures, often tainted with local superstition. Jesse was probably most admired by the scouts for the many stories he related of his active duty in World War II, where he served as an advanced scout for the famous Merrill’s Marauders combat company. Their ordeal on a mission to destroy a Japanese ammunition depot deep in the jungle of Burma was portrayed in a 1962 movie starring Jeff Chandler. Many of us in the troop saw the movie. You can find Pfc. Jesse King listed among the personnel on that mission on a website devoted to Merrill’s Marauders.

When Jesse retired from his position as scoutmaster (replaced by my second scoutmaster, Paul Loeb), I offered to return the bugle to him. He asked me to keep it, and it had been in my position ever since. The bugle was played on occasion by both me and my son Lars in various Troop 376 activities. I hope Troop 376 can continue to use the bugle and enjoy knowing something of its history.

Bill Holmstrom

Former Scoutmaster, Somers Troop 376