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USNA News Center

Midshipmen and Eagle Scouts Participate in 40-Mile Hike

  POSTED ON: Friday, May 6, 2022 9:48 AM by Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Thomas Bonaparte

ANNAPOLIS, Md. - On April 30, the U.S. Naval Academy (USNA) chapter of the National Eagle Scout Association participated in a 40-mile hike with Boy Scout Troop 35 from Baltimore.

Fifty-seven midshipmen participated in the hike that started at the Under Armour Headquarters in Baltimore and finished at USNA, the first time they have finished here in the 59-year history of Troop 35’s “40-Miler.” Midshipmen have participated in this hike since 2018, providing encouragement and mentorship to the scouts throughout the day. 

“Our club has participated in the 40-mile hike for the past several years, every year gaining a lot of support from the brigade,” said Midshipman 2nd Class (junior) Connor Anglin, the vice president of the Academy’s chapter of the National Eagle Scout Association. “This year, we had over 100 volunteers sign up to help out, though we could only take around 60. This event pushes midshipmen to accomplish a daunting physical task while also mentoring a young scout along the way. The 40-mile hike allows midshipmen to pursue a perfect combination of the Naval Academy’s mission of physical fitness, mental tenacity, and leadership development.”

Troop 35 is the only Boy Scout troop in the country to walk 40 miles in one day. It was inaugurated in 1963 in response to President John F. Kennedy’s challenge to America’s youth to walk 20 miles. Kennedy claimed that the youth were becoming soft from watching too much television. Dr. Carl A. Zapffe, scoutmaster and 40-miler founder, intentionally set the distance to 40 miles, doubling the 20-mile requirement for the BSA Hiking Merit Badge. Hundreds of children have also earned the President Fitness Award by taking part in this event.

“Connor Anglin, Michael Lancaster, and the USNA chapter of the National Eagle Scout Association capably lived out the high ideals of honor, courage, and commitment,” said Dr. Charles Edwards II, Troop Committee Chair and Troop 35 Eagle Scout. “The midshipmen are inspiring role models to our scouts and siblings. Hours of conversation and shared steps on the trail create shared respect and friendships that will not soon be forgotten.”

Midshipman 3rd Class (sophomore) Matthew Sale earned USNA’s first “50-Miler Accolade” by completing the 40 miles, then going back to the 37-mile point three times to chaperone hikers after his finish. One hundred and fifteen hikers participated this year, including midshipmen, scouts, parents, siblings, grandparents, and friends. Out of these participants, 101 finished, setting a new finish percentage all-time record of 88%. More than 5,300 hikers have walked since 1963, with an impressive 70% completing the entire 40 miles each year. 

Ross Burbage, Troop 35 alumni and current special educator in Carroll County, completed his 51st consecutive 40-mile hike during this year’s event, his first being in 1971 as a high school junior.

“When I was a scout, I knew if I could walk 40 miles, I could do anything,” said Burbage. “The 40-miler affirms my fitness, my mental toughness, and motivates me to be fit for spring sports.”

The youngest finisher this year was five-year-old Andrew Dawn. Although tired, midshipmen like Anglin were there to motivate him to cross the finish line.

“Connor is a leader-extraordinaire,” said Edwards. “His calm and kind confidence is matched by his diligent work ethic. He will serve the NESA chapter well as its president next year and the U.S. Navy in the years ahead.”

As the undergraduate college of our country's naval service, the Naval Academy prepares young men and women to become professional officers of competence, character, and compassion in the U.S. Navy and Marine Corps.


Category: Midshipman, General Interest