Life Doesn’t Always Follow Your Plan
Scott Schroeder grew up in the typical fashion in Ft Wayne, Indiana. He was athletic and participated in many high
school sports. He enjoyed literature as well. He was on that classic American trail of growing up, getting an education,
and becoming an adult. Then things changed.
At 20, Scott decided that he would enlist in the Army for Three years, it gave Scott a new perspective which led him to
a career in the Special Forces. Along with him for that change was Laura. Over the years, Scott rose through the ranks
and became a Master Sergeant, which is the point at which many men begin to look at retiring. Not Scott. In 2004,
he made the choice to change again and went to Warrant Officer School. In 2005, he pinned on the rank of WO1.
Scott loves the Army and Special Forces, but he recognizes that a career in Special Forces is similar to a career in
professional sports. It can be great while it lasts, but it won’t last forever.
no one ever expects to have your number pulled. That always happens to the ‘other’ guy. But, ours did,
and we couldn’t have successfully pulled through this without all of you out there,” wrote Laura after their homecoming
gathering in July of this year.
That sentiment of not having your number pulled is an almost universal thought among SOF operators at all levels. That
is part of what enables operators to continue to execute mission after mission after mission. Scott’s number was pulled
on December 10, 2010. While he was on a mission to conduct Village Stability Operations, his vehicle struck a pressure
plate that detonated an IED right beneath him. Interestingly enough, Schroeder’s vehicle wasn’t the first one in the
column, but the sixth.
The explosion caused such damage to Scott’s body that both of his legs were amputated in the field above the knee and
his right arm was severely mangled by fractures, tissue loss, and shrapnel. When he was finally stabilized, he was
evacuated back to Walter Reed to begin his recovery. Laura and their son, Zach, along with Scott’s parents met Scott
at his bedside where he began his work toward recovery. His first five months were filled with surgery after surgery
(over 30 and still counting) to salvage his arm and stabilize his amputated legs. Problems with infections and
medications slowed down his recovery process in addition to the problem of not being able to practice with his
prosthetic legs due to the possibility of falling and further damaging his arm.
As Scott’s recovery progressed, he was changed to out-patient status. He and Laura were able to move into an apartment
provided by SOCOM that was a few minutes’ drive away from the hospital. Laura wrote, “Though it wasn’t ‘home’, it
was refreshing to say ‘good-bye’ to five months of hotel living.”
Improvements continued, and Scott began to regain some independence. That allowed Laura to begin thinking about
some changes of her own. She began to pursue a Masters’ Degree in Landscape Architecture at Morgan State University
in Baltimore. She will complete her degree at the end of this year.
A major motivating factor for Scott has been his desire to return to his home in Tennessee; something that he made
into a reality this past June. He has stopped using his wheelchair, and now opts for his prosthetics and a walker,
but insists that he will stop using the walker very soon. Scott will continue to have corrective surgeries on his
arm to improve his mobility and usage.
What lies ahead for CW3 Scott Schroeder and his family is unknown. What is inevitable is that life will continue to
change. Scott wrote, “I am not quite ready to start making new plans. I am going to continue moving ahead and looking
at options until I find something I truly enjoy.”