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The Story of Dan Scott




Dan Scott’s first Bronze Star Medal from the Army recognized his actions in Vietnam on December 23rd, 1967:


"On this date, Specialist Scott was serving as rifleman on a reconnaissance in force mission in a densely jungled area of Binh Duong Province. In the morning, the lead elements of the unit came in contact with a large Viet Cong force employing small arms, automatic weapons, and claymore mines. During the initial barrage, the point man was seriously wounded by a claymore mine and automatic weapons fire, and fell only five meters from an enemy position. With complete disregard for his personal safety, Specialist Scott ran 40 meters through intensive hostile fire to the wounded man’s side and gave him first aid. While treating him, he fired his personal weapon at the insurgents, who had spotted him and were firing directly at him. He suppressed their fire enough to finish treating the casualty and carry him to a position affording cover. His courage under fire and regard for the welfare of his comrades were directly responsible for saving the wounded man’s life."


“I think about him all the time,” says Dan of the ‘point man.’ “I grabbed him by the collar and drug him to safety.”

 

Now a regular at VOA’s Carl Gipson Center, Dan Scott saved many lives during his two years of service in the Vietnam War.


Born in 1946 in West Seattle, young Danny Scott danced on the line between bravery and recklessness. He and his friends would appropriate long rope from nearby tugboats, take it into the local forest, and climb 75 feet up trees to hang a rope swing to get a thrill. When he was 11, he’d steal his parents’ Domino cigarettes off the kitchen counter and smoke with his friends. One time, he and a friend parked their Schwinn bikes behind a little neighborhood grocery store, snatched a full case of Heidelberg beer, then rode two miles down to Miller Creek, where they stashed it in a cubby in the river so it’d stay cold. “We drank on that case for three or four weeks,” says Dan with a laugh.


Then there was the incident with the Secret Service.


Dan took Metal Shop at Sealth High School and learned how to make a cast for a 50-cent-piece, then create a forgery made of iron in the foundry. He passed off four or five dollars of his own 50-cent-pieces in the lunchroom, and thought he was free and clear until the Secret Service showed up at school three weeks later. Dan skipped town, hopping on a train to central Oregon, where he found odd jobs for weeks, until his family finally convinced him to come home. He graduated from Sealth in 1965.

Drafted in 1967, Dan went to boot camp at Ft. Lewis. “They knocked the snot out of you, knocked the sassiness out of you, and made you into a team member. The Sergeant would come in at 4:30 or 5:30am with a billy club, hitting a garbage can. He was our alarm clock.” He then attended Advanced Infantry Training at Ft. Polk, Louisiana, before his deployment to Vietnam.

Dan remembers his M-14 rifle, the concertina wire they used to secure a perimeter, the young faces that made up his Mechanized Outfit, the friendliness of the villagers. He remembers his first bad sunburn and the USO Tour with Bob Hope. For many years, he remembered too much. “After a battle, you have to form a line and survey the area. If they’re dead, you put them in body bags. If they’re wounded, you bring them back.”

 

Dan Scott’s second Bronze Star Medal (First Oak Leaf Cluster) recognized his actions on February 18th, 1968.


"On this date, Specialist Scott was serving as a vehicle commander with his mechanized infantry platoon on a mission to escort a convoy from Di An to Ben Cat along Highway 13. Near the abandoned village of Cau Dinh, the convoy was suddenly subjected to intensive rocket propelled grenade, machinegun, and automatic weapons fire from a reinforced North Vietnamese heavy weapons company entrenched in the abandoned village.

During the initial moments of the firefight Specialist Scott was severely wounded by flying shrapnel. Although seriously injured, he maintained his exposed position and continued firing his weapon. As the battle raged on, everyone on his vehicle became wounded, causing Specialist Scott to redouble his efforts.


He effectively fired both a grenade launcher and his rifle from his exposed position atop the armored personnel carrier and accounted for several of the 84 killed during the seven-hour battle. His courageous determination and perseverance contributed significantly toward the decisive victory won by the friendly forces.”

 

After serving in the Army, Dan landed as a boilermaker building ships, working for Todd’s Pacific Shipyard in Seattle for 28 years. He’s retired now, and he and his wife Susie found the Carl Gipson Center back in January. He likes to play pool and she loves the Clogging Class. “We think it’s a very welcoming place, and we really appreciate that it’s there for us.” As he reflects on his life, Dan underscores how thankful he is for his family and his wife.


In addition to the September Veterans Stand Down and November Veterans Day Celebration & USO Dance, the Carl Gipson Center hosts the Heroes’ Café, whose Everett chapter supports veterans on the 3rd Tuesday of each month from 11:30am-2:00pm, with lunch provided. All veterans are welcome.


Author’s Note: the complete list of Specialist Dan M. Scott’s awards includes: National Defense Service Medal, Vietnam Medal w/ Bronze Service Star, Vietnam Campaign Medal, Combat Infantryman Badge, Bronze Star Medal w/V Device, Purple Heart, Purple Heart w/Oak Leaf Cluster, and Army Commendation Medal.

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