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Colonel Sam Pearson on Memorial Day Thoughts
Sam Pearson 5/30/2021 3:01 PM

My Memorial Day Thoughts

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Colonel Stephen Scott Image: US Army File Photo


Memorial Day needs to be a solemn remembrance of the brave Americans who have laid down their lives for the freedom we cherish. Frankly, the mere act of putting on the uniform isn't heroic. As Americans, we have begun to overuse the word "hero." It is admirable and it is commendable when a person makes the decision to serve his or her country, and I believe that America needs more of it, but the heroes are the ones we remember on Memorial Day. 

I understand that there are a lot of patriotic Americans in this country just looking for a way to support the military. This Memorial Day, I encourage you to think of the veterans in your life. Who are they remembering? Whose life was sacrificed on some foreign soil. Save your thanks for Veterans Day, and instead ask him or her to tell you a story about a true hero. Help keep the memories of those who did not make it home alive.

My thoughts this Memorial Day are for my friend and fellow Alabamian Colonel Stephen Scott. I met Steve when he was a battalion commander in Kuwait 2003. Steve was a Soldier’s Soldier: smart, focused and lean as one would expect of a marathon runner. We spoke of our families, fishing and hunting North Alabama’s lakes and mountains. 

I ran into Steve again in 2004 at the Pentagon, when he had returned from his tour. He was in his dress uniform and if you look at his picture below you will see that he had earned The Bronze Star Medal for his leadership and his units outstanding performance during their 2003 deployment.

We continued to meet with one another at various military bases as we both prepared units to deploy to Iraq and Afghanistan. In May of 2006 I deployed as part of the 377th Theater Sustainment Command. Steve made a special trip to Camp Shelby Mississippi to wish us well as we departed to serve in Kuwait. While deployed to Kuwait, Steve messaged me and other members of our command to see if there was anything that he could help us with from the Pentagon. In fact, there was discussion of Steve being my replacement as the Distribution Management Center Director in 2007 as we redeployed back to the United States.

I called Colonel Scott several times after returning from deployment to discuss how we needed to continue training logistics commands who would continue to deploy to execute the nation building mission in both Afghanistan and Iraq. We were discussing a job that was opening at the US Embassy in Iraq that would be overseeing the transition of security forces to the Iraqi government. The primary mission of the position was to help equip the Iraqi Army to protect Iraqi citizens as the transition to self-rule continued.

Colonel Stephen Scott was the right leader to work with the Iraqi army’s leadership as he was a very positive thinker and knew that his efforts would be rewarded by a safe and prosperous Iraq.

On Monday afternoon, 7 April 2008, I received word from a mutual friend at the Pentagon that Colonel Stephen Scott had been killed during a rocket attack the previous day. I was stunned. He had been not only a good friend but someone who I believed represented all that was good about the Army and our mission to protect those who could not protect themselves.

Colonel Stephen Scott had a memorial and was buried at Flint River Baptist Church in Alabama. In addition to earning the Bronze Star, Steve was awarded commendations and certificates from Gov. Bob Riley - among the awards was a Distinguished Service Medal. The Alabama Distinguished Service Medal is Alabama’s highest award and is considered our state's Medal of Honor.



In closing, I once asked Steve what his favorite song was as he was running. He said that his favorite song was, “And I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free. And I won’t forget the men who died, who gave that right to me.” –Lee Greenwood


If there is a place in Heaven for those that gave everything for providing Security, Hope and Freedom to others, I have no doubt that Steve is among those seated at the head table.

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Sam Pearson
Sam Pearson is a retired Army Colonel with a variety of experience in both government and private sectors. As arguably one of the World's foremost military logisticians, he has been responsible for the on time delivery of supplies and services worth billions of dollars. After service in Southwest Asia, he was hand picked to support logistics operations in support of earthquake relief operations in Haiti. Pearson now serves as a consultant and volunteer mentor for students seeking their doctorates in advance statistical analysis.

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