(WBNG) — Richard Scott graduated High School at the age of 16. During that phase of his life, he says there weren’t many jobs and he thought he could get help by going college after being valedictorian of his class.
He could not and had to figure something out.
Scott says everyone was scrambling to enlist and they were all looking to make money.
Richard was too weighed too little to pass the physical – but doctors told him to drink a lot of water and report back to be weighed. He passed and was inducted into the Air Corps.
It was then he discovered he was too short to be a pilot and so he became a bombardier, which he says wasn’t a bad thing.
“It turned out to be a blessing because eventually when we got in the B24 in the bombing area you had to get on your knees and the smaller you were the better. I could almost stand up in that thing, but the taller guys couldn’t get in very well. So that turned out okay, but i was getting ready to graduate from, about a month before graduation from bombardier school i was and they told me I was going to be kept back as an instructor. There were nine of us in a class of three hundred and something that were going to be held back as instructors and I had met my wife out back of the carousel in Johnson City when I was 16, but i was in high school. Senior at that time and we were going together when I went in the service and that eliminated any further talk I was gone, but when they told me I was going to be kept as an instructor that brought marriage possibility up I was going to be rank. I had money and so we talked her folks into sending her down to Texas and we got married.”
But after getting married, Richard and the eight other instructors got their orders. He was going to Italy. During his time there his crew survived 16 missions and multiple close calls.
Richard Scott did an hour long interview with West Point Oral History online.
Watch other Hometown Heroes segments here.