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Honoring Our Heroes

Commander Robert Nealy Scruggs Jr.

CDR Robert Nealy Scruggs served 22 years in the U. S. military including five years in the U. S. Marine Corps Reserve, 10 years in active duty in the Navy and seven years in the Navy Reserve. His Military Occupational Specialty Code (MOS) was Naval Flight Officer. He received the following medals, citations and decorations: National Defense Medal, Meritorious Unit Commendation with three Air Medals, Vietnam Service Medal, Vietnam Campaign Medal and US Marine Corps Reserve Ribbon.

CDR Scruggs was born October 3, 1938 in Nashville, TN, to his parents, Neal and Monteen Scruggs. He lived there four years, nine months at Alpine, TX, and 14 years at Corpus Christi, TX, where he was reared and graduated from Roy Miller High School May 5, 1957.

CDR Scruggs family has a rich history of its members serving in the U.S. military. Three uncles served in WWII as well as his father who served in the U. S. Marine Corps. He has a son-in-law who retired from the Marines and has a grandson who is an aviator with the Marines. Following the examples of these relatives, CDR Scruggs volunteered to serve in the U. S. Marine Corps, enlisted September 4, 1957and completed Marine Basic Training at the Marine Depot in San Diego, CA, and advanced combat training at Camp Pendleton, CA. He returned to Corpus Christi and continued serving in the Marine Corps Reserve. He completed an Associate Bachelor's Degree from Del Mar Jr. College in general studies in May 1960. He taught English and speech at Tuloso-Midway High School at Corpus Christi for one year. He then worked as the assistant personnel officer for the American Smelting and Refining Company at Corpus Christi, TX.

CDR Sruggs volunteered and reported for duty to serve in the Navy's flight program January 1, 1965, at NFO Pensacola, FL; however because of a vision acuity problem, he could not become a pilot. On May 21, 1965, he was commissioned as an Ensign, USNR and continued training as a navigator. He completed requirements and was awarded wings as Naval Flight Officer (NFO) January 7, 1966. He reported for training as NFO (Airborne Ops) at NAF Glynco, GA.

CDR Scruggs' first assignment as Naval Flight Officer with Airborne Ops was to Guam with the primary mission of supporting air ops with the Navy Fleet, and the secondary mission was tracking typhoons in support of the Navy's fleet with multiple deployments to the Philippines and Chu Lai, Vietnam. In 1967, during the Vietnam War, he flew in the Gulf of Tonkin assisting in night air ops in the fleet for two years.

CDR Scruggs then served as the military personnel officer at the NAS Chase Field, Beeville, TX, 1968-1971. He went to CA for training in anti-submarine warfare in 1971, and he went to NAS Moffett, CA, for NFA (anti-sub) training from February 2, 1972 to August 18, 1971. Next, he was assigned to VP-17, NAS Ewa Beach, Hawaii, for three years where he often flew patrol ops with deployments to Okinawa, Philippines, and Thailand (Vietnam Ops). He then served as the aviation safety officer at the NAS Millington, TN, for nine months leaving Navy active duty July 7, 1965. While there, he received a MS Degree in Systems Management from the University of Arkansas in 1975. He then served as personnellist manager for the U.S. Department of Energy at Oakridge, TN. He went into the Navy Reserve in 1975, and he flew with a Navy Reserve patrol squadron at Glenview NAS Chicago starting in 1976. Scruggs retired from all military service December 23,1983.

After military retirement from the reserve, CDR Scruggs worked in civilian personnel at Arnold Air Force Station at Tullahoma, TN, in 1983. This was followed by employment as civilian personnel officer at Dyess Air Force Base, at Abilene, TX, at Maxwell Air Force Base, at Montgomery, AL, at Aviano Air Base, Italy, at USAF Civilian Personnel School, Maxwell Air Force Base-Gunter Annex, Montgomery, AL, and as head of labor relations training and as CPO at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England. His last civilian employment was serving as Director of Labor Management Relations training at USAF Civilian Personnel School, Maxwell Air Force Base Gunter Annex. He retired from civilian service June 2, 2000 as a GS-14 with credit for 34 years of service including some credit for military service. He received two Exemplary Civilian Service Awards and one Outstanding Civilian Service award. CDR Scruggs taught courses in Management at Auburn University of Montgomery for one and one-half, and he retired from all employment in 2001.

CDR Scruggs and his wife, Julia, have been married 47 years. He has two daughters and one stepdaughter. Robert "Bob" Scruggs is an active member of Frazer Methodist Church at Montgomery, AL, where he serves as a teacher of the Living Today Sunday school class and volunteers in congregational care such as the cancer support group and various other activities. He enjoys playing golf and pickleball and reading.

CDR Scruggs' conclusions about what his military service means to him are, "The war in Vietnam was impersonal for us in the beginning because we did not fly out of Vietnam. Once we began flying out of Chu Lai, Vietnam we saw first hand grim evidence of the effects of the war on our troops and the Vietnamese. It was sobering and also made us appreciate the sacrifices that were being made. We were glad to contribute our part in helping the fleet take care of crippled aircraft returning to the carriers and/or conducting search and rescue or whatever else was needed. I am grateful for the opportunity to have served our great nation and to stand with so many wonderful men and women who are willing to make such sacrifice. God will bless America as long as we continue to have those who are willing to support our values in sacrifice."

 

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