SCOTT A. ZELLEM, LCDR, USN

From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Scott Zellem '91

Date of birth: March 10, 1969

Date of death: August 10, 2004

Age: 35

Obituary

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From the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on September 8, 2004:

Lieutenant Commander Scott Zellem, a native of Indiana, Pennsylvania, who died August 10, 2004, while on a training flight in southeast Japan, was buried yesterday with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.

Commander Zellem, 35, was one of four Navy personnel who died when their S-3B Viking surveillance aircraft crashed on the island of Kita Iwo Jima during operations from the aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis.

He was a pilot with the California-based Sea Control Squadron VS-35, the unit that on May 1, 2003, flew President Bush onto the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln, where the president told the nation that major combat in Iraq was over. The squadron's commander, John Lussier, piloted the S-3B that carried Bush.

Commander Zellem graduated from Indiana High School in 1987 and from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1991, and received his Naval aviation wings at Pensacola, Fla., in 1992.

He excelled in football in high school and at the Naval Academy.

After graduation from the academy, he flew the A-6 Intruder and S-3B Viking from several aircraft carriers, including USS Independence, USS Abraham Lincoln and USS John C. Stennis.

He had more than 540 carrier landings during his career and flew several combat missions in 2003 as part of Operation Iraqi Freedom, for which he was awarded an Air Medal.

In addition to yesterday's ceremony at Arlington, Lt. Cmdr. Zellem has been honored on several other occasions since his death.

On August 15, 2004, Navy S-3B Viking jets flew in the missing man formation over Stennis as a 21-gun salute sounded across the carrier's flight deck during a memorial service for Commander Zellem and the other three aviators.

Michael Minich, co-owner of Bowser-Minich Funeral Home in Indiana, Pennsylvania, which handled the arrangements, said there have been several memorial services, but no local service is planned.

Commander Zellem's mother is Sally London Zellem of Indiana, longtime director of the local American Red Cross chapter.

In addition to his mother, he is survived by his wife, Jennifer Zellem, and their son, Tanner, both of San Diego; his father, Theodore F. Zellem of Charlottesville, Virginia.; a brother, Edward Zellem of Dahlgren, Virginia; and a sister, Millie Cathcart, also of Charlottesville.

Remembrances

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From the Naval Academy Alumni Association's updated "In Memoriam" page:

He always said to me, 'I cannot believe I get paid to do this!' Jennifer Zellem


Class of 1991

Scott is one of 10 members of the Class of 1991 in Memorial Hall.