PROFILE OF A MUSEUM
Rolf “Sandy” Scovell was born October 25, 1928, in Brussels, Belgium to an American father and an English mother. He came to the United States as a child when Hitler began his bombing raids on the United Kingdom. While attending Western High School in Washington D.C., Rolf attempted to enlist in the Royal Canadian Air Force, but was told to come back after he had finished high school! To satisfy his interest in aviation however, Sandy worked at several private airports during his high school and college years, and eventually earned his commercial pilot’s license. By the time WW II ended, he had joined the Air Force ROTC at the University of Maryland. Graduating as a Second Lieutenant from the university, pilot training became Rolf’s first assignment in the Air Force. He earned his wings as a jet fighter pilot just in time to participate in the Korean War as an F-84 fighter bomber pilot.
After having completed 117 combat missions over North Korea, Rolf returned to the states and was assigned to the Air Defense Command flying F-94C’s, F-102’s, T-33’s, and F-86L aircraft. He eventually became an instructor and test pilot in each of these aircraft. On August 17, 1955, Rolf married his sweetheart, Barbara, in Orlando, Florida. They had two children, Terrill and Scott and now have 4 grandchildren Chris, Tyler, Nate and Laelle.
Rolf volunteered for a Navy exchange tour and spent 18 months with a Navy fighter squadron (VF-62), eleven months of which was on the U.S. Navy Carrier Essex. There he amassed 128 carrier landings in North American FJ-3M fighters. Before completing his tour in the Navy exchange program, Rolf checked out in the F-8U Crusader fighter. When he returned to the Air Force Sandy flew the F-106A Delta Dart, in which he flew over 2,000 hours.
When the Vietnam War broke out, Rolf volunteered to fly Cessna 01-E Birddog aircraft that performed unarmed reconnaissance missions. Rolf’s mission was scanning the countryside looking for infiltrators coming into Vietnam from Laos and Cambodia. Rolf flew over 600 hours during this tour, including several months flying over the southern part of North Vietnam, directing artillery fighters and naval gunfire at targets of opportunity. Upon his return to the United States, Rolf commanded the flight test detachment at McClellan AFB in Sacramento, California where the majority of U.S. Air Force fighters were overhauled or modified. The final four years of Rolf’s military career was spent overseas in Germany and Spain, where Rolf squeezed in enough time to earn a Masters Degree from the Air Force Institute of Technology.
During Rolf’s 30-year Air Force career, he totaled approximately 9,500 flight hours and rose to the rank of Colonel. Rolf was awarded three Distinguished Flying Crosses, eighteen Air Medals, the Bronze Star, the Air Force outstanding unit award, the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry, the Korean and Vietnam Presidential Unit citations plus various other awards. Upon his retirement, Rolf’s friend Frank Cristando, a staff member of the Legion of Valor Museum invited him to visit, where soon afterwards, Rolf signed up to volunteer. Today, Rolf “Sandy” Scovell, is in charge of the museums military library that includes thousands of books and videos. He has categorized each book and video, labeled them, and entered them into the museum’s computer database. Rolf has enjoyed performing his duties for the past five years at the Legion of Valor Museum and looks forward to the years ahead as the museum continues to grow.