Robert R. Scott
The Medal of Honor, the United States' highest military award for valor, is bestowed upon service members who distinguish themselves with "conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of life above and beyond the call of duty." Many service members sacrificed their lives heroically during World War II. One of the first Americans to do so was Navy Machinist's Mate 1st Class Robert Raymond Scott.
Scott, who was born on July 13, 1915, in Massillon, Ohio, was killed in action during the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, aboard the USS California. A torpedo hit the ship, flooding the compartment to which Scott had been assigned as a battle station. As the compartment filled with water, and the ship slowly sank, Scott continued to operate the compressor to provide air for crew members trapped below. Though the rest of the sailors evacuated the compartment, Scott refused to leave, saying words to the effect of, "This is my station, and I will stay and give them air as long as the guns are going."
Scott posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his "conspicuous devotion to duty, extraordinary courage and complete disregard of his own life." He exemplifies the heroism of all those who are awarded the Medal of Honor. The U.S. Navy also honored Scott by naming a destroyer escort after him. Scott is buried in Section 34, Grave 3939.