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Waynesboro, Pa., soldier wounded in Afghanistan

March 05, 2002|BY RICHARD F. BELISLE

When the phone rang at 5:30 a.m. Sunday, Ellen Scott knew it was a call she didn't want to take.

Her son, Specialist 4 Andrew Scott, 24, is attached to the Army's 10th Mountain Division, the unit engaged in the new round of fighting in eastern Afghanistan that erupted Saturday against Taliban and al-Qaida forces.

"I knew something was wrong when he didn't call collect," Ellen Scott said. "He said, 'How are you?' and I said, 'What's wrong?'"

Andrew told her he had been wounded in the thigh by shrapnel from an enemy mortar shell, but that the wound wasn't serious. He said he now had something in common with his grandfather who lost an eye to a German mortar shell in the Battle of the Bulge in World War II.

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An Army spokesman called at 6:30 a.m. to tell the family that Andrew had been seriously wounded by a mortar shell on Saturday.

Ellen Scott, a first-grade teacher at Summitview Elementary School in Waynesboro, said she knew from weekend news reports that one soldier had been killed in the fighting and that others were wounded.

"I was glad Andrew called before the Army did," she said.

She thought of the family of the soldier who was killed and the phone call they received. "I feel very deeply for that family," she said. "We could have gotten a call like that."

Andrew's condition had been upgraded to "not serious" by Monday night, his mother said.

Andrew was evacuated from the battlefield to an Army base in Uzbekistan then to a hospital in Incirlik, Turkey, said his sister, Regina Screiner, 26.

Screiner had the phone number of the hospital in Turkey, but she said the Army would not patch through her call Monday. The family said they were expecting a phone call from Andrew Monday night.

Ellen Scott said she's been tracking her son's unit through news reports in newspapers and CNN ever since it landed in Uzbekistan. "I knew he was going into the fighting," she said.

Scott said she didn't know if Andrew's wound would keep him out of the fighting. Screiner said she thinks it will. "They'll send him home now," she said.

Andrew graduated from Waynesboro Area Senior High School in 1996. He enrolled in a general studies program at Penn State Mont Alto and joined the college's ROTC unit.

He joined the Pennsylvania National Guard in Chambersburg in 1997 and the U.S. Army in February 2000.

He completed training in an airborne unit, after which the Army sent him to the 10th Mountain Division in Fort Drum, N.Y., his father, Allen Scott, said.

"I was surprised when he joined the Army," his father said.

His mother said Andrew tended to be the quiet one of her three children. "His friends were even more surprised that he joined an airborne unit," she said.

The Scotts also have a son, Jonathan, 20.

Ellen Scott said she thinks her son enlisted so he could figure out what he wants to do with his life.

"He's always had a fascination with guns, hunting and fishing. He played with G.I. Joe when he was little."

His sister seemed to sum up the feelings of her family when she said, "Andrew is hurt and we're thankful he's all right, but there are a lot of guys over there and we need to keep them in our thoughts and prayers."

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