1943 – 2023: Commemorating 80 years as Don Scott Field

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Don Scott
Don Scott wearing pilot gear in 1941

In 1943 The Ohio State University Airport (KOSU) was named Don Scott Field in honor of former Ohio State student and World War II pilot, Don Scott, who perished during his military service. Now, 80 years later, we commemorate his sacrifice and honor his legacy of service.

Ohio native Don Scott was born in Canton on May 4, 1919. He was an accomplished high school football player, who wielded his skills on Ohio State’s team in the late 1930s and early 1940s. His prowess garnered him accolades as a two-time All-American quarterback, an honorific title given to outstanding college and high school athletes.

Yet, the football turf wasn’t the only field where Scott had success.

While at the university, Scott, an engineering major, participated in the United States Civil Aeronautics Administration’s Civilian Pilot Training Program. The program was instituted to foster private flying, and the university trained hundreds of students in the federal program while it was active.

That pilot training program would prove its importance as World War II – and the need for many pilots – was just on the horizon.

When the war began, Scott opted to serve in the military. His flight training at Ohio State allowed him to enter the U.S. Army Air Forces as a commissioned pilot, flying B-26 aircraft. Sadly, during a training exercise near North Weald, England on October 1, 1943, Scott gave the ultimate sacrifice when he died in an aircraft crash.

KOSU aerial view 1940s
In the 1940s KOSU was used to train World War II pilots. Other university students and aviation enthusiasts also utilized the airfield, which at the time was surrounded by farmland northwest of Columbus.

A month after Scott’s passing, University Trustees named Ohio State’s new airfield Don Scott Field on November 1, 1943. This fitting commemoration honored not only Scott, but also carried on the tradition of Ohio State aviation’s military roots.

Over the years KOSU has recognized Scott in various ways, including with a permanent commemorative display in the terminal and through the annual community-favorite Don Scott Trot: 5K on the Runway. Read more about Don Scott and The Ohio State University Airport history here and enjoy the airport history timeline at this link.

by Holly Henley, communications specialist