Behind the Scenes: The Other Scott

May 7, 2014 

Around the Museum of Aviation, all you have to do is say the last name Scott, and everybody knows about whom you speak.

Brig. Gen. Robert L. Scott was an ace fighter pilot of World War II. He flew with the Flying Tigers in China. A book and movie called “God is My Co-Pilot” put him in the national light.

Later in his life he came to Warner Robins to help the Museum of Aviation expand by donating his memorabilia and boundless energy. He was a bigger than life personality and did a lot for the Warner Robins community.

As interesting as Robert Scott was, there was another Scott who should not be overlooked. Robert Scott had a younger brother who was a hero in World War II, as well. His name was Roland B. Scott.

Being the younger brother to such a competitive older brother was, at times, a hard road. However, Roland was like his brother in one way. He loved airplanes and loved to fly.

Roland went to Georgia Tech and Auburn University. He came back to Macon where his parents lived and worked as a surveyor for Bibb County. In his spare time, he took flying lessons at the local airport.

Because of a ruptured eardrum he received in an accident, his dreams of learning to fly were seemingly dashed. Big brother had another idea and secretly taught him to fly. Because of World War II, Roland was able to make the Army Air Forces. Soon he was given a B-26 Marauder to fly.

The B-26 was called the Widowmaker because of the number of crews killed due to the short wing span and speed by which the aircraft had to take off and land. The plane was a medium bomber and had twin engines.

In 1943, Roland was assigned to England. Then on May 13, he and his crew were given their orders. He was to lead a flight of bombers on a zero altitude attack on a power plant west of Amsterdam, Holland.

The power plant fed electricity to a large German submarine pen or bunker, which protected the submarines from attack.

Scott, his crew, and the other 11 crews on the assignment were told there would be little or no antiaircraft fire on the mission. The planes were to go low, drop their bombs and return across the North Sea. Going in at zero altitude meant the planes were weaving in and out between windmills, barns and any other structure high off the ground.

As they approached the target, the clear sky filled with puffs of black smoke. Roland pulled the airplane up to bombing altitude, the belly doors opened and the bombs were released. The antiaircraft fire or “flak” was already hitting the plane. The fire they were under got worse until the next thing Roland knew was that the flak had penetrated the cockpit.

Roland did not realize the pilot’s seat had been blown away and so had some of the right side of his face along with his right eye. There in his mouth was a piece of a 20mm shell. Some of the crew held Roland up so he could manage the controls of the plane long enough, so the plane would not crash. They gave him all the morphine they had and just tried to make it back home.

Roland was in the hospital for a year before he was able to get back to the U.S. In 1947 he retired from the Air Force. He worked for Mead Corp., a large paper company. He worked for several other companies including Slick Airways, Grand Central Aircraft and later on for Northrup. Regardless of where he went, he always had a love of planes and flying. Roland died in 2002.

So whenever I walk through the Robert L. Scott exhibits at the Museum of Aviation, I don’t just think of Gen. Scott, but I think of Roland. He was a hero in his own right.

He might have been overshadowed by his older brother with the national limelight, but Roland created his own legacy of courage.

Marilyn N. Windham, of Fort Valley, is a volunteer at the Museum of Aviation. Contact her at mnwindham@aol.com.

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