Air Force Featured Stories

Three-war veteran recognized, honored nearly 60 years after service

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Brittain Crolley
  • 4th Fighter Wing Public Affairs
"The two most powerful warriors are patience and time." - Leo Tolstoy

Retired Staff Sgt. Elbert Scott knows about patience and time. He also knows what it takes to be a warrior.

Having fought in World War II as well as the Korean and Vietnam Wars, Scott has outlasted Tolstoy's two biggest warriors.

Now, at the age of 90, nearly 60 years after he last fought as a military warrior, Scott was recognized for his contributions during a more than 20 years career.

Representatives from Seymour Johnson Air Force Base, the North Carolina National Guard, the Wayne County Veterans and Patriots Coalition and the Office of U.S. Senator Kay Hagan joined forces to present six medals to the retired Air Force veteran, July 21, at the Wayne County Veterans Memorial in downtown Goldsboro, North Carolina.

Scott was presented with the Occupation of Japan Award, the World War II Victory Medal, the Korean Service Medal with one Silver Star, the United Nations Service Medal, the National Defense Service Medal and the 50th Anniversary of the Korean War Medal.

"I was elated and a little bit surprised because I never thought I would live long enough to receive these medals," Scott said. "I just feel honored to have served this great country."

Following the lead of his four brothers before him, Scott joined the U.S. Army in 1945, and first served with the occupation force in Japan. He was later deployed to South Korea, where he served as a firefighter protecting the supplies, equipment and ammunition attached to the 3rd and 7th Divisions and also the 69th Ordnance Company.

Scott then transferred to the U.S. Air Force in 1958 where he proudly served with the 4th Supply Squadron at Seymour Johnson AFB. Following 17 years of dedicated service, Scott received an honorable discharge in 1962.

However, Scott's service didn't end there.

Upon subsequent reenlistment, Scott went back to Japan where he was first stationed. He followed that with a tour of duty in Vietnam before retiring in 1966, capping off a 21-year career of combined military service.

"Mr. Scott is more than deserving of the recognition he received today," said Col. Andrew Bernard, the 4th Fighter Wing vice commander. "After serving for 21 years, during three wars, he's waited almost 60 years and now wears the symbols of his courageous achievements "His perseverance and dedication to service is a lesson learned for everyone here and for all those serving in the armed forces today."

Even though it took years to receive his medals, Scott expressed his belief that they were only a small part of his reward.

"While I'm honored to have received them, the medals weren't important to me," Scott said. "What was important was that I was able to serve and defend the greatest country in the world; the country that I love."