A Closer Look at America’s Veterans

Name: Retired Master Sgt. Philip Hagerich

Age: 69

Former MOS: 63H – wheeled and tracked vehicle repairman

Military service dates: 1960-1983

Hometown: Johnstown, Pa.

Civilian employment: U.S. Army Force Management Agency, 1983-2002

Family: wife, Andree’; four adult children; and four grandchildren

Occupation: Boy Scout volunteer

Pastimes: “Scouting. That’s it; nothing else.”

How would you describe yourself?: “Basically, I just love to help people. If I can help you, I’ll help you.”

The one person you most admire: “My wife. She puts up with my being gone all the time. I’ll be gone three weekends in April. She doesn’t know it yet, but it’s all Boy Scout stuff.”

How long have you been involved with the Boy Scouts?: “Thirty-five years (with Troop 912 at Fort Lee and currently Troop 900 in Prince George).”

Is there a connection between Scouting and the military?: “The values are pretty much the same. The Boy Scouts are trying to get you to walk the straight path, while the Army pushes you to the straight path.”

Summarize your military career: “I loved the Army. I had no problem with the Army. I only spent four days in the field, and that was during my last tour in Germany. I spent two tours in Vietnam. I enjoyed my work. I repaired typewriter and accounting machines, and then I got into aviation. We got deactivated and that’s when I became a quartermaster – 41J – typewriter and office equipment repair. Then I was promoted, and they sent me to trucks, which I didn’t know anything about. I enjoyed it, though. The only bad thing about the Army was that I was separated from my wife a few years.”

What does it really take to be a Soldier?: “You’ve got to be able to take orders. You may be told to do something you think is unpleasant, but you’ve got to do it. Get it done as fast as you can and move on to the next task.”

The one best thing about the Army: “You get to see the world. My kids got to see Germany, Holland, France – that’s where my wife’s from – and Switzerland. You get to see a lot, and you meet good people.”

How are you going to live out the rest of your life?: “With the Boy Scouts as long as I can still move.”

Final comments: “The Boy Scouts need dedicated leaders. You’re going to go camping, and meet some good Scouts – some that will drive you nuts, but you need good leaders to keep the Boy Scouts going, just like the military.”

– Compiled by T. Anthony Bell