Originally Published: November 10, 2015 8:14 p.m.
City of Residence: Prescott
Branch: United States Marine Corps
Rank: NCO E-4
Service: May 1988 to October 1995
Unit: Weapons Company 3rd Battalion 23rd Marines 4th Marine Division
Scott took an interest in the Marine Corps at an early age, which led to joining and signing up for an enlistment at the age of seventeen with his parents co-signing the contract around their dining room table. Two weeks after high school graduation, Scott boarded a plane and arrived at Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, CA for basic training. Directly upon graduating from boot camp, Scott entered the School of Infantry at Camp Pendleton, CA.
Scott served in a Marine Corps Weapons Company Reserve unit while attending college. Two years into his service, he received a phone call in November of 1990. The call was from his Company Gunnery Sergeant stating that he had three days to get his personal affairs in order and report to the Unit. Scott was activated to the Gulf War for immediate deployment. Interesting timing since he was currently engaged to be married in February of the following year. Scott and his then-fiancée decided the get married prior to deployment and they are celebrating their 25th anniversary this month (November). On Christmas Day 1990, Scott's Marine Corps unit boarded a plane at Cherry Point, North Carolina, and landed in a remote area of Saudi Arabia 22 hours later. His unit quickly processed through their arrival after consolidating all of their weapons, supplies, and vehicles and maneuvered their way to "The Berm," the infamous massive dirt berm that was built along the Saudi-Kuwait border.
Scott remembers, "I was up on fire watch at around 3 a.m. the day the air campaign started. Thousands of planes flying overhead toward Kuwait with a hint of a roar since they were so high up. From then on, it was hundreds of planes daily flying overhead loaded with bombs and coming back empty to resupply. 'Sorties', they were referred as."
In the early morning hours of Feb. 22, 1991, lanes were cut open in the berm by bulldozers and Weapons Company 3/23 mobilized their entire unit into Kuwait. Shortly after entering into Kuwait, they quickly engaged an Iraqi Infantry unit, Light Armored Vehicles and T-62 tanks near the Uum Gudair Oil Fields. Scott volunteered for a reconnaissance mission the day prior, Feb. 21, with a 10-man team to go into Kuwait.
"We were rolling along in bounding over watches in our HMMWVs. During a brief stop, I looked through my binoculars and there it was, the mine fields. Short fiberglass sticks everywhere as far as the eye could see. The fiberglass sticks were from anti-tank mines sticking up out of the sand. As I scanned the area, a group of Iraqi soldiers were frantically moving around in trenches and consolidating in one area. They were making their way to a machine gun bunker and one was loading what appeared to be an RPG. As I put the binoculars down to turn around and notify the rest, a three-man mortar team was already dismounted and I barely caught the mortar coming out of the tube. As I panned over toward the machine gun bunker, the mortar went off right on top of them and that was it. Since we were there to only collect data on the position of the mine field and to scout any other threats in the area, we quickly rounded up the mortar team and drove back into Saudi Arabia. I thought, that was weird, we engaged the enemy and then retreated almost saying, 'Hi we are here see ya tomorrow.' It was a smart move to retreat and disseminate the information we had gathered since they were part of a battalion size infantry unit which we engaged in a battle that next day. In addition to not sleeping a wink that night, I remember thinking to myself, my wife is going kill me if she finds out I volunteered for that. Over the next couple of days, I volunteered for several other tasks including sweeping bunkers after clearing small villages of the enemy. I just couldn't resist and to add, I was only barely 20 at the time. There were so many underground bunkers everywhere and many of them were massive with extravagant tunnel systems. I remember standing in one that was approximately 50 feet square with reinforced concrete blocks all around and thinking, wow, if it wasn't for the air campaign, we would have been in for a long drawn out war. As I walked out of this bunker, I looked and there was a massive bomb crater directly on top of it. Nothing touched on the inside and nothing out of place. It was stacked with machine guns, AKs, RPGs, crates of ammo, food rations and bottles of water from floor to ceiling. Many of the Iraqi soldiers coming out of these bunkers had blood coming out of their ears from the repercussions of the bombs. They were literally shell shocked. I remember two of them saying, 'Bush Bush Bush, no air, no air!' referring to President Bush and no more bombs from the U.S. planes. Our unit's initial purpose was to clear first line of defense dug-in Iraqi infantry forces near the mine fields and set up as an defensive force to secure the arrival of U.S. Artillery units to prepare for the initial breach of the massive mine fields allowing full access into the country of Kuwait and the remainder of Saddam Hussein's forces."
Upon progressing through Kuwait forces and arriving north of the main Kuwait airport on the early morning of Feb. 28, Scott's unit assembled to receive their next orders. These orders were to take inventory, resupply personnel and weapons and get ready for an assault north into Iraq. However, later on that same day, they received news that the War was over due to a signed UN Peace Treaty declaring the Liberation of Kuwait. His unit remained as a security force in Kuwait and returned to the U.S. in May of 1991. In his enlistment, Scott received a Certificate of Achievement from The Board of Governors of The Marine Corps Association for recognition of superior accomplishments in course of studies prescribed by the Commandant of The Marine Corps, a Meritorious Mast presented by his Commanding Officer for exemplary service during combat action in the Gulf War, as well as other individual medals and commendations. His unit received various medals and commendations including the Presidential Unit Citation and the Navy Unit Commendation.
Scott continued to honorably serve in his term of enlistment until fulfilling his agreement and receiving an Honorable Discharge in October of 1995. Through his service, Scott regularly participated in Toys for Tots annual campaigns and regularly volunteered for Special Olympic events as a coach sponsored by the U.S. Marine Corps.
When referring to others serving, Scott says, "If a vote was capable of existing on a national level, I would be in favor of all high school graduates serving at least 18 months in one of the military branches of our Nation. Outside of that, if a young male or female graduates from high school and they are not convinced on what direction to take in life, at least they may consider serving in a military reserve unit to serve America and benefit financially from government educational assistance while they are making their decision. You never know, they may like the military enough to transition to full-time and make a career out of it. The military straightened me out, taught me a lot of responsibility at a young age and instilled grit, tenacity, and courage which has helped me through many challenges. I would do it all over again if I had the chance, referring to joining The Marine Corps."
Scott is a full-time resident of Prescott and is currently involved in a National Business Development initiative for manufacturing and wholesale distribution of residential and commercial heating, ventilation and air conditioning equipment and parts.
For more information about the Marine Corps Reserves: http://www.marines.com/eligibility/service-options/reserve
Scott's unit synopsis of their Desert Storm assault can be read under the section "Detailed synopsis of 3/23 Desert Storm Assault" at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/3rd_Battalion_23rd_Marines#Operation_Desert_Shield.2FDesert_Storm
More like this story
- <I>Road to Baghdad</I><BR>Realities of warfare hit home for officer<BR>
- 'Living the American dream': Gulf War veteran draws on Marine Corps skills even today
- Iraqis attack 101st Airborne's camp in northern Kuwait; 10 reported wounded<BR>
- Firefight rages in Diwaniyah; U.S. bombs Iraqi positions south of Baghdad
- 16 die in deadliest Marine crash since 2005