Roosevelt University alumnus Nicholas Scott is a decorated U.S. military veteran who has been at the forefront of U.S. Navy operations in parts of the world that few Americans ever see.
Somalia, South Korea, Djibouti, Romania, the Suez Canal, Burundi and Uganda are a few of the far-off places that the 41-year old administrator for Roosevelt’s Professional Mentoring Program has come to know over the last decade.
A Mass Communication Specialist and Petty Officer 1st Class with the U.S. Navy for more than 10 years, Scott is also one of many veterans worthy of salute as the nation this month marks Veteran’s Day remembrances.
“Military service means serving all people that are here in our country and even abroad,” said Scott, who received a Master’s in Journalism degree from Roosevelt in 2016. “It’s about serving humanity, which is the bright side of the military.”
Some of the time Scott spent on deployments around the globe was educational.
He saw things he never knew existed, including faces of despair among those who have very little to eat in Somalia’s capital of Mogadishu, a city where he at all times had a bodyguard and sidearm.
Other experiences were sentimental, including Scott’s participation as a media specialist in the formal deactivation of one of the Navy’s oldest and finest carriers, aircraft carrier USS Enterprise (CVN 65).
And there was a jarring mission – a failed rescue led by Enterprise, along with multiple other ships, before it was decommissioned – that the U.S. veteran and Navy reservist will never forget.
“It was the most significant military operation I’ve been involved in and the only time I felt I was in danger,” said Scott of an operation in 2011 that went awry off the coast of Somalia, where he was on a temporary assignment to one of the other ships in the strike group.
HIs first deployment with the U.S. Navy, Scott stood on the exposed weather deck of Arleigh Burke class guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett (DDG 104). His job was to take photos as a Navy team tried to negotiate freedom for four Americans held aboard their private yacht by pirates.
The pirates aboard the SY Quest yacht unexpectedly lobbed a rocket-propelled grenade in the direction of Sterett. While it missed, a quick-thinking colleague threw Scott to the deck as firing began.
“I remember popping up to take photos, taking cover behind a metal barrier and then popping out to take more photos,” said Scott, who was not injured.
During the operation, he managed to obtain photos of the whole operation, including the boarding of SY Quest where some pirates were killed while others captured. The Navy team found the four Americans aboard dead.
“They say that military training kicks in – and it really did: It came down to all those things I’d learned: Keeping myself safe first, keeping others safe second, and doing the job I was there to do as well,” he recalled.
While the photos went to the White House and then-President Barack Obama, Scott went on to other Navy assignments, many in support of the War on Terror. His most recent deployment in 2018 was to the only U.S. base in Africa, Camp Lemonnier, which is located on the continent’s northeast coast in Djibouti.
While there, he took part in U.S. efforts in Africa to combat the spread of the Ebola virus. He also compiled a comprehensive magazine about the history and strategic significance of the naval base and component commands, which went to the region’s commanding general, who then sent it to Congress, paving the way for the U.S. base and involvement in Africa to continue.
Scott received commendations as well as medals from the U.S. Department of Defense because of his efforts. He also recently married fellow Roosevelt graduate, Yasmeen Scott, née Lipprand, Integrated Marketing Communications class of 2017.
“Roosevelt has always meant a lot to us,” said Scott, who returned to the University to oversee Roosevelt’s Professional Mentoring Program in October.
In fact, as the nation observes Veteran’s Day, Scott’s thoughts are on promoting service not only to our country but also to our community.
“Whether you were in the military or not, today is a chance to represent your country in the best possible way. It’s a good time to remember to be kind and helpful to all people in need of our assistance,” he said.