Shortly after my column on the second set of five brothers who served in the military appeared, I received an email from Dixon, Missouri, telling me about a family of six brothers from DeKalb who all served their country over a period of 24 years.
It turns out this family produced two sheriffs for DeKalb County – Wilbur Scott from 1970 to 1984, then his brother, Roger, 12 years his junior, was elected sheriff and still is in office today.
When talking to Steve Scott who provided most of the information for this story, he said that he is a career Army man, retiring in 2006 at Fort Campbell, Kentucky, then going to work as a civilian at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. His father, Wilbur, now 84, and uncle, Roger, are the only two brothers alive today.
The oldest, Russell, served in the Army Air Forces during World War II in the European Theater. Serving in the Pacific Theater was brother Charles, who served with the Navy amphibious forces. Later in the war, his Landing Ship Tank was attacked by a Japanese kamikaze pilot off Okinawa but was not sunk. The third brother, Wallace, entered the service about the time the war ended, serving as part of the occupation forces in Japan.
Then, during the Korean War, the next oldest brother, Merle, was an Army combat engineer. Wilbur was part of the Navy amphibious forces, taking part in the fighting at Pusan and Wonsan. The youngest, Roger, joined the Air Force, serving most of the time in Turkey during the Vietnam War. He was discharged with the rank of sergeant. Some of the brothers had sons and even grandsons who also served in the U.S. military. Roger’s son Thomas, for example, was in the 425th Airborne Infantry Regiment that went to Afghanistan.
As Steve Scott pointed out, “Can you imagine being the mother [or father] of six boys, three of whom were in combat in World War II at the same time, two fighting in Korea at the same time, and the other in Turkey?” He said, “I can only imagine what my mother and wife went through while I was overseas.” He said, “It is not just the people in uniform who deserve our thanks, but the families as well; especially the ones with Gold Stars in their windows.”
Reflecting on this one family’s sacrifices, it is sobering thought for this Memorial Day weekend. As I often say to those I see in uniform today: “Thanks for your service.”
Hope some who read this column will take the time to attend a Memorial Day remembrance or visit a cemetery and pay respects to family members or friends who served their country.