Aasgeir Gangsaas’ Scouting story is one of far away exotic places. It is the story of lives that have crisscrossed the hemisphere. Despite the challenges of military life, one thing has remained constant for the Gangsaas family: Scouting. Not only are Aasgeir and his son involved in Scouting, but his wife and daughter are heavily involved as well. Below are excerpts from an essay Aasgeir wrote about his long, winding Scouting trail:
Aasgeir Gangsaas was born in Stavanger, Norway in January 1964. He immigrated to the United States with his parents in October 1967 and settled in Seattle, WA. He first became involved in Scouting during the fall of 1979 when a close friend convinced him to join a Boy Scout Troop. Aasgeir achieved the rank of Life before turning 18 and served in various leadership positions within the Troop and the Order of the Arrow, the national honor society of campers. During college, he remained active Scouting. After graduation from the University of Washington in June 1986, he received a commission as an Ensign in the Navy and left the Seattle area to begin his naval career.
During his initial training for submarine duty, he met his wife, Catherine, and they were married in February of 1988. Their first child, Jon, was born during Aasgeir’s first submarine assignment in 1990; their second child, Anna, was born on his second submarine assignment in 1992. Upon completion of his second submarine tour he transferred to the Joint Staff and he and his family moved to Northern Virginia. His son was soon old enough to join Cub Scouts and Aasgeir assumed a number of leadership roles within his son’s Cub Scout Pack. Soon he was volunteering in a number of leadership roles in the district.
In early 2004 Aasgeir was transferred to Rome, Italy to attend the NATO Defense College. Jon joined Troop 236 in the Transatlantic Council and Aasgeir and Catherine volunteered as Assistant Scoutmasters. In late 2004 Aasgeir transferred to Lisbon Portugal where he and his wife Catherine restarted Troop 273 by establishing a viable program and recruiting both youth and adults for the Troop. In the fall of 2005, Aasgeir also assisted Charlemagne District (Europe’s Transatlantic Council) to hold their first Order of Arrow Ordeal and Brotherhood ceremony in over two years. Both Jon and his wife Catherine sealed their membership as Brotherhood members during the event. Also, in early 2007 Jon earned Eagle rank – one of the first to do so in Troop 273.
In summer 2007 Aasgeir was transferred back to the Washington DC area where he continues to volunteer in a number of district- and Council-level leadership roles. His son, Jon, served six years as a staff member at Goshen Scout Reservation. His daughter Anna served four years at Camp Bowman as a staff member. Aasgeir, Jon, and Anna recently returned from an 11-day Scouting trek in the mountains of New Mexico—an experience that all consider to be a highlight of their Scouting life as a family and a memory that will last a lifetime.
Jon, following in his father’s footsteps, recently enlisted in the Navy.
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