Tuesday, January 03, 2006

Scott McBride

I haven't written much about my (former) step-son Scott McBride. But on his recent return from a year-long business trip in Baghdad, I thought I'd give him some pixels on SawdustForBrains.

Scott & Brenda in 1989

When Brenda and I got married in 1990. I hardly knew Scott. He had lived with his father when Brenda's first marriage broke up, so I had only seen him only on rare occasions when her family got together. Scott graduated from Elon in 1990 and couldn't find a job he really wanted. In early 1991 he enlisted in the Army because it would give him a leg-up on the state wildlife service job he really wanted.

Scott at Induction

Scott went into the infantry, and Brenda and I (and Scott's sister Heather) went to Ft. Benning to his basic training graduation, as much as any other reason, I admit, so I could revisit my ROTC Summer Camp experience from thirty years earlier. It was eye-opening to see the Army of the 90's compared to the army of the 60's that I knew. There were two big differences: 1.) Scott's basic training company was mostly white— only a couple of "brothers" out of 150 soldiers, and 2.) Everyone wanted to be there. All the time I was in the army between starting basic ROTC in 1960 until I mustered out as a lieutenant in 1968, if they had said I could go home, I'd be gone. But Scott's fellow soldiers all wanted to be there and looked forward to their army service.

Scott was assigned to the 10th (Mountain) Infantry Division (this was Audie Murphy's and Bob Dole's unit in WW2) and moved to Fort Drum outside Watertown, NY. In October, 1991, his unit (2nd Btn, 22nd Infantry regiment ("the Triple Deuce") was sent to Somalia to replace another10th Mountain unit that had been in the middle of the middle of the Battle of Mogadishu that was the subject of the book (and movie) Blackhawk Down.

Scott spent 6 months in Somalia but has never talked much about his experiences there. He also had a short stay in Haiti in 1994 when the 10th Mtn was sent there. In 1995 he moved from the infantry to Armored Cavalry and he and his family moved to Ft. Carson CO. There, he realized what he really wanted to do in the army was fly helicopters. At first he wasn't selected for Warrant Officer Candidate School, a pre-requisite for helicopter school, and was sent to Germany for a short assignment, but in early 1995 went to Ft. Rucker in Alabama, first for Warrant Officer School and then for two years of helicopter school.

Warrant Officer McBride
He almost didn't make it out of WO school, when he was discovered to have "contraband" in his locker (a tin of snuff), but an NCO on the school staff stood up for Scott when he was honest and admitted his error, and scott was only held back one class rather than being dismissed from the school.

Pilot McBride
After a year of basic flight school, Scott chose to fly AH-64 Apache attack helicopters and spent another year at Ft. Rucker learning Apaches. He then spent a year in Korea, after which he was assigned to the 229th Attack Helicoptor Regiment at Ft. Bragg, and we got to see a lot more of him. After about six months in Fayetteville, his unit was sent to Afghanistan

He spent six months there in the fall of 2001 and returned to the US just before Christmas. His unit was transferred to the Third Infantry Division and he went to Iraq with that unit in late 2004.
He has just returned to Ft. Bragg from Iraq and he will be there with his new wife Heather ("the other Heather") until summer when he will probably be moving to Ft. Gordon (Savannah, GA) and rejoin the rest of the 3rdID.

I haven't seen much of Scott since Brenda decided she didn't want to be married in 2003, but I'm proud of him, as we should all be of the dedicated folks who protect us from "the bad guys", and it's good to have him back in the western hemisphere.

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