Robert Scott passed away February 27. I met interviewed him in Arizona 21 years ago.
[quote]Brigadier General Robert Scott
Brigadier General Robert Scott, who has died aged 97, became an “ace” fighter pilot flying alongside RAF squadrons in Burma against the Japanese in 1942, an experience that he recorded in his classic wartime memoir God is my Co-Pilot; a film of the same name, starring Dennis Morgan as Scott, was released in 1945.
Scott was a flying instructor in California when the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor in December 1941. He immediately volunteered for active duty but, at the age of 34, he was deemed too old.
Eventually, falsely claiming that he had flown a B-17 bomber, he managed to be assigned to a bomber force due to make a top-secret raid on Tokyo.
When the operation was cancelled he was in Karachi and was soon appointed operations officer for the Assam-Burma-China Ferry Command, flying supplies across the Himalayas to, among others, General Claire Chennault and his American Volunteer Group (AVG), better known as the “Flying Tigers”, who operated in support of Nationalist Chinese forces.
Scott struck up a close friendship with Chennault, and persuaded him to lend him a P-40 Warhawk fighter, supposedly to protect the ferry route from attack. Scott operated over northern Burma and in the defence of Rangoon, the vital port for supplies to China.
In this fighter, which he called Old Exterminator, he carried out many ground-attack sorties against the advancing Japanese army and was soon in combat with enemy fighters: within a few weeks he had destroyed eight.
After the Japanese had occupied Burma, Scott and his pilots continued the fight in western China. The RAF air commander was full of praise for the AVG pilots, commenting: “Their gallantry in action won the admiration of both services.”
When the Flying Tigers were disbanded in July 1942 and absorbed into the USAAF, Scott was appointed to command them with the 23rd Fighter Group of the China Air Task Force. By February 1943 he had been credited with destroying 13 aircraft - the authorities would not confirm a further nine probables because his aircraft did not carry a gun camera.
His successes made him one of the first US air “aces” of the war. The enemy placed a reward on Scott’s head and he became known as the “one-man air force”. After flying 388 combat missions, he returned to the United States.
Robert Lee Scott was born on April 12 1908 at Waynesboro, Georgia, and was educated at Macon Lanier High School before entering the US Military Academy at West Point. After graduating as an army lieutenant in 1932 he toured Europe and Asia on a motorcycle before embarking on his pilot training in Texas.
In October 1957 Scott retired, becoming a prolific writer on aviation subjects; his books included The Day I Owned the Sky and Flying Tiger: Chennault of China. He also lectured widely. In 1980, at the age of 72, he spent 93 days walking and riding a camel along the entire 2,000-mile length of the Great Wall of China.
In 1986 Scott returned to Georgia, which he described as a homecoming, and immediately became involved in the building and establishment of the Museum of Aviation at Robins Air Base, south of Atlanta. He continued to fly, and on his 88th birthday he flew in a F-15 Eagle fighter and a year later in the B-1 Lancer bomber.
Scott remained very active until the end of his life. In 1996, at the age of 88, he ran with the Olympic torch along a section of Georgia Highway 247 named in his honour. For many years he worked regularly at the air museum.
Robert Scott, who died on February 27, married Catherine Rix Green in 1934; she died in 1972, and their daughter survives him.[/quote]