Faces From the Front for December 7, 2009 - Capt. Scott Eden
Current Unit: I-Corps, Joint Fires & Effects Cell, Deployed as Multinational Corps-Iraq
Current Position: Field Artillery Officer
Component: Active Army
Current Location: Iraq
Hometown: Lake Elsinore, Calif.
Years of Service: 4
When Army takes the field this weekend in the annual Army-Navy college football match-up, Soldiers stationed throughout the world will gather around televisions to cheer on the young cadets who may soon be joining them on the battlefield. Former West Point football player Capt. Scott Eden experienced the transition from playing field to battlefield first hand, and now deployed to Baghdad finds himself applying many of those lessons daily.
Eden played running back, defensive back, wide receiver and strong safety while at the United States Military Academy at West Point. His adaptability and utility at so many positions led to one to the team's lineman nicknaming him "Spork."
"He said you don't actually know what it's made for, but it's good for a lot of things," Eden said.
Cafeteria flatware aside, Eden has continued to maintain a reputation for raising the bar of what his superiors could expect and demand of him. On his first deployment, Eden was awarded a Bronze Star Medal for taking on multiple leadership roles outside of what he had been originally assigned to and far outperforming everyone's expectations. During the course of the deployment, Eden operated as the Company Fire Support Officer, Headquarters Platoon Leader, the IP Chief advisor for one of the local police force in the company's area of operations, in addition to handling all of the company's Air Support Assets, and functioning as the company intelligence officer.
"In the end I didn't do anything more extraordinary than what every other lieutenant or platoon leader was doing at the time" Eden said. "It was, and still is a different kind of fight than what the traditional Army is set up to fight. Everyone was asked to expand their job descriptions well beyond their job titles."
The oldest of six children, Eden knows well the importance and value of operating as a team. Even though he hadn't set out to have a career in the military, Eden says his high school football coach at Temescal Canyon High School in Lake Elsinore, Calif. was the one who recognized his natural abilities and encouraged him to go to West Point.
"West Point sent my coach a letter wanting to recruit me for football," Eden said. "He asked me about it, but the military had never really seemed like an option for me so I told him I was not interested."
Eden's coach thought West Point was a clear match for him and sent them back his information telling them he was interested.
"Low and behold I agreed to a trip and immediately bought in to everything that West Point was about," said Eden. "Coach Burt changed the course of my life by seeing something in me that I did not see in myself, and for that I will be forever grateful. That's just one example of the kind of amazing people I have been blessed to have in my life, and knowing I have such a strong support net to fall back on has provided more comfort than I could have ever imagined."
It will be 10:30 p.m. at Camp Victory when Eden and his fellow Soldiers watch the game via the Armed Forces Network. Eden knows that some of the same cadets he will watch take the field could very likely be under his leadership in the next year. Unlike other major college match ups, these players won't be interviewing agents and participating in combines hoping to be spotted by an NFL scout, but instead will be preparing to accept their commissions as officers and head out into the field.
Eden will return from his deployment to Fort Lewis in the spring and hopes to get his company command at that time. He's looking forward to returning to his wife Cassi and spending time with the family and friends who have supported him.