(BINGHAMTON, NY) On Veterans’ Day, Senator Fred Akshar inducted local veteran and and World War II hero Maj. Richard A. Scott into the New York State Senate Veterans' Hall of Fame Class of 2021.
Each year, the New York State Senate honors veterans who have distinguished themselves in both their military and community service.
Mr. Richard Scott enlisted in the United States Army Air Corps at the age of 18 in 1942. Being too light to pass the physical, the doctors told him to drink lots of water and report back at noon to be weighed. Once inducted into the Air Corps, Scott discovered he was too short to be trained as a pilot and instead pursued training as a bombardier and navigator. Less than a month after marrying his high school sweetheart June Burge, Scott received orders to deploy to Italy.
Scott survived 16 bombing missions as part of the 15th Air Force, including one perilous mission during which his B-24 Liberator was shot down over enemy territory in the Austrian Alps by anti-aircraft guns. Any chance at a safe landing was prevented by the plane’s bomb bay doors, which were unable to close due to extensive damage from enemy fire. At an altitude of 20,000 ft., without a parachute and with nothing between him and the ground but a 9-inch-wide catwalk, Mr. Scott heroically crawled on his belly across the narrow sheet of steel to reach the manual crank and close the bomb bay doors, effectively slowing his plane’s descent and allowing his crew to guide the plane to an emergency landing on a small British-controlled runway in Northern Italy. Mr. Scott’s exemplary act of heroism earned him the Distinguished Flying Cross.
After World War II, Mr. Scott served an additional 17 years in the United States Air Force Reserves, achieving the rank of Major. Mr. Scott worked for 45 years at Marine Midland Bank before starting his own business, Foreign Currency Mart. After 28 years working in foreign currency exchange, he retired at age 90.
With his beloved wife June of 74 1/2 years, they raised a loving family of four children, 10 grand children and 16 great grand children. At 97 years young, Mr. Scott still resides in Johnson City, where he was born and raised.
“Nearly 80 years ago Maj. Scott first began serving our county, putting his life on the line. In a death-defying act of heroism, Maj. Scott saved the lives of himself and his crew, and afterwards continued to serve his country. When it was time to come home he was able to live the American dream so many have fought and died for. I’m proud to induct a true American hero, Maj. Richard Scott, into the New York State Senate Veterans Hall of Fame.
You can read more about Major Richard Scott here: https://www.nysenate.gov/profiles/2021/fred-akshar/richard-albert-scott