LT Robert Scott “Woody” Wood Jr.

Photo added by Rob Bennett

LT Robert Scott “Woody” Wood Jr.

Birth
Newton, Middlesex County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 25 Oct 1996 (aged 29)
At Sea
Burial Cremated, Ashes scattered, Specifically: Rob's ashes where scattered over the Grand Tetons in Wyoming.
Memorial ID 155761058 View Source
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Robert Scott “Woody” Wood, Jr was born and raised in Massachusetts. Creative and curious about everything mechanical, as a kid he built his own skateboard from a piece of elm found in the woods. An avid lacrosse player, he loved the intensity and physicality of the game. Off the field, he was a sharp student and evidenced an incredible work ethic.

Woody's efforts were rewarded when he gained entrance into the United States Naval Academy. He majored in aeronautical engineering, hoping to fly fighters and one day become a test pilot. As part of his senior project he designed his own aerobatic airplane, a monoplane he called the "Woody Warbler". He graduated with the class of 1990 and received orders to flight school in Pensacola.

Woody did well in flight school, but like many students the "needs of the Navy" meant he got his second choice in aircraft assignment. He accepted the situation by becoming the best helicopter pilot in his squadron, and by purchasing a Pitts Special S-1S aerobatic biplane, N599B.

Fellow students in Pensacola remember Woody for the depth of his aviation knowledge, everything from history to aerodynamics. He drove around a red 1965 Mustang fastback that he kept running despite it's aging driveline. Everyone teased him about how tight he was with money. He had a great sense of humor and loved to tell stories of his childhood, with trips to Wyoming and fishing in Mexico being highlights.

He received his wings of gold in 1993 and went on to serve at HS-15, flying HH-60H and SH-60F Seahawks helicopters from the USS Enterprise. He was a popular junior officer with both his seniors and his peers, quickly achieving every possible qualification. He actively pursued orders to Test Pilot School as his HS-15 sea tour neared it’s end. Ashore, he competed with N599B in aerobatic contests.

In the summer of 1996 HS-15 deployed to the Persian Gulf aboard USS Enterprise. It was Woody’s second cruise and he was due to rotate to shore duty after its completion. He planned to marry in the spring of 1997.

On October 25th, 1996 Woody was killed in a crash of his SH-60 helicopter, along with his co-pilot and one member of the Navy SEAL team riding in the back. Woody was known for pushing the limits of the SH-60, and they were aggressively maneuvering the aircraft for thrills when they hit the water. The surface of the gulf was perfectly calm on the day of the crash and the mirror-like water was a factor. The SEAL team riding in the back had been encouraging the maneuvers and the pilots went too far.

Woody was a perfectionist when it came to flying, a great stick, much admired by other pilots. Unfortunately his abilities and enthusiasm led to a fatal level of overconfidence, both from himself and his squadron leadership. His command overlooked a pattern of thrill seeking flying as they valued his positive impact on squadron esprit de corps and operational readiness.

Over subsequent years the Navy used his story in the training of young pilots as well as new commanding officers. It delivers a powerful case study on the dangers of complacency/overconfidence and the responsibilities of command. His accidental death was an enormous tragedy, but the silver lining is that his story saved lives.

Following memorial services in Jacksonville, FL, Woody’s ashes were scattered from an aircraft flying over the Grand Tetons near Jackson, WY.

Woody left behind a fiancé, as well as his parents, a sister, and numerous friends. His death left a void in many lives that will never heal.

Two of his good friends wrote an obituary for Woody in the Naval Academy alumni magazine. They wrote:
"Looking back at all the memories, we see a common thread; fellowship. When he wasn't testing the limits of laminar flow, all of his favorite things included fellowship. For Rob, the opportunity to commune with his fellow man was gold. People say the thing that he loved most was flying. To us, the thing Rob loved most was us. We salute Rob for the way he lived. He always strove not to be better than others, but to be the best that he could."


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  • Created by: Rob Bennett
  • Added: 6 Dec 2015
  • Find a Grave Memorial 155761058
  • Rob Bennett
  • Find a Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/155761058/robert-scott-wood : accessed ), memorial page for LT Robert Scott “Woody” Wood Jr. (21 Dec 1966–25 Oct 1996), Find a Grave Memorial ID 155761058, ; Maintained by Rob Bennett (contributor 47739657) Cremated, Ashes scattered, who reports a Rob's ashes where scattered over the Grand Tetons in Wyoming..