Thursday, 22 January 2009
LTG Scott Comes Home
Temperatures hovered in the low teens and snow covered the ground at West Point on Friday afternoon, 16 January 2009, as family, friends, classmates, former colleagues, staff & faculty and cadets paid their final respects to LTG Willard W. Scott, Jr., Class of 1948 and Superintendent of the United States Military Academy from 1981 to 1986. A single piper played “Amazing Grace” as the earthly remains of LTG Scott were carried into Most Holy Trinity Chapel, and the Cadet Glee Club sang the “Alma Mater.” Mrs. Scott was escorted by the Commandant of Cadets, BG Linnington ’80, and grandson Scott Rosenshein, Class of ’09, followed her.
Presiding over the Mass of Christian Burial was Monsignor Robert F. McCormick, a former West Point chaplain. In fact, Monsignor McCormick had met LTG Scott as a second classman and introduced him to his future wife, Justine Dorney of New Rochelle, NY, known to all as “Dusty.” He also married the Scotts, baptized and presided at the marriage of several of the Scott children, and participated in the celebration of their 50th Wedding Anniversary. Several members of the family (and the sole bagpiper) wore the West Point tartan that LTG Scott was instrumental in having officially sanctioned and recognized for the Academy’s Pipes and Drums.
The hymn “All Creatures of Our God and King” was sung, followed by a reading of the 23rd Psalm, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want . . . . Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for You are with me.” A reading of the letter of St. Paul to the Romans included “If God be for us, who can be against us” while the Gospel reading was of the Eight Beatitudes: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” The service was most impressive due to the vocal contributions of cantor Mary Clare McAlee from the Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart, Newark, NJ, especially her moving rendition of “Ave Maria.” Organists adding their talents were Meredith E. Baker, Most Holy Trinity Chapel; Eun H. Chung, Post Chapel; John Miller, Cathedral Basilica of the Sacred Heart; and Craig S. Williams, Cadet Chapel. The members of the Cadet Catholic Choir also joined their voices in the musical tribute.
Following the service, the mourners filed from the chapel and retired to the West Point Cemetery to the sounds of “Holy God, we praise Thy Name.” There, a contingent of cadets in long overcoats, the USMA Band, and a guard of honor waited. Off to one side, two cadets held one of the Army Mules, named “General Scott,” or familiarly “Scotty.” The mule was named in honor of LTG Scott’s continuing enthusiastic support of Army sports: as a member of the Army Lacrosse Team for four years as a cadet, as Superintendent and for over two decades in retirement. As Superintendent and afterwards, it was not uncommon for him to ride one of the Army mules at Army football games and lead the Corps of Cadets in cheers.
At the graveside ceremony, Chaplain (LTC) Matthew Pawlikowski, Pastor of Most Holy Trinity Chapel, offered words of comfort and celebration to Mrs. Scott and her extended family of seven children, 25 grandchildren, and one great-granddaughter. A cannon salute echoed across the Hudson River Valley, the traditional three volleys were fired, and the flag was folded in final tribute. BG Linnington then presented the triangle of red, white and blue to Mrs. Scott “on behalf of a grateful nation.” COL (Ret.) Robert McClure ’76, representing the West Point Association of Graduates, offered his sympathy, and was followed by the many friends and colleagues who had come to love and respect the general and his bride over the years.
As the mourners adjourned to Eisenhower Hall for a reception, a member of the honor guard remained at Attention at the gravesite, in solemn dedication to another fallen soldier. The fading sun shone down in final tribute as LTG Scott was laid to rest near the Anderson Fountain, in the company of several other former Superintendents. LTG Scott was the first of the new breed of Superintendents—general officers selected to serve their last five years on active duty at the Academy and then retire.
He came to West Point following command of V Corps in Germany. Earlier major commands included the 23rd Artillery Group, Military Assistance Command—Viet Nam Special Troops, V Corps Artillery, and the 25th Infantry Division. During 1981-86 he oversaw the initiation of major fields of study in the curriculum, the creation of an office of artificial intelligence, and the development of the Honor Education Program. He also hired professional coaches for the new woman’s teams and otherwise aided the acceptance of woman cadets into the Corps.
Your humble servant, J. Phoenix, Esquire
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