Troop 103 celebrates its 90th year (1924 – 2014) as a chartered Scout Troop in March of 2014. With all those years of helping make young Scouts develop into responsible young men we have a little bit of history to tell. The following is a brief history of the last 50 plus years for the Troop.
An excellent example of the tradition of the Troop lies in our Troop Flag. It was presented to the Troop in 1926 from President Calvin Coolidge and is proudly displayed in the Scout Hallway.
A little bit about who sponsored the Troop over the years. In 1950, when Jimmy Fuller became Scoutmaster, the Troop moved to the Methodist Church, which sat at the corner of Boundary and Duke of Gloucester Street and Richmond Road. They met in the Fellowship Hall and were sponsored by the Williamsburg Jaycees until 1983-84. The Williamsburg United Methodist Church has sponsored the Troop since 1984.
First, a little information about Jimmy Fuller before he became the Scoutmaster. He was a war hero during WWII. Stationed aboard a liberty ship that was torpedoed, he used his skills as a championship swimmer from Vanderbilt University, and saved either three or four seamen that couldn’t swim that well when the ship went down. When the ship went down, he managed to escape dressed only in his skivvy shorts and his 45-caliber pistol was the only thing he saved off the ship.
He was the Scoutmaster from 1950 until 1980. There was a one-and-a-half year period, as Scoutmaster that he switched places with the Troop Committee Chairman because he decided he had been Scoutmaster long enough. It didn’t work out, so he became Scoutmaster again. He was really only Scoutmaster for about 28 years but he was with the Troop for 30. In 1978, he became sick; he had emphysema and all kinds of other problems. During that point in time, David L. Nunn became acting Scoutmaster from 1978 until 1980.
As Scoutmaster, David Nunn spent over 24 years building the Troop into one of the finest in the State. During his tenure his accomplishments include the following:
- He was awarded the Silver Beaver, the highest award that may be presented by a local council.
- He was the first scouter in the Commonwealth of Virginia to receive the George A. Meany Award, a national recognition approved by the AFL-CIO Executive Council.
- He was the first adult in the Troop to receive Vigil Honor from the Order of the Arrow.
- He received the Den Leaders Award in 1976, earned his Wood Badge Beads in 1977, and received the Boy Scout Training Award in 1979 and the District Award of Merit in 1983 along with the Scouter’s Key Award and finally, he received the God and Service Award in 1994.
- He was awarded the Scoutmaster Award of Merit in 1987. At that time he was recognized as one of the top 70 Scoutmasters in the country.
Along with the many things he accomplished with the Troop, he was very involved with scouting at much higher levels. He was a member of the team that helped re-write the new Scout Handbook currently in use. He also has been very involved in several of the National Jamborees. For his first three Jamborees, he was an Assistant Scoutmaster and, in 1997 and 2001, he was the Scoutmaster. In this capacity, he had approximately 300 people working for him. As you can see, Mr. Nunn was very involved in the scouting program and in 2004 was promoted to “Scoutmaster Emeritus” or Scoutmaster for Life of Troop 103.
Back when Mr. Nunn first became an Assistant Scoutmaster under Jimmy Fuller, one of his first tasks was to recruit one of the Troop’s Junior Assistant Scoutmasters into the role of Assistant Scoutmaster when he turned 18 years old. That was how Jimmy Etchberger became one of the Troops adult leaders in 1977 and in 2004, after 27 years as an assistant; Jimmy Etchberger took over as the Scoutmaster for the Troop.
Jimmy Etchberger, having grown up in Williamsburg and having an older brother in the troop, joined Troop 103 in 1971. Following in his brother’s footsteps, he earned the rank of Eagle Scout in 1974. They were the first brothers to both earn the rank of Eagle in the Troop. As mentioned above, first working as a Junior Assistant Scoutmaster and then becoming an Assistant Scoutmaster in 1977, he had completed all adult scout leader training. Being very involved in the scouting program, not only with the Troop, but also with the Council and District, earned him the Silver Beaver Award in 1985.
At the start of the 2008 scouting year, Dave Coppinger was appointed Scoutmaster of Troop 103. He became only the 4th Scoutmaster to serve in that capacity in the previous 60 years of Troop 103 prior to 2008. Dave Coppinger, himself an Eagle scout, followed his two sons into Troop 103 after having served as Committee Chair and later, Cubmaster of Cub Scout Pack 103.
In June of 2010, Doug Marty was appointed Scoutmaster of Troop 103 and continues to serve in this role to the present day. Like Dave Coppinger, Doug Marty bridged over with his son from Cub Scout Pack 103 into Troop 103 and also served as Cubmaster of the pack. Both Mr. Coppinger and Mr. Marty have continued the troop’s tradition of committed leadership to the scouts and members of Troop 103 and with their dedication to the Scouting program.
From the standpoint of Eagle Scouts, the Troop’s first one was Ross Cottingham. The next one was Jimmy Fuller’s first one and his name was Andy Nea. As Troop 103 Scoutmaster, Jimmy Fuller had 33 scouts earn the rank of Eagle Scout. David Nunn as Scoutmaster, from 1980 until 2004 had 103 scouts earn the rank. With Jimmy Etchberger as Scoutmaster from 2004 to 2008, 29 scouts earned their Eagle rank; with Dave Coppinger from 2008 to 2010: 14 scouts, and with Doug Marty as Scoutmaster: 22 scouts earning their Eagle rank and counting!
We have well over 200 Eagle Scouts!