Robert Lee Scott, Jr.

Robert Lee Scott, Jr.

Infobox Military Person
name= Robert Lee Scott, Jr.
born=birth date|1908|04|12|df=y
died= death date and age|2006|02|27|1908|04|12|df=y
placeofbirth= Waynesboro, Georgia
placeofdeath= Warner Robins, Georgia

caption= Robert Lee Scott Jr., fighter ace and best selling author
allegiance=flag|United States of America
branch= air force|United States
serviceyears= 1932–1957
rank= Brigadier General
commands= 23rd Fighter Group 36th Fighter Bomber Wing Luke Air Force Base
unit= Flying Tigers
battles= World War II
awards= Silver Star (2) Distinguished Flying Cross (3)
Air Medal (3)
laterwork= author

Robert Lee Scott Jr. (12 April 190827 February 2006) was an officer in the United States Air Force. Scott is best known for his autobiography "God is My Co-Pilot" about his exploits in World War II with the Flying Tigers and the United States Army Air Forces in China and Burma. The book was eventually made into a film of the same name.

Early years

Scott was born in Waynesboro, near Macon, Georgia, the oldest of three children born to Ola and Robert Scott Sr. As a youth, Scott was educated in Macon and became an Eagle Scout and recipient of the Distinguished Eagle Scout Award. Townley 2006, p. 20–30.] [ "Distinguished Eagle Scouts."] Troop & Pack 179. Retrieved: 2 March 2006.] Also in Macon as a youth of 3 he witnessed the fatal plane crash of pioneer aviator Eugene Ely.

Military career

Upon graduation from the United States Military Academy at West Point in 1932, Scott completed pilot training at Kelly Field, Texas. In October 1933 and was assigned to Mitchel Field, New York Like other air officers, Scott flew the air mail in 1934, commanded a pursuit squadron in Panama and helped instruct other pilots at bases in Texas and California.

World War II

After World War II began, he joined Task Force Aquila in February 1942 to fly a group of B-17 Flying Fortress bombers to the China Burma India Theater. Anxious to join the mission, which was to bomb Japan from China, he professed to be an experienced B-17 pilot. He actually learned to fly it enroute to Africa. Upon arrival in India, he found the mission had been scrubbed so he became stuck in India when he really wanted to be on the frontline in a cockpit flying combat. Within a month he was executive and operations officer of the Assam-Burma-China Ferry Command, forerunner of the famous Air Transport Command flying Hump from India to China to supply the Flying Tigers.

Still anxious to get into combat, he obtained the use of a P-40 actually assigned to the Flying Tigers from Claire Chennault, and began flying missions with the Flying Tigers, flying as a single ship escort for the transports, and flying ground attack missions. During this period, he frequently repainted the propeller spinner in different colors to create the illusion of a much larger fighter force in the area than a single aircraft becoming, in effect, a one-man air force.

In July 1942, at the request of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-Shek Scott was named commander of the newly formed 23rd Fighter Group, formed by General Claire Chennault when the Flying Tigers were inducted into the USAAF. Popular accounts stated that Scott inherited command of the Flying Tigers which actually disbanded that same month. The 23rd later become part of the 14th Air Force.

Colonel Scott flew 388 combat missions in 925 hours from July 1942 to October 1943, shooting down 13 Japanese aircraft to become one of America's earliest fighter aces of the war.

Scott was ordered back to the U.S. in October 1943 as deputy for operations in the School of Applied Tactics at Orlando, Florida.

He returned to China in 1944 to fly fighter aircraft equipped with experimental rockets directed against Japanese supply locomotives in eastern China. He then went to Okinawa to direct the same type of strikes against enemy shipping as the war ended.


Scott then returned to the U.S. for staff duty in Washington, D.C. and other stations until the period of 1947-1949 when he commanded the Jet Fighter School at Williams Air Force Base, Arizona. In 1951, he went to West Germany as commanding officer of the 36th Fighter-Bomber Wing at Fürstenfeldbruck Air Base.

Scott graduated from the National War College in 1954 and was assigned to Plans at Headquarters U.S. Air Force, and then to the position of director of information under the Secretary of the Air Force. In October 1956, he went to Luke Air Force Base, Arizona, as base commanding officer.
Museum of Aviation in Georgia.]


Scott retired from the United States Air Force as a Brigadier General on 30 September 1957, and remained in Arizona until the 1980s. He then lived in Warner Robins, Georgia, until his death in 2006. General Scott wrote about a dozen books including "God Is My Copilot" and "The Day I Owned the Sky".

Scott continued to be active well into his retirement. In 1984, he flew an F-16 Falcon jet fighter, and in 1995, an F-15 Eagle. On his 89th birthday, in 1997, he flew in a B-1B Lancer bomber.

Awards and honors

For his combat record against the enemy in World War II, Scott received two Silver Stars, three Distinguished Flying Crosses and three Air Medals.

During the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia, Scott carried the Olympic Flame along a section of Georgia Highway 247 named in his honor.




* Scott, Robert Lee Jr. "Flying Tiger: Chennault of China". Westport CT: Greenwood Press, 1973. ISBN 0-8371-6774-4.
* Scott, Robert Lee Jr. "God is my Co-Pilot". New York: Ballantine Books, 1987. ISBN 0-34535-536-9.
* Scott, Robert Lee Jr. "The Day I Owned the Sky". New York: Bantam Books, 1989. ISBN 0-55327-507-0.
* Townley , Alvin. "Legacy of Honor: The Values and Influence of America's Eagle Scouts". New York: St. Martin's Press, 2006. ISBN 0-312-36653-1.

External links

* [ Ace Pilots Biography]
* [ USAF Biography]
* [ Biography in The New Georgia Encyclopedia]
* [ CNN "WWII fighter ace Scott dies at 97"]
* [ Annals of the Flying Tigers]
* [ Interview with Retired Brig. General Robert L. Scott - American World War II Ace Pilot and Hero] by Jamie H. Cockfield

NAME= Scott Jr., Robert Lee
SHORT DESCRIPTION=Brigadier General in the United States Air Force. His autobiography, "God is My Co-Pilot", was made into a film.
DATE OF BIRTH=12 April 1908
PLACE OF BIRTH= Macon, Georgia
DATE OF DEATH= 27 February 2006
PLACE OF DEATH= Warner Robins, Georgia

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