ST. CHARLES — Army Col. Stephen Scott drove fast cars and was known as a daredevil who lived on the edge. But it wasn’t thrill seeking that prompted his return to Iraq in December for a second tour of duty. Relatives said a dedication to his fellow soldiers drew him to Baghdad, where he was killed last week.
“He said: ‘I’m going back,’” Scott’s longtime friend Al Reed recalled during a eulogy at Scott’s funeral Monday. “‘How can I best support my troops’ — that’s all he wanted.”
Hundreds gathered for Scott’s funeral here, remembering a hometown boy who became only the ninth officer of his rank to be killed in the war in Iraq. Colonel appears to be the highest rank of any U.S. military deaths in the Iraq war.
Scott, 54, was an avid jogger who ran four or more miles a day. He was exercising at an a military gym last Sunday when a mortar struck the facility, killing Scott and another soldier.
Scott’s relatives said his mother, Patricia, grew worried last Sunday when Scott hadn’t called her before she left for church.
“Even if he was halfway around the world, Steve would call his mother every Sunday morning. He was more worried about her than he was about himself,” said his brother, Mark Scott.
Scott had served one 18-month tour in Iraq and had been working in the Pentagon for two years, his sister Kathleen King said. He returned to Iraq in December for a special six-month deployment to help train and equip the Iraqi Army, she said.
Over the last three weeks, Scott seemed to grow increasingly worried about the safety of his soldiers inside the fortified Green Zone as violence increased in Baghdad, King said.
Scott was raised in the St. Louis area and followed in the footsteps of his father, Kenneth Scott, by enlisting in the Army after he graduated from high school.
After leaving St. Louis, Scott spent more than 10 years based in Alabama, and still owns a house in the town of New Market, Ala., which the Army lists as his current address. He was assigned to the 356th Quartermaster Battalion based in Laurel, Miss.
Scott is one of the highest ranking officers killed in the Iraq conflict, which has claimed the lives of more than 4,000 U.S. soldiers. According to an Associated Press database of U.S. military deaths in Iraq, at least eight other Army or Army Reserve colonels have died.
Also killed in the attack that claimed Scott’s life was 36-year-old Maj. Stuart Wolfer of Coral Springs, Fla. He was assigned to the 11th Battalion, 104th Division, Boise, Idaho.
Scott is survived by two adult daughters, Rachel Regot and Rebekah Scott.