CAP (Combat Air Patrol) Navy Commander John C. “Kit” Scull was killed in a plane crash during a mission over the Mediterranean Sea in November 1983 after the terrorist attack on the Marines in Lebanon. He left behind a wife, their 20-month old son, a mother and brother in Newport News, scores of friends and colleagues all over the world, and a stunned community that had just lost one of its finest native sons. Seven years later, five of his lifelong friends and his family established a memorial to honor “Kit’s” memory and perpetuate his many fine qualities. The John Corson Scull Memorial Endowment Fund at Hampton Roads Academy is an endowment memorial to help deserving students.
Kit was born in 1946, grew up in Brandon Heights and attended Hilton Elementary School. Kit was active in scouting. After finishing the Cub Scouts, he joined Troop 41 as a Boy Scout and earned its highest rank of Eagle Scout. He was an avid sailor and scuba diving enthusiast and very much enjoyed his workshop and wood making activities.
When HRA first opened in 1959, Kit entered the eighth grade and spent his next five years at HRA. After graduating from HRA in 1964, Kit entered Duke University and graduated in 1969 with a degree in Mechanical Engineering. After Duke, Kit was commissioned as an ensign in the Navy and in 1970 he received his wings as a Naval Flight Officer.
Kit’s 14 years of military service were distinguished ones in which he continued to exhibit strong leadership skills and a high ethical standard that was respected by many. The following quote summarizes Kit’s career as recalled by his skipper, CMDR John Burch:
“His career was steeped in all the traditional tapestry associated with carrier aviation. The USS John F. Kennedy played an important part in Belly’s career. (“Belly” was the name by which his squadron mates knew him.) He had accumulated over 700 arrested landings aboard Big John. His technical expertise was unequalled. I just recently had the pleasure to strongly endorse John’s official request to the Chief of Navy Military Personnel for John’s entrance into the NASA Space Shuttle Program. “Belly’s” exemplary professional Naval career did not stop him from being an outstanding leader in the civic organizations in Virginia Beach. His work with the local police force and other social organizations were instrumental in fostering good relations between the military and civilian communities within the Tidewater area. “Belly” died serving his country. His legacy will live on. The people he touched in life are better because of his association.”