Selma native is in the Army now

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, September 6, 2005

The Selma Times-Journal

Some men retire to a life of pastel pants and golf courses. Other retirees travel the world riding fancy cruise ships on which life is a combination conga-line and buffet table.

But Selma native and Marine Master Sergeant Eugene Scott wanted none of that.

When he retired, he joined the Army.

The decision came down to several factors, but one of the biggest was that the Army offered Scott a chance to live and work in Augusta, Ga., not too far from his Selma roots.

“I really wasn’t looking forward to working in the D.C. area,” Scott said. “I chose to come to the Army and work somewhere close to home and that way of life.”

With the Marines, Scott’s worked in counterintelligence.

“Over in Iraq, I was in charge of the Marines in the Army actually,” Scott said. “They did interrogations of captured prisoners, force protection. I was the guy who they reported too.”

Scott’s unit was in Iraq seven months, but he came back early for his July retirement.

Now, working with the Army, there’s a chance he’ll have to go back.

“I’m a senior level executive with the Army,” he said. “I’m an investigator, I investigate issues with counter intelligence. There’s a high probability (I could be sent back to Iraq.) That’s one thing my wife is not too crazy about. Working for the Army, I go wherever the Army goes.”

Part of Scott’s job while in Iraq involved supervising the people who searched for threats to military personnel.

“I was out in the countryside quite a bit, unlike most of the people over there. I did a lot of traveling and work through the towns. That was the primary job of the guys working under me,” Scott said. “In Fallujah, you drive through that town and see dead bodies everywhere. To go to see a city like that and every building is damaged with bullet holes and bombs, that’s part of reality when you go there. They’re used to living like that all the time. The culture is something you have to be mentally prepared for. Part of my guys’ job was to find people trying to kill us. It’s a cruel place.”

Of course, Scott’s 22-year military career often sent him to places that could be described as cruel.

“I did a lot of traveling in my career. I’ve been through tons of countries like the Philippines, Malaysia, Hong Kong and Central America,” he said. “The time I spent down in El Salvador and Nicaragua reminds me a lot of Iraq. It was pretty much the same. After working in the rural areas of the Philippines, Iraq wasn’t really that much of a shock to me.”

Scott said media coverage of the war plays up some of the worst angles.

“What I hear on the media has a lot to do with Baghdad but most of our military personnel are not operating in Baghdad, they’re in outlying areas,” he said.

He added that though there are often reports of missile attacks, most of those are not very sophisticated and have a very low chance of success.

He did say, however, that often the citizens that seem the friendliest to Americans present the most danger.

“They may seem happy. But it’s like the same people that are happy and smile at you and really welcome you, that night they’d go out there and set a bomb to kill you,” he said.

The son of Martha Evans Scott, he was raised with the help of his grandparents Eugene and Laura Evans.

A graduate of Selma High, Scott married Selma native Rosemary Hatcher.

They have two children, Benjamin and Bethany and he says they return to Selma to visit family often.

Scott says being a career Marine in the Army is still an adjustment.

“The Marines have a sense a pride that exceeds any service,” he said. “Being a Marine, it is tough to put another label in front of it. To say I work for the army now is very tough.”