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 Trek: The Teams

Team: South
Bob Hammond
Bob puts in a late night working out the maps for Team South

Bob puts in a late night working out the maps for Team South

Team Leader. Bob Hammond; Assistant Deputy Commandant, Marine Corps (Retired), Washington, DC.

****2004 UPDATE****

Bob Hammond, the Leader of the South Team and a retired high-ranking civilian commander of The Marine Corps, had the huge responsibility of making sure a team of people and equipment – including five vehicles, an R.V. and two trailers – would travel safely and on schedule thousands of miles across the country. Hammond coined the phrase “routinely spectacular” to describe the Journey, but Hammond’s journey was often more routinely chaotic than spectacular as he split his time between team leader and public lands’ messenger, with team leader receiving the lion’s share of his time.

“The American Frontiers’ Journey had several profound affects on me as a person. First it made me far more aware of the issues that exist at the interpersonal level between individuals and groups of people. The dynamics of the team have helped me focus on aspects of my life that I had previously ignored. It helped me gain an appreciation for the challenges of men and women that are thrust into a leadership position and how they find the strength to help a group grow and achieve an objective. I now spend most of my time working with individuals, small groups as well as major companies, to improve leadership and team cohesiveness – and the experiences of the journey are a fundamental element of my approach to this task.”
While Hammond has always had a keen appreciation and love for public lands, “the Journey has served to refocus and reinforce that appreciation in a major way,” he said. “I find it very sad that so few Americans realize the vast resource that is available to them. The challenge that must be taken up as part of the legacy of the Journey is to help educate the American people about public lands. Somehow we must be able to leverage the access to public lands to help our young people appreciate the heritage of this great nation, to be able to understand the open vast territories that help frame the spirit and character that is America.”

Through teaching in the classroom, giving presentations and slide shows, speaking at conferences and events, writing articles and selling photographs, many members of the American Frontiers’ teams have found ways to leverage their experience to educate Americans within their reach about public lands.

Like Kiffe, Terrell, and many other team members, Hammond believes that the American Frontiers’ participants play a crucial role in continuing to spread the public lands’ message. However, he says there’s more to spreading the message than pinning high hopes on American Frontiers. “The Journey has shown me that each of us has a shared responsibility to help this education process and it is not a function of government or any single entity, it is in fact a duty of all Americans. We are a nation that rose to greatness based on the “can-do pioneer spirit.” We are a nation that has been able to take the experiences of the western migration and equate it to space travel as well as technological advances. A person cannot help but be inspired by the vastness and grandeur of the public lands and gain a new freedom to think in boundless terms when they are in that limitless environment.”

For the American Frontiers participants who put foot to soil and word to journals, hopes ran high that the event would raise a wildfire of national attention through press and media coverage. While the numbers do impress, the coverage paled to the expectations of the organizers, promoters, supporters, sponsors and team members, Hammond included.

“I personally was disappointed American Frontiers did not receive more press and media coverage. The American people need to find good things to celebrate as well as bad things to worry about. We are a nation of media junkies, and unless a person sees something on television or hears about it on the radio, in many ways it does not exist. And unfortunately, many aspects of the American Frontiers journey fell off the media radar scope and was lost from the view as a result.”

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Recent Journal Entries
Sunday, September 15
Bob Hammond
Team: South

I can remember when I was a boy my folks would pack up my...

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