|From The Register Guard registerguard.com
Eugene native killed in action
Brice Scott died doing a job he loved, his family says
By Matt Cooper
A young father and former North Eugene High School student who became a soldier to support his family was killed Sunday in Afghanistan during a firefight, his family said Monday.
Pfc. Brice Scott, 22, was a crack shot who continued a family tradition of military service extending several generations. He sought out action on the front line and died doing the job he loved, family members said.
Scott, stationed at Fort Riley in Junction City, Kan., was a member of the Fourth Cavalry Regiment, on his first tour of duty near Kandahar, a large city in southern Afghanistan.
Scott and his unit were in a rocky, mountainous area, a stronghold for enemy fighters considered “the most volatile area of Afghanistan,” said his mother, Carol Tripp, 39, of Junction City, Kan.
“You can count on getting into a firefight anytime you walk into that area,” Tripp said.
Scott and two others were working a security checkpoint when they were ambushed by eight fighters. Scott was shot in the head and killed and another soldier was hit in the torso before American troops killed the enemy combatants, Tripp said.
She said she was notified by military personnel on Sunday. A spokesman at Fort Riley did not return a call for comment Monday.
A service for Scott is tentatively scheduled for Aug. 9 or Aug. 10 at the Ada Grange Hall in Florence.
“I personally don’t believe in the wars, but it was his life and his calling,” Tripp said. “I just had to let him go.”
Born and raised in Eugene, Scott was the “baby doll” of the family on whom relatives doted, said his cousin, Sarah Hemple, 31, of Eugene.
Scott was a student and football player at North Eugene High when he became interested in the Job Corps, a free federal education and training program that helps young people find jobs.
He spent summers in Florence with a grandfather, 58-year-old Tim Robins, where Scott liked to ride the sand dunes in an ATV and tool around in his sports car, a Nissan 300ZX. He met his wife, Dell, there and soon they were raising two girls, Celina and Mia, now 3 and 1, respectively.
After training at a Job Corps site in Yachats, Scott got a degree in carpentry in 2006 through the organization and worked as a carpenter in Newport and Albany, beginning his climb up the career ladder, Robins said.
But he lost his job about two years ago in the economic crash, and to support his family he turned to another career that had long interested him: the military.
Described by his grandfather as a “tall, good-looking” young man, Scott grew up playing paintball and other war games, and was virtually unbeatable at the simulation-shooter video game, “Halo.” In the Army, he became an excellent marksman, Robins said.
Scott’s military lineage includes more than a half-dozen ancestors and relatives who have served overseas with distinction, said his father, Steven Scott of Florence, 44, a former tank commander.
“Brice was a super soldier,” Steven Scott said. “He did what he was supposed to do. He did it in an outstanding fashion, and he lived up to the expectation of all of us who have gone before.”
Brice Scott’s tour of duty started in March and he was last stateside in May, for a two-week visit with his wife and daughters in Kansas.
“For a young man, he was the best father I’d ever seen,” Steven Scott said.
Hemple choked back tears Monday as she described a recent exchange with Scott on Facebook, the online social media network, while he was serving abroad.
In response to a comment by Scott that explosions were going off as he was typing at a computer keyboard, Hemple said he should have gone into the military “to be a cook.”
Scott’s Facebook reply: “I joined the Army first and foremost to support myself and family, but I am not someone that can sit behind a desk all day. This is the best job in the world, I don’t care what anyone says.”