Vietnam veteran speaks at PCA lecture for Memorial Day


Dawson Presley

William Phillips introducing Colonel Scott Martin at the lecture

Tristan Allen, Reporter

The Professional Careers Academy (PCA) held a lecture on Nov. 9 where Scott Martin, retired lieutenant colonel, spoke about his experiences in the military in honor of Veteran’s Day.

Martin served three tours in Vietnam, worked for the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) in Germany, and taught at the Command and General Staff College (CGSG) in Fort Leavenworth.

This lecture was unlike other lectures in the past. Usually, most speakers present for at least 20 minutes, then take questions. Martin mixed things up by saying a few words, then took questions, and followed up with and a few things he wanted to say. The order of events that were talked about at the lecture did not fall in chronological order.

To start things off, Martin suggested that everybody should “take 10 seconds and thank” veterans.

Shortly after, Martin asked the audience how many monuments there are in Washington D.C.

There is only one monument, the George Washington monument, and everything else that might seem like a monument is actually a memorial.

He visited the Vietnam Veterans Memorial on a trip to Washington D.C., and he noticed that the memorial seems to “[go] on for what looked like forever.”

“[It was] really an awakening,” Martin said of the experience.

Martin was drafted into serving in the Vietnam War, reluctantly, saying he “fought like hell, but had to go anyway.” When he was in college, he got two notices to get a physical, which he ignored. The sheriff then had to hunt him down to get a physical.

The Vietnam War was very unpopular back in the day, and Martin experienced this firsthand. He was wearing his military gear on a plane, when somebody called him a “double private,” referring to the two bars on his uniform, which stands for captain, according to Martin.

Throughout the lecture, Martin said that if asked to serve again, he would “go back in a flash.”

He also talked about his time in training, remembering a time when a family member sent him cookies through the mail, which was intercepted by his platoon captain. The platoon captain made him do pushups, but Martin pointed out that the platoon captain committed a federal offense by opening his mail, but he was eventually told to fall in line.

Martin’s time serving in the Vietnam War was also discussed at the lecture. He commanded a few squadrons during his service. He also commented that drugs were a big problem; Martin often had to confiscate drugs from military personnel.

There was also another incident Martin talked about, which saw him jail women who were living on military bases, which was prohibited. He believed that he ruled with an iron fist.

Another topic that was elaborated on was Martin’s time in Germany. This part of the lecture was relatively brief. He enjoyed the culture in Germany, and also pointed out that if someone made a mistake, Germans and other Europeans “[did not] laugh at you; they laugh[ed] with you.”

Despite his originally resisting, Martin said that he would like to see the draft come back because he believes that it teaches structure.

Finally, he shared an experience that he had as a veteran. A little girl went up to Martin and thanked him for his service. Martin “cried like a baby” after that.