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Bulloch History with Roger Allen
From Bulloch to Flying Tigers
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    Almost everybody has heard of the “Flying Tigers,” the American pilots who were fighting the Japanese, but few people know of it’s Bulloch County connection. Their commander, General Robert Lee Scott Jr., or “Scotty” as he was called when he was young, was born in Waynesboro on April 12, 1908. He spent much of his childhood with his grandfather, B.H. Scott, who lived in Bulloch County.
    His parents, Robert L. Scott Sr. and Ola Burkhalter, moved from Waynesboro to Macon.  There, his mother took him to see daredevil pilot Eugene Ely perform in his plane. Ely was killed when he crashed his plane right in front of young Scotty, who then decided he wanted to be a pilot himself.
    Therefore, he built a home-made glider with some canvas he found. He climbed up on the roof of the tallest house around, Mrs. Napier’s three story house, and took off. His flight lasted all of one minute, as he then spiraled down into a hard landing right into Mrs. Napier’s beloved Cherokee rose bushes.
    After graduating from Lanier High School, he joined the local National Guard unit. Through his local representatives, he was able to gain admission to the West Point Preparatory School of the United States Military Academy in July 1928. When he graduated from West Point, he entered the Army Flying Center at (Captain William) Randolph Field in Universal City, Texas.   
    While there, he had continued to court and then married Katherine Rix Green of Fort Valley, Ga. After he got his wings on October 17, 1933, Scott was then assigned to (General “Billy”) Mitchell Field in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. When President Franklin Roosevelt cancelled the civilian contracts to carry U.S. Airmail across the country, Scott was assigned to one of the roughest stretches of flying there was.
    The Allegheny Mountains, in particular, were literally “Hell” to fly through, especially as instruments became unreliable and visibility was often non-existent. The pilots assigned to this run were said to have joined “The Suicide Club”.
    He then ran the Cal-Aero Academy Flying School, until the United States formally declared war on Japan. The U.S. Army command assigned Scott to the top-secret “Task Force Aquila,” whose mission was to bomb Japan proper from secret bases in China with B-17 Flying Fortresses. When Japanese forces captured the bases from which the Americans were to refuel and then launch their assaults, the mission was scrubbed.
    Scott was immediately assigned to the Assam-Burma-China Ferry Command, flying C-47 Gooney Birds over the Himalayan “Hump” to resupply Generalissimo Chiang Kai Shek’s forces, which were fighting the troops of the Japanese Imperial Army. Within one month he became the 23rd Fighter Group’s (of the 10th Army Air Force) executive and chief operations officer.
    Scott returned to the States and was made the deputy for operations of the United States Army’s School of Applied Tactics. In October of 1944, he was given command of an Army force of experimental force of planes equipped with special rocket engines. Their mission: first attack Japanese railroad lines in Eastern China, and then attack Japanese ships supplying their forces on Okinawa.
    Finishing this, Scott was then sent to (Charles Linton) Williams Air Force Base in Chandler, Arizona, to become the commander of the Army’s Jet Fighter Training School. For his efforts, Scott was awarded two Silver Stars, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, and three (or five) Air Medals. He retired from the Air Force with the rank of brigadier general.
    In 1980, at the age of 72, Scott walked the entire 2000 miles of the Great Wall of China. He also wrote a number of books, including “God Is My Co-Pilot” and “Boring A Hole In The Sky.” He died  Feb. 27, 2006, in the Macon area.
Roger Allen is a local lover of history. Allen provides a brief look at Bulloch County's historical past. E-mail Roger at roger
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