Major Andrew "Andy" C. Scott '99 was an Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps instructor at the peaceful University of Georgia in Athens. His special was logistics. But the Army badly needed logistics officers, and he was scrambled to Afghanistan from June 2007 to June 2008.
Then, as often happens in combat, he had to put all that aside to save men.
Scott received the Bronze Star for his service in Afghanistan from USAF Brig. Gen. Teresa Djuric as his wife, Sarah, and sons Heath and Peyton looked on. The medal was awarded for his “exceptionally meritorious service” in Afghanistan, not for a singular act.
Trained in Air Force logistics, Scott found himself far from the fighting as a ROTC instructor at the University of Georgia in 2006. But what was supposed to be a three-year stint in Athens was truncated mere months after arriving when the U.S. Army, desperately short of logistics officers, requested he help out the Army in Afghanistan.
Prior to deployment in Afghanistan, he completed almost three months of combat skills training at Fort Riley, Kansas – a very good thing, as it turned out.
Keen insight, remarkable calmScott found himself serving in a much different role than he had anticipated. A summary that accompanies the medal says Scott "performed brilliantly as a Senior Battle Captain for the corps-level tactical operations center (TOC), a staff position normally reserved for a combat arms officer with the rank of major … His personal courage and commitment to the mission contributed greatly to the success of operations and the continuing development of the Afghanistan National Army and Police. His performance of duty in a combat zone reflects great credit upon himself, the command and the United States Air Force."
The narrative zeroes in on one instance in which Scott's quick thinking saved the lives of 62 Afghan soldiers and their American trainers: "Capt. Scott demonstrated keen insight and remarkable calm under pressure during Operation New Year Hail as he orchestrated close-air-support (CAS) for 62 Afghan National Army soldiers and their embedded team trainers as they were ambushed and out-flanked by anti-coalition militants (the Taliban)," the narrative says. "If not for his efforts, numerous U.S and ANA soldiers would have been killed. Instead, his razor-sharp reaction resulted in a timely scramble of close-air-support assets, culminating in zero friendly losses and 15 anti-coalition militants killed and three captured."
Scott says he enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1991 during the first Gulf War out of patriotism. "I thought I would stay for only a few years, but now, almost 18 years later, I'm still serving!" Scott says.
Columbia College, the key to promotionScott entered the Air Force as an enlisted man and spent five frigid years at Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota; then at more temperate Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., where he studied at night. He also taught Air Force personnel at one of the Army's technical schools, rose to the rank of staff sergeant, stayed married and somehow graduated with a bachelor's degree in business administration from Columbia College in 1999.
"I must have attended 10 different schools, but I graduated from Columbia College," Scott says. "Columbia’s flexible class schedule and understanding faculty and staff were pivotal in helping me realize my goal of finishing my degree."
Degree in hand, Scott applied and was accepted for admission to U.S. Air Force Officer Training School and was commissioned as a second lieutenant at the ripe old age of 28. Without the degree, Scott says he would have been unable to even apply for a commission; the Air Force requires all officers to have a bachelor's degree. Scott also says that while older than most second lieutenants at the time of commissioning, his enlisted experience has served him very well and he wouldn’t trade it for a more traditional path.
Scott says that will be promoted to major because of his meritorious service in Afghanistan and elsewhere. His current ROTC instructing assignment is expected to end in 2010, but Scott says he wouldn't be surprised if the Air Force has other plans. But that's okay: "I've still got a couple of assignments left in me!"
Portions of this article appeared as "Capt. Andrew Scott Decorated For His Afghan Service," by Bill Jones, staff writer, The Greeneville (Tenn.) Sun.