- The Washington Times - Sunday, January 15, 2006

Three sons chose Army over college, serve in Iraq

SMITHFIELD, Va. — When Floyd J. Scott Sr. advised his three sons to either go to college or join the armed forces after they graduated from high school, he never envisioned that all three would serve in a war in a foreign land.

Derek, Floyd Jr. and Travis Scott all graduated from Smithfield High School in the 1990s and went directly into the Army. Derek and Floyd Jr., better known as Jaye, are in Iraq.

Derek, the youngest, graduated in 1997 and is serving his second tour of duty. Floyd, the middle son, is a 1992 graduate.

Travis, the oldest of the group, is stationed at Fort Hood, Texas, after returning from Iraq in March. A 1990 graduate, Travis is a first sergeant. His goal when he joined the Army was to become a sergeant major, the highest rank an enlisted man can attain. He is just one rank from that now.

Neither the boys nor their parents knew about the troubled road ahead.

“When they joined the military, I didn’t think that they would have to go through this,” said their mother, Shirley Scott. “I really don’t care for it, but I’m not worried about them. When they come home for visits, the last thing they always pack is their Bible.”

The Scotts’ house, just outside Smithfield, is full of proudly displayed pictures of their sons in uniform.

Mrs. Scott works at the Dominion Surry Nuclear Power Plant and Floyd works at the Northrop Grumman Newport News shipyard. After long days, the two look forward to communicating with their children via e-mail.

All three sons have been able to communicate with each other and with their parents using the computer.

“If I hear from them once a week, I am pretty content,” Mrs. Scott said.

The communication between the three sons and their parents is regular, but limited. For security reasons, the Scotts often do not know where their sons in Iraq are or what they are doing.

Although Mrs. Scott knows some of what is going on, her children have spared her the details.

“They don’t tell me anything,” she said with a grin. “They tell my husband. They don’t want me to worry.”

Travis said he and his brothers also keep in touch. They try to avoid the topic of war and treat it like a job they have to do.

“We don’t talk about it too much. We keep it in the back of our minds and move on with life,” he said.

Back in the United States, Travis hears some of the negative response to the war. “They are letting the troops down,” he said. “The people [in Iraq] are glad we are there. They want democracy, too. Everyone [here] has different views on that. People hear what they want to hear.”

Travis noted, though, that most of the reaction he gets from people he meets is positive.

“When I walked through the mall in my uniform, people were hugging me and shaking my hand. That made me feel real proud.”

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