All Scouts in Troop 200 wear the same black neckerchief with red trim. (You may also see a blue-trimmed neckerchief – that was created in 2020 to celebrate our 65th anniversary as a Troop.) This is to identify the scouts as a common group but the neckerchief also has some historical significance.
Exploding fireworks: Our roots in run deep. Every 4th of July, Lebanon holds a parade down Main Street, ending at Holjes-Sheppard Park, located right behind the Lebanon Reformed Church, from which we’re chartered. Over the years, you may have seen us marching in the parade, caroling in town during December or holding a flag retirement ceremony at the park in the Spring.
Holjes-Sheppard Memorial Park is special to us, it’s named in honor of two Troop 200 Scouts that were killed in action during the Vietnam War. Every May we retire worn U.S. flags at the park. We invite members of the community, veterans and the general public to join us. Below is more information on the lives of these two local heroes.
Frederick Young Holjes was born February 10, 1945 and raised in Lebanon, NJ.
A 1963 graduate of North Hunterdon Regional High School, he enjoyed and participated in civil and revolutionary war reenactments, played his grandfather’s banjo and collected antique rifles. Fred received a full scholarship to the Citadel, a military school in Charleston, South Carolina, where he was an outstanding student.
Holjes served in the US Army as a Second Lieutenant (2LT). He was a 23-year old Ranger with the 101st Army Airborne Division serving in Vietnam. He was wounded by sniper fire on February 19, 1968 and was hospitalized in Japan. He was given the chance to go home, but chose to return to his troops.
In March 1968, Fred led his troops into battle. While scouting the area ahead, he was shot in the head and died instantly. He died on March 22, 1968 at the age of 23, two days after he had been reactivated.
Holjes was awarded two Bronze Stars and the Purple Heart and:
Robert Porter Sheppard was born October 1, 1947 and lived in Lebanon, NJ. Robert – or Shep as he was known – enjoyed camping and was active in church work. He was very much an outdoors-man. He was Troop 200’s very first Eagle Scout.
Like many of our scouts, Shep attended and graduated from North Hunterdon High School where he enjoyed fencing and was a member of the Woodsmen team. Furthering his education, he enrolled in Paul Smith’s College in the Adirondacks and the Lake Placid School for Forestry with hopes of becoming a recreational forester.
Shep entered the US Army where he attained the rank of Warrant Officer (WO). In 1970, he went to Vietnam as a helicopter pilot. He served with 1st Aviation Brigade, 268th Aviation Battalion, 17th Aviation Group, 61st Aviation Company. He was chosen, along with twelve others for a flyby, i.e., when helicopters fly around in a circle formation almost nose to nose.
On May 7, 1970, Sheppard was killed in Pleiku Provence when his helicopter crashed in a combat zone. He was 22 years old.
Let us not forget those soldiers, like Fred and Shep, who made the ultimate sacrifice for our country. May the honor and remembrance we give them help propel future generations of scouts to live the Scout Oath and Law.