Today the regiment was notified that after six years of leadership and countless years before of friendship and advice, Colonel Bob McCroskey is stepping down from his position due to health issues and Major Chad Bogart is taking his place as leader of the Washington County Regiment of No..Carolina Militia.
We’ve all seen some very fine leaders: Grant Hardin, Dennis Voelker, Harry Jordan, but to think that Bob’s booming voice won’t be leading a charge at Guilford Courthouse or on the field during the seige makes me very sad. The word that comes to mind when I think of Bob is “elegant”. He is a big man, well proportioned and his presence is elegant and commanding. I bet in his salad days, this naval officer must have been quite a sight in his dress uniform. He’s still got style and plenty of it ,and I think everyone who knows him would agree. Another word I think of when I think of Bob is passion; he is passionate about living history, the history of the area and keeping the story alive and his enthusiasm is contagious.
All of us have memories of Bob and the stories that will emerge will take hours to tell. What I know is that he has been a selfless role model to one and all and has nothing but a kind word. Joy comes seemingly effortlessly to this man and from him to others. That’s a rare gift, especially in the face of challenges. During rocky times, his charity and firm yet gentle guidance kept the group together and made it very strong. After open heart surgery, as sick as he was before the second surgery that saved his life, he still managed a joke, a hug and a smile. He is a very affectionate man and we all look forward to hearing his laughter, feeling a pat on the shoulder or a big bear hug. That is just his way and it’s encouragement, and recognition in a time when both are hard to come by. The youth look at his like a loving grandfather, the rest, a loving friend. But most of all , he commands the respect and admiration of all who he is in contact with.
Bob was instrumental in so many things that we do now, musket drills, safety training, live firing , the Venture Crew, an online blog site keeping up with the unit’s events to name a few , and he’s challenged the members to do things they would never have considered before.We have a fully trained cannon crew and ,heck, could you ever imagine a person like Private Ray taking the field (though I think the reason why Bob encouraged me was so that I could que his hair in the morning). The membership of the group has expanded and we are gaining new members all the time thanks to his leadership and a team of leaders who work so well together.
It’s a logical choice to see Chad Bogart step up into the position of Colonel. I can’t think of a better choice. I wish I had his patience, people skills and diplomacy; those are gifts that he has a-plenty, and I know Chad will take us to new heights, building on the firm foundation that Bob has provided , but I just don’t think Chad will be able to bellow ” Women WILL WEAR MODESTY CLOTHS AT ALLLLLL TIMES” with the same shiver- me-timbers sound that only Bob McCroskey can muster.