Donald Scott oral history interview



Donald Scott oral history interview


Born-digital video recording of an oral history with Donald L. Scott and interviewer Ted Lehberger, recorded as part of The Museum of Flight Oral History Program, March 8, 2018.


Vietnam War veteran Donald L. Scott is interviewed about his 27-year career with the United States Air Force. He discusses his training and experiences as a military pilot and shares details about his combat tours in Southeast Asia, where he flew the Republic F-105 Thunderchief. He also discusses other notable assignments from his service, such as standing nuclear alert in Okinawa and at various overseas air bases, test flying the F-105 at Nellis Air Force Base (Nevada), developing flight and engine instruments at the Aeronautical Systems Division, and serving as chief engineer of the Boeing E-4B Program. The interview concludes with a brief overview of Scott’s post-military career with Boeing and his docent work at The Museum of Flight.

Table Of Contents

Introduction and personal background -- College years -- ROTC service and discussion of reserve and regular commissions -- Flight training -- Flying the Republic F-84 Thunderjet -- Flying the Republic F-100 Super Sabre -- Nuclear alert assignments -- Explanation of TAC, SAC, and ADC -- Flying the Republic F-105 Thunderchief -- Service in Thailand and thoughts on F-105 capabilities -- Test squadron assignment at the Fighter Weapons School -- Second deployment to Thailand -- Aeronautical Systems Division and the Defense Systems Management College -- E-4B Program -- Post-military life and involvement with The Museum of Flight




1 recording (2 hr., 32 min., 54 sec.) : digital



Bibliographic Citation

The Museum of Flight Oral History Collection/The Museum of Flight




Biographical Text

Donald Lawrence Scott is a Vietnam War veteran who served with the United States Air Force for 27 years. He was born in 1934 in Butte, Montana to Jesse and Clella Scott. In high school, he participated in the Westinghouse Science Talent Search and ranked in the top 400 entries. After completing his first two years of college at the Montana School of Mines, he transferred to the University of California Berkeley, where he studied nuclear physics and engineering. He also participated in ROTC (Reserve Officers' Training Corps) and graduated with a regular commission.

In the late 1950s, Scott entered Air Force flight training. He received his initial training at Marana Air Base (Arizona), then completed additional training at Graham Air Base (Florida). After receiving his wings in 1958, he underwent combat training in the Republic F-84 Thunderjet. He then transitioned to the Republic F-100 Super Sabre.

In January 1960, Scott was deployed to Okinawa (Japan) to serve on nuclear alert, first in the F-100D and then in the Republic F-105 Thunderchief. He subsequently served nuclear alert assignments at other overseas bases, including Turkey and Korea. Afterwards, he served a TDY (temporary duty assignment) in Thailand, where he flew bombing missions in the F-105. On one such mission, he earned the Distinguished Flying Cross for a strike on the Paul Doumer Bridge in Hanoi, Vietnam.

Following his temporary duty assignment, Scott was assigned to the Fighter Weapons School at Nellis Air Force Base (Nevada). While there, he served with the test squadron, testing aircraft modifications and weapons. He next attended grad school to earn his master’s degree, then went through F-105 refamiliarization training in preparation for another deployment to Thailand. During his second combat tour in Southeast Asia, he served with the 44th Fighter Squadron and participated in Operation Rolling Thunder. At the conclusion of his second tour, he had completed a total of 146 combat missions.

Scott returned to the United States in September 1970. His subsequent assignments included serving as a military branch chief at the Aeronautical Systems Center (Ohio), attending the Defense System Management College, and serving as chief engineer of the E-4B Program. He retired in the mid-1980s at the rank of colonel.

As a civilian, Scott worked for Boeing on international programs. He retired from the company in 1995. In 1996, he joined The Museum of Flight Docent Corps and is still an active volunteer as of 2018.

Biographical information derived from interview and additional information provided by interviewee.