LINSIDE, MONROE COUNTY (WVNS) – If you take a look around Scott Womack’s classroom at James Monroe High School, it is easy to see the pride he takes in his thirty years of service in the U.S. Army.
With a military career as decorated as Womack’s, it is easy to see why.
His career began as an Armor Officer, where he and his squadron would deploy from an airplane, with a tank, to infiltrate behind enemy lines.
“The tank would get pulled out of the back of the aircraft and then you would walk off the ramp behind it and land near it. And then you had to get the parachutes off it and get it operational,” said Womack.
Following a decorated career in combat, Womack was appointed as a Defense Attache, where he served as a military advisor to embassies in several African countries during the war on terror.
“A Defense Attache has three jobs” the retired Lieutenant Colonel told 59News. “So you advise your ambassador about the capabilities that the U.S. Military can bring, but also the capabilities that whatever country you’re living in has. We also advise the host nation on what kind of things we can help them with, that would be appropriate. And then if the worst should happen and you need to evacuate an embassy, then you execute the evacuation from a military standpoint, which I had to do once.”
“It was pretty tense,” said Womack. “We had to leave our embassy in the Central African Republic, which I also covered while I was living in Chad. So I had to fly down there on a little private airplane and negotiate a way for the Americans and the other countries that wanted to leave to safely leave the country.”
“The army was wise enough to train me in French, so I spoke French well enough to negotiate with the locals,” Womack explained. “So with a combination of empathy and understanding of what makes them tick, I was able to talk my way to get us safe passage from the embassy to the airport and a U.S. Air Force plane came and got us and took us home.”
These days, he uses that knowledge of French in a different way, by teaching students at James Monroe High School. In his free time, he spends as much time as possible getting involved with and reaching out to Veterans in the community.
“I’m the vice-commander of the local American Legion post in Union, Post 100. And we’re not looking for members just so we can have members. We just want the community to know that if you need someone to talk to about your experience, there’s a group that understands you,” said Womack. “And if you can reach out to other veterans, you’ll find that that instant family is always there.”
Womack says if you’re a civilian who wants to support a veteran, thanking them for their service is great. But lending a listening ear to stories about their service, or attending events that support vets, are even more meaningful ways to show your appreciation.