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Scott file photo [977]

Norman Scott

Given NameNorman
Born10 Aug 1889
Died13 Nov 1942
CountryUnited States


ww2dbaseNorman Scott was born in Indianapolis, Indiana, United States. He was appointed to the Naval Academy in 1907 and graduated four years later. After serving aboard battleship Idaho and several destroyers, he entered WW1 as the executive officer of destroyer Jacob Jones. In Dec 1917, the destroyer was sunk by a German submarine, and Scott was transferred to the Navy Department as Naval Aide to President Woodrow Wilson. In 1919, he commanded a division of Eagle Boats.

ww2dbaseDuring the inter-war years, Scott had both extensive sea-going experience as well as land duties. He took part in the naval mission to Brazil in 1937-1939 aboard light cruiser Cincinnati. When the United States entered WW2 in Dec 1941, Scott held the rank of captain.

ww2dbaseDuring the first months of 1942 Scott was assigned to the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations. In May, he was given the war time rank of rear admiral and was sent to the South Pacific. In that role, he supported the invasion of Guadalcanal and Tulagi in Aug 1942. In Oct 1942, during the Battle of Cape Esperance, he could not determine whether the blips on the radar screen were his own destroyers or Japanese ships. Furthermore, he was involved in an episode of miscommunication in which he mistakenly gave the go-ahead for his ships to open fire on the Japanese before he was ready; he tried to stop the firing a minute later, and then ordered to resume firing four minutes after the ceasefire order, all of which created confusion. Luck, however, remained on his side, thus he secured a small tactical victory at the Battle of Cape Esperance. The victory made him a hero in the theater. A month later, in the early hours of 13 Nov 1942, his ship cruiser USS Atlanta was struck by enemy shells near the bridge, which took his life. Atlanta eventually sank. Scott was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor. The citation read as follows:

For extraordinary heroism and conspicuous intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty during action against enemy Japanese forces off Savo Island on the night of 11-12 October and again on the night of 12-13 November 1942. In the earlier action, intercepting a Japanese Task Force intent upon storming our island positions and landing reinforcements at Guadalcanal, Rear Adm. Scott, with courageous skill and superb coordination of the units under his command, destroyed 8 hostile vessels and put the others to flight. Again challenged, a month later, by the return of a stubborn and persistent foe, he led his force into a desperate battle against tremendous odds, directing close-range operations against the invading enemy until he himself was killed in the furious bombardment by their superior firepower. On each of these occasions his dauntless initiative, inspiring leadership and judicious foresight in a crisis of grave responsibility contributed decisively to the rout of a powerful invasion fleet and to the consequent frustration of a formidable Japanese offensive. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.

Samuel Eliot Morison, Struggle for Guadalcanal
US Navy, Naval History and Heritage Command

Last Major Revision: Mar 2006

Norman Scott Timeline

10 Aug 1889 Norman Scott was born.
13 Nov 1942 Norman Scott passed away.


Norman Scott and other US Navy officers, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Aug 1938Scott and other officers, Rio de Janeiro, 24 Feb 1939
See all 3 photographs of Norman Scott

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Visitor Submitted Comments

1. Wayne VanDerVoort says:
22 Jan 2007 12:48:28 PM

The navy built a (fletcher) destroyer USS Norman Scott DD in 1943 named after the Admiral Norman Scott. The destroyer later became quit famous. The navy made a documentary called This is America - Navy Yard after she was attacked at Tinian on July 24, 1944. Later in the War the Norman Scott was 1 of 6 surface ships first to bomb the Japanese homeland on July 15, 1945.
2. Tim says:
12 Dec 2009 12:35:33 PM

I knew Admiral Scott's son, His name was also Norman. I was working on his house in Sonoma CA doing electrical work. I saw all of these cool pictures from WWII and asked Norman about them. One picture that stays with me is of Admiral Scott, his son Norman and FDR. Norman Scott II was a fighter pilot in the Air Force and loved fast cars. I loved talking to him and hearing stories he would tell. He passed away 2005 but he touched my life and I will never forget him. He made you feel like His best friend.
3. Wayne Scott says:
20 Oct 2016 12:50:59 PM

Mr. Chen's article does not match what I have read about Norman Scott, nor does it square with the Medal of Honor Citation included above. Scott was a very skillful commander and brave, very brave.

He sank 8 Japanese ships at Cape Esperance, which was reportedly the first time the Japanese had ever been defeated in a purely naval engagement.

In the larger engagement a month later, a night fight, he sailed his ship directly into the middle of the Japanese fleet and opened fire point blank. He was hit by return fire from the surrounding ships, but he stopped the invasion.

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More on Norman Scott
Event(s) Participated:
» Guadalcanal Campaign

Ship(s) Served:
» Atlanta

Norman Scott Photo Gallery
Norman Scott and other US Navy officers, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Aug 1938Scott and other officers, Rio de Janeiro, 24 Feb 1939
See all 3 photographs of Norman Scott

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