Winfield Scott

  • Birth Date: December 27 1921
  • Place of Birth: Brooklyn New York
  • State of Residence: Arizona
  • Years of Service: 39
  • Branch of Military: U.S. Navy
  • Rank: E8
  • Wars Involved In: WWII
  • Theater(s) of Operation: The Pacific Theater

When Mr. Scott was 20 years old, a family friend felt that he should join the service. He was assigned to the USS Antietam aircraft carrier. He was in charge of maintenance. He was also in charge of the Plane Captains and Handlers. The Plane Captain was the man responsible for all of the accoutrements that the pilot needed to fly the plane. The Plane Handlers were in charge of the plane once it landed. He said that he personally never saw combat. One time he says that they were docked at Buckner Bay and a typhoon was coming in. They had to leave the bay in order to avoid the typhoon. When they got out of the bay, they had to get all of the aircraft that they could on the lower deck. Because all of the planes could not fit down below, they had to fit the remaining planes on the ship behind barricades to protect them from the typhoon.

Another time he says that there was a plane on the deck that had a 1000 pound bomb. It had caught on fire, but it was quickly put out. Then the Executive Officer came down and inspected the plane. He thought that it was too hot inside the plane so he ordered some of the crewmen to douse the plane. The crewmen sprayed the Executive Officer with the hoses instead of the plane. He got mad, but when he saw the captain laughing, he knew that there was nothing that he could do to discipline the men for what they did.

He also recounts that the ordinance men would sit on the perimeter around the gun mounts. This was very dangerous, and people would warn them of the danger, but they did not pay attention. One day a plane came in and part of its wing went on the catwalk that they were sitting on. Then they realized that everyone was right about the danger.

Shortly after the atomic bomb was dropped on Japan, he went to Tokyo Bay. After the war he spent a long time in the reserves. In 1975 and 1976 he was the principal of a military school. One man came from the Philippines who said that he was a qualified Airplane mechanic. He had a certificate, so he was told to take an aptitude test. He failed it. Other people specifically tried to fail the test so that they could get out of the Navy. They were found out because the only way that they could have missed every question was if they would have known all of the answers. Mr. Scott called the chaplain who proceeded to call the boy’s fathers. The boys never tried to get out of the Navy again.

Another story that he says was very memorable was the story of a person who did not want to follow the directive which said that you were not allowed to have dirty clothes in your locker. The guy decided that he would hide his dirty clothes in the light fixture so that he did not have to wash his clothes every day. An inspection was called and Mr. Scott came in and turned the lights on. It was in the middle of the afternoon, and the person who was hiding his clothes did not expect this. Smoke started coming out of the light fixture. Unluckily for the guy who hid his clothes, the only thing that did not burn was the name tag that was on his shorts. Because he did that he was given laundry watch in the middle of the night.

He says of his time in the service that, “It was a good experience; everybody should be subjected to it.” He also said that, “You forget the miserable parts and you tend to remember the ones that were satisfactory.”

After the service, Mr. Scott made parts for airplanes, and was also in the oil business. In 1954 he and his wife, who he met while in the Navy in WWII, moved to Arizona. He has lived there ever since.

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