Lieutenant Commander Scott Allen Zellem was one of four Navy officers killed on August 10, 2004 when their S-3B Viking surveillance aircraft crashed on the island of Kito Iwo Jima while conducting flight operations from the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis.  Also killed in the crash were Lieutenant Patrick Myrick, Lieutenant James Pupplo, and Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Joshua Showalter.  LCDR Zellem, a 1991 graduate from the Naval Academy, had been a pilot in the Navy for 13 years.  In 2003 he as one of the flight officers aboard one of the Navy S-3B Vikings that carried President George W. Bush to the USS Abraham Lincoln; where the president addressed the nation following the fall of Saddam Hussein in Iraq.  It was, according to his brother, one of the high points of his career.

Rod Ruddock, the retired school principal of Zellem’s alma mater, Indiana High School, said of the late lieutenant, “It was his charisma, his spirit and his belief in his country.  I wanted someone closer in age to speak to our students.  I could not think of a better representative than Scott.”

Lieutenant Commander Zellem had more than 540 carrier landings during his career and flew several combat missions in 2003 in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom, for which he was awarded an Air Medal.  He is survived by his father, brother, and sister, as well as his wife and son, Tanner.

“There will be some tough and scary times ahead in the near future.  When they happen, be tough, be brave and remember you are an American and ready to fight for your freedom as veterans have before you.  If you are afraid or you run and stick your head in the sand, the bad guys win.  And that is unacceptable.” – LCDR Scott Zellem in a Veterans’ Day speech.

LCDR Zellem was honored through the Travis Manion Foundation Character Does Matter Program presented at the USNA Summer Seminar and USNA STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Technology) Camp for rising 11th graders.

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