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William ‘Scotty’ Scott’s wife, Suzanne, fastens Scotty’s retirement pin on his lapel during his retirement dinner December 13. Prior to his retirement, Scotty had a combined active-duty Air Force and federal service career that spanned 43 years. (Air Force photo by Lisa Norman)
AFNORTH Chief of Staff retires after more than four decades of service
Posted 12/20/2012 Updated 12/20/2012
by Mary McHale
AFNORTH Public Affairs
12/20/2012 - TYNDALL AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. – He may not have meant to leave a legacy, but leave one he did.
After 43 years of combined active-duty Air Force and federal civilian service, William “Scotty” Scott, formerly the First Air Force – Air Forces Northern Chief of Staff, retired.
“It’s time and I’m ready,” he said.
What he might not have been ready for was his retirement dinner Dec. 13, attended by a capacity crowd at the Heritage Club. From the Air Forces Northern commander, Lt. Gen. Sid Clarke III, to representatives from each AFNORTH directorate and the 601st AOC,he sat, listened and laughed at the remarks — laudatory and sincerely heartfelt –about the significant impact he’s had on the organization. Previous CONR and AFNORTH commanders and local civic leaders also attended.
“I’m not sure he apperciates what he has meant to the CONR-1AF enterprise, but when we needed Scotty, he was there, no matter what we needed,” Clarke said. “His inputs were so valuable, I wouldn’t start meetings without him.”
A Panama City native, Mr. Scott began his military career as a student pilot at Webb AFB Texas after he graduated from Florida State University with a business administration degree and from USAF Officer Training School. From there he went on to fly the F-106 Delta Dart and eventually the F-16 Fighting Falcon. He spoke fondly of his flying days.
“I enjoyed the act of flying itself,” he recalled. “Flying is so different than what land bound people are used to. I believe the poem ‘High Flight’ captures the experience like nothing else can.”
It’s good he enjoyed it since he spent 29 of his 30 active duty years doing it, even while assigned to four different staff jobs, an experience he recounts as unusual as a most staff jobs are non-flying billets.
During his USAF career following student pilot training, he held several command positions; squadron and group commandant and was Commandant of the USAF’s Squadron Officer School at Air University. He capped his active duty career as Vice Commander of CONR- 1 AF (AFNORTH), the position from which he retired as a colonel in 2000.
And while he recalls several highlights of a storied career – one that included combat tours during OPERATION JUST CAUSE and OPERATION DESERT STORM, he said his most treasured moments were easy to recall – his time as fighter squadron commander.
“The best job I ever had in the Air Force — where I felt closest to the people and most fulfilling –was as a squadron commander of the 4th Tactical Fighter Squadron at Hill AFB, Utah,” he said. “I led them into combat twice, once in OPERATION JUST CAUSE and then into the desert for the first Gulf War. The experience was fulfilling, scary and sobering and the most noble thing I have ever done and will ever do in my life. We were part of a coalition that liberated an occupied country. The only people I know who did that before me was my father in World War II.”
In fact, when it comes to people, that’s where it all comes together for Scotty. Asked about advice he would he would give to young leaders today, the answer, as is his style, was iimmediate and straightforward.
“I would tell them the most valuable commodity in the Air Force is the people and as they grow to become leaders and supervisors, the focus should always remain on the people who work for them.”
He recalled that while he had several mentors during his career, he couldn’t just pick one but credited his style to an “amalgamation of mentorship.”
“I had a lot of good mentors during my career and picked up something from each them, including that even a bad leader can be a good teacher.”
But as he reflected on the past, he thought of his retired future as well, and the quality time he plans to spend with his family, especially his wife and grandchildren.
“We will see what the future will bring,” he said. “For the longest time, I tried to control my future. Now I’m going to let the future control me.”
Of course that doesn’t mean he’s not going to miss his time at CONR-AFNORTH.
“I’m really going to miss the people I’ve worked with so long and been so close to as we defended the nation and protected its people together. I am very humbled to have been here and very proud to have served with everyone. I know the future is bright for this organization and I appreciate all the people in the organization who work so hard to make the mission happen every day.”
Article source: http://www.1af.acc.af.mil/news/story.asp?id=123330755