By Sgt.1st Class Aaron Rognstad
1st Space Brigade
Email, electric cars, unmanned aerial vehicles: all of these things did not exist when Lt. Col. Scott P. Nos began his military career more than 40 years ago. Now, as he hangs up his uniform for the last time, he can reflect back on all that has changed from his perch with the unit leading the way in space and missile defense.
As the plans and operations officer (S3) at 1st Space Brigade, U.S. Space and Missile Defense Command, 36 years of combined enlisted and commissioned service in both the Navy and Army came to an end at a retirement ceremony Feb. 19 at Peterson Air Force Base, Colorado. Nos is now a civilian.
“He’s got a lot of respect, and he’s a guy I admire,” said Col. Eric D. Little, commander, USASMDC/Army Forces Strategic Command, when speaking of Nos at his retirement ceremony. “What I will tell you, and what you will see is a truly remarkable career.”
It all began in 1979 when a gallon of gas was under 75 cents and home interest rates were as high as 12.9 percent, said Nos in his retirement ceremony speech. He’d graduated from high school the year before in Medina, Ohio, wasn’t quite ready to go to college, but wanted to see the world, so he joined the Navy.
Upon graduation from Navy boot camp in Orlando, Florida, Nos became a machinist mate and was trained to work on propulsion equipment. Before he received the opportunity to do so though, he was selected for an officer preparation program in San Diego, and subsequently received a Reserve Officer’s Training Corps (ROTC) scholarship at Miami University in Ohio.
Nos was on-track to graduate and commission as an ensign, but ran into a few speed bumps his senior year and went back into the enlisted Navy this time around as a sonar technician.
“I realized the mistakes I made and wanted to make sure I did everything I could to make myself marketable to be an officer again,” Nos said. “Submarines were the crem-de-la-crem of the Navy at the time, so I chose sonar tech on them and got assigned to the USS Ohio.”
Nos said submarine duty was unique and interesting. Working in close quarters with 158 fellow Sailors at times 90 days out at sea, was an experience he got a lot out of. He enjoyed his two years on the Ohio, but kept his eyes on the prize and pushed on to get his commission.
In January 1988 he pinned on ensign after graduating from officer candidate school (OCS) in Pensacola, Florida. He then became a navigator in P3 Orions, which ironically is an anti-submarine warfare aircraft.
Nos had gone from being underwater to soaring in the clouds within two years and was now in the second decade of his Naval career. He got stationed on the USS Kitty Hawk and performed duties as officer-of-the-deck, representing the captain of the ship while underway. Nos enjoyed watching aircraft launch and land on its deck – one of the highlights of his career.
He’d traveled all around the South Pacific visiting exotic tropical countries, then was stationed in the polar opposite climate in Iceland at the Anti-Submarine Warfare Operations Center for a year-and-a-half where he took part in numerous exercises with NATO partner countries.
But something was missing though. Nos felt as if there needed to be more of a purpose to life and heeded a higher calling. This came in the form of Christ and he became a born-again Christian prior to getting out of the Navy.
“This was the most important decision of my life to be able to have Christ as my focus,” Nos said. “It’s not an easy task to be a Christian, but it’s one of those things that’s truly life-changing.”
Nos admits to his Navy days being more socially driven than professionally and partied a lot while seeing the world he said in his retirement speech. A break-in-service was something he needed, so he took six years off working in construction and various jobs in Wisconsin.
But he missed the military.
“The camaraderie in the military is something you don’t get with civilian jobs,” Nos said. “If you don’t appreciate it, you will when you get out because it’s just something you can’t trade for anything. You’re putting your life into your fellow Sailor’s or Soldier’s hands and there’s just something that is engrained into your psyche that these people are looking out for you, and that’s probably the biggest take-away of my entire career.”
Nos wasn’t finished serving. The Army came calling in 2006. Through the Army’s direct deployment program, Nos became a captain in the Army Reserve and branched as a combat engineer. Within nine months he’d be in Iraq at a detainee facility near the Kuwaiti border.
“It was a little bit of a steep learning curve,” Nos said. “I didn’t get a whole of time to learn the Army culture, but any officer worth their weight should catch on with some time, which fortunately I was able to do.”
Nos was in charge of construction projects at Camp Bucca, Iraq, which housed some 25,000 prisoners in 2007 when he was there. He also deployed to Bagram Air Base, Afghanistan, in 2011 with a brigade engineer team supervising construction throughout Afghanistan.
His introduction into Army Space came by way of the Space Enabler Course in 2011 – the Army’s intro to space class when he was still in the Reserve.
He was then selected to the active guard reserve (AGR) in 2010 and took a position with the 411th Engineer Brigade. He then served three years as chief of operations with the 416th Theater Engineer Command. Nos then took a position with 1st Space Brigade and was there for four years until his retirement. He credits his time in Army Space as being a great way to round out his career while learning about the facets of the complicated world of satellite communication, missile defense and warning.
“I loved the technical aspect of it,” Nos said of his time in USASMDC. “It was interesting to learn how things work in space and the inherent difficulties of putting up satellites and utilizing the payloads that are associated with them, while understanding how all the different mission areas can utilize the space products that are available to them.”
Nos said he will miss the military, but is ready to take some time off. Trips to Europe and abroad, and volunteer work in the Colorado Springs area are on his to-do list.
“I’ve had quite an interesting career with my 36 years of military service,” Nos said. “It’s been absolutely wonderful. God has put the right people in my life to help me along in my career. And it’s because of these smart, caring people, that I succeeded.”
Nos’ final words in his retirement ceremony speech emphasized the need to foster the relationships with those close to you.
“My recommendation as I say farewell, is cultivate those relationships,” Nos said as he teared up. “Don’t take them for granted, and just love each other.”