Thomas D. Scofield

NO. 17684  •  22 Dec 1962

Died in Montgomery, AL
Interred in Peaceful Acres, Opp, AL

Thomas David Scofield grew up in a small town in the heart of Dixie known as Opp, AL and was the only son of John Dewey Scofield and Julia Carroll Tyson Scofield. David was also big brother to sisters Monica, Harriet, and Deborah.

From an early age, David had high aspirations for himself: he planned to attend the United States Military Academy with the ultimate goal of becoming a pilot in the United States Air Force. When the family determined that it would be extremely difficult for him to obtain an appointment to West Point through traditional means, David’s parents moved heaven and earth to send him to Marion Military Institute in order to improve his chances of admission. Following graduation from the accelerated program at Marion, David enrolled in the U.S. Navy V-5 Training Program, jointly run at Emory University and Georgia Tech, while he continued to pursue an appointment to West Point.

While at Emory, David was a member of Phi Delta Theta fraternity. In the summer after his freshman year at Emory, he attended Navy training in both Brooklyn, NY and Great Lakes, IL. When word came of the appointment to West Point, David was overjoyed and more than happy to put his Navy experiences behind him. It was with great joy that he enrolled as a plebe at West Point in the summer of 1946.

David graduated from the United States Military Academy at West Point on June 1, 1950 and was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Air Force. He completed pilot training in August of 1951 and was married shortly thereafter to the lovely Barbara Brooks Rushing of Samson, AL, who died in 2014. Three months into their marriage, David was deployed to a duty station in Korea. While in Korea, he shared his billet with best friend and classmate, William Slade.

During his short lifetime, David was the recipient of the Distinguished Flying Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Force Commendation Medal, the Commendation Medal, the American Campaign Medal, and the World War II Victory Medal.

David particularly enjoyed his assignment to England and RAF Chivener as squadron leader. In addition, General Thomas Gerrity was of significant influence on David and his family. David served as his aide de camp and was with General Gerrity in Oklahoma City, OK when Tinker Air Force Base opened. Following this assignment, David was transferred to Wright Patterson in order to pursue an MBA at Indiana University, Bloomington. During his time there, David began to experience seizures and was initially diagnosed with a seizure disorder. With this diagnosis David lost his flying privileges. This was one of the most difficult aspects of his illness since, other than family, flying was the great love of his life. David persevered through great physical challenges to obtain his MBA in management and to graduate with honors from IU. Shortly thereafter he achieved the rank of major.

Eventually, David was correctly diagnosed with a brain tumor and was retired from active duty in May of 1962 after being assigned to Patrick Air Force Base in Cape Canaveral, FL, where he worked on the Apollo Space Project. David’s hobbies included fly fishing and reading. Also, wherever they were stationed, he and his family were active in the Baptist Church. In his last posting, he enjoyed teaching young boys in the RA Program at Cocoa Baptist Church.

David underwent extensive treatment for his cancer at Walter Reed and Maxwell Air Force Base Hospitals, including surgery, and succumbed to his illness on December 22, 1962 at Maxwell Air Force Base, Montgomery, AL. He was buried with full military honors at Peaceful Acres in his hometown of Opp, AL on December 24, 1962. He was survived by his three daughters: Bettye Kathryn Scofield, Cynthia Irene Scofield, and Julia Louise Scofield.

David’s legacy of love for Duty, Honor, Country has been a seminal influence in the lives of his daughters to this day.