Memorial dedicated to WWII Army POW who captured his own guards in Germany

news

VIDEO - Burden of Command Trailer

SOUTH PORTLAND — Friends, family and local veterans gathered at the Maine Military Museum on Sunday to dedicate a memorial to the late Barry Scott, a Bronze Star recipient who for decades refused to publicize his exploits during World War II.

Members of Rolling Thunder, a motorcycle group dedicated to prisoners of war and those missing in action, helped officiate the ceremony in South Portland.

"Barry was an ordinary man who really did extraordinary things," his brother Milton said, recalling Barry's battlefield courage, his capture by the Germans and the wounds he received in the process.


Yet Barry Scott didn't talk about his experiences for decades after the war. He didn't want to "brag," he told family and friends.

Only in his 80s did Scott open up to his brother about what he had gone through.

Born in 1924 in New Brunswick and raised in Houlton, Scott was drafted on his 18th birthday and entered the Army in 1943.

He fought in the Battle of Anzio, a brutal beachhead in central Italy where 7,000 British and American soldiers died, pinned down under Axis artillery and small-arms fire. He sometimes escaped death by inches. On one occasion, he crawled from one foxhole to another for a bar of chocolate, and then turned around to see that a shell had landed in the hole he had just left, killing everyone inside.

In France, German troops ambushed Scott's convoy of trucks. He was shot in the leg, and he and the other survivors – about 15 of 30 soldiers – were taken prisoner.

Milt Scott, who was a small child at the time, recalled on Sunday the "damage" the capture did to the family. Their father, not normally one to show his feelings, briefly considered enlisting to try to bring Barry back.

But Barry Scott remembered being treated well in Germany. He was sent to a tiny Bavarian village, where he and other men worked on local farms and even befriended some of the locals.

"He had nothing against the German people. He always said they were fine people," said Wendy Scott, who is married to Barry's son, Steven. "Now, the SS – they were another matter."

Once, when the prisoners were transferred to another location, Scott tried to escape. But he was quickly caught and warned that the next time he'd be shot.

In May 1945, as Germany fell to the Allies, his captors appeared to lose the will to keep going. The prisoners took over their camp and marched the Germans as POWs to the Allied lines. By June, Barry Scott was back in the United States.

For his service, he was awarded a Bronze Star.

After the war, Scott attended Bentley University in Boston and became an accountant. He later joined the Maine National Guard, married and had two sons.

He died on Dec. 19 last year, at 94, having lived the last few years with Steven and Wendy Scott.

At Sunday's event, family members and others honored him with a commemorative wooden chair, on which they placed an American flag and a red rose.

The rose was "a reminder of our friends and comrades in arms who kept the faith," said the master of ceremonies, Paul LeBlanc, captain of the Rolling Thunder honor guard.

Fran LeClair, a Rolling Thunder member and friend of Milt's, folded the flag with his grandson, Carter. They creased the fabric 13 times – each fold representing a different facet of patriotic duty – and placed the tight triangle on the chair.

Then familiar bugle notes – taps – sounded over a stereo system, an honor to Scott and all other veterans who served their country and passed on.

©2019 the Portland Press Herald (Portland, Maine) - Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptors from the 95th Fighter Squadron, 325th Fighter Wing, Tyndall Air Force Base, Fla., fly in formation after an air refueling over the Mediterranean Sea on August 16, 2018. (U.S. Air Force/Senior Airman Preston Cherry)

The number of major aviation mishaps and associated fatalities among U.S. service members across all four main branches fell dramatically in fiscal year 2019, according to data reviewed by Task & Purpose, a sign of progress amid growing worries of a crisis in U.S. military aviation.

The U.S. military saw 42 Class A mishaps and just 13 related fatalities in fiscal year 2019 across the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force, well below the U.S. military's six-year high of 52 incidents and 39 deaths in fiscal year 2018.

Read More
Gen. Chuck Horner (ret.) commanded the air campaign of Desert Storm (Task & Purpose photo illustration)

When Air Force Gen. Chuck Horner (ret.) took to the podium at the dedication of the National Desert Storm and Desert Shield Memorial site in Washington D.C. last February, he told the audience that people often ask him why a memorial is necessary for a conflict that only lasted about 40 days.

Horner, who commanded the U.S. air campaign of that war, said the first reason is to commemorate those who died in the Gulf War. Then he pointed behind him, towards the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, where the names of over 58,000 Americans who died in Vietnam are etched in granite.

"These two monuments are inexorably linked together," Horner said. "Because we had in Desert Storm a president and a secretary of defense who did the smartest thing in the world: they gave the military a mission which could be accomplished by military force."

The Desert Storm Memorial "is a place every military person that's going to war should visit, and they learn to stand up when they have to, to avoid the stupidness that led to that disaster" in Vietnam, he added.

Now, 29 years after the operation that kicked Saddam Hussein's Iraqi army out of Kuwait began, the U.S. is stuck in multiple wars that Horner says resemble the one he and his fellow commanders tried to avoid while designing Desert Storm.

Horner shared his perspective on what went right in the Gulf War, and what's gone wrong since then, in an interview last week with Task & Purpose.

Read More
Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar (U.S. Army photo)

The Navy SEAL accused of strangling Army Special Forces Staff Sgt. Logan Melgar was promoted to chief petty officer two months after Melgar's death, according to a new report from The Daily Beast.

Read More
Tech. Sgt. Sean Neri, 341st Security Forces Support Squadron vehicle readiness center NCO-in charge, poses in his custom-made Mandalorian suit and in his Air Force uniform Jan. 15, 2020, at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont. (Air Force illustration by Devin Doskey)

When it comes to saving the world, sometimes one uniform just isn't enough. At least, that's what seems to motivate Tech. Sgt. Sean Neri, who, in between coordinating vehicles for security forces at Malmstrom Air Force Base, Mont., dresses up as a Star Wars bounty hunter and volunteers at community fundraisers.

"One of my coworkers introduced me to costuming and showed me there are organizations out there who use it for charity work," said Neri in a Jan. 21 article by Devin Doskey, public affairs specialist for the 341st Missile Wing.

"As a cop, I love being able to help people, but upon discovering I could do it while being a character for Star Wars, I was hooked," said Neri, who is the NCO in charge of vehicle readiness for the 341st Security Forces Support Squadron.

Read More
A C-17 Globemaster III assigned to the 911th Airlift Wing is towed across the flightline at March Air Reserve Base, California, Jan. 7, 2020. (Air Force photo by Joshua J. Seybert)

March Air Reserve Base in California will host nearly 200 U.S. citizens who were flown out of Wuhan, China due to the rapidly-spreading coronavirus, a Defense Department spokeswoman announced on Wednesday.

"March Air Reserve Base and the Department of Defense (DoD) stand ready to provide housing support to Health and Human Services (HHS) as they work to handle the arrival of nearly 200 people, including Department of State employees, dependents and U.S. citizens evacuated from Wuhan, China," said Pentagon press secretary Alyssa Farah in a statement on Wednesday.

Wuhan is the epicenter of the coronavirus, which is a mild to severe respiratory illness that's associated with symptoms of fever, cough and shortness of breath, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The virus has so far killed 132 people and infected nearly 6,000 others in China, according to news reports.

Read More