By Mary O’KEEFE
Travis Scott is enjoying a few more days of his hometown holiday before heading back to U.S. Marine training in Hawaii. From there he doesn’t know where he will be sent but after two tours in Afghanistan he is ready for wherever they send him.
Scott is a 2008 Crescenta Valley High School graduate. He was home in July 2010 and was the featured speaker at the Crescenta Valley Fireworks celebration. He had already had one Afghanistan tour under his belt and was ready for to go for his second.
In July 2010, the first thing he wanted to do was go to breakfast at Rocky Cola. This time, after landing at a military base in Hawaii on Thanksgiving Day then coming home to La Crescenta, he wasn’t so much in a rush.
“This time I was slow. It was the second morning [after I was home],” Scott said.
Rocky Cola on Honolulu Avenue was a reminder of home and American food, he said.
Home is far away from where he has been. Scott was in Afghanistan where he and his unit searched for Improvised Explosive Devices (IED).
“I was pretty lucky. I had a lot of close calls this time around,” he said.
He spoke of finding an IED pressure plate in homes that they were searching, and how the Marine before him had pulled a wire away from the plate without seeing it. The IEDs are roadside, in the middle of the desert and in homes. His unit found many of them.
This tour was different than the last trip to Afghanistan. Although troops are moving out, there are still many U.S. soldiers still on the ground. Scott’s unit worked closely with the Afghan National Army (ANA).
He added he had a feeling of accomplishment this time after his tour because the ANA was taking over.
“[It feels that we] are one step closer to all the troops leaving,” he said.
Scott enjoyed history when he was at CVHS and he appreciates Afghanistan’s ancient roots.
“There was a wall that surrounded a hill that the locals told us was around during Alexander the Great’s time,” he said.
Although he saw a lot in his first tour, the second one has taken a toll.
“I get very uptight and tense. I don’t sleep all that much,” he said.
With what he has seen and what he has experienced it is difficult to fall back into everyday life. He said each day he is home it gets easier, but he returns to Hawaii on Sunday for training.
“I know a lot of people will go to counselors and talk, but I think it is better to talk to someone who has been there, at the same time,” he said.
His father David is a former Marine who served from 1979 through 1982 and was deployed for Desert Storm. Scott said he does talk to his dad about what he has been through but that each service time is different.
Scott has joined the American Legion 288 and Veterans of Foreign Wars 1614 where he can speak to others who served during the same time. While he was at home during this leave, he attended the USO Canteen fundraiser for the Two Strike Park War Memorial.
He said he was glad that a memorial was being built.
“I think it makes all the difference in the world. It shows more respect for people who aren’t named, like the Unknown Soldier; you may not have known his [or her] name. He [or she] may have just gone [to serve] and never come back,” he said.
Scott has one year and nine months left on his service contract. He thinks about his future, but considers it still a long way off.
“Honestly, I don’t see myself in the civilian work [world],” he said.
He is caught in the dilemma of wanting to get as far away from the military life he now knows but then hesitates because it is the only thing he knows.
He and his fellow Marines talk about what they would do if they had to do it all over again.
“Sometimes I want to get away,” he said. “But I love doing my job and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world.”