The carnage looked like something Scott Heise had seen in a history textbook when he was in school, an image of destruction from World War I that stuck with him into adulthood. This wasn’t a photo, though.
This was Bosnia in 1996 — the aftermath of a civil war and a country divided on religious and ethnic principles.
Muslims, Serbs and Croatians in Bosnia were fighting for control of what was once Yugoslavia. Scott, like many American soldiers, was sent over as a peacekeeping mission after a delicate cease-fire was reached between the groups. Still, this was a country recovering from war and the genocide of more than 8,000 Muslims.
During a short stint at the U.S. Embassy in Sarajevo, two individuals supporting embassy activities offered him a tour of the front lines of the war. One was a Bosnian Muslim. The other was a Bosnian Serb. They were supposed to be sworn enemies, but the Serb had switched to the side of the Muslims.
“Many of the soldiers from the different factions I’d met as part of my operations around the country had been life-long friends before the war, but during the war, they had become sworn enemies, fighting for their respective ethnic backgrounds,” Scott said.
He remembers going into the towns and only seeing women because the men had all died in the war.
Bosnia isn’t the only war-torn country Scott has been to. He’s also spent time in numerous locations across the middle east and Pacific Rim. His military record shows just how devoted he is to serving his country. Now, although he has retired from the Army, Scott still works to help soldiers as part of the AEgis Technologies team.
His Father’s Footsteps
Scott’s dad didn’t talk about his own service much. As a World War II veteran, he spent most of his time in India, and once he returned home, he refused to ever eat rice again. Scott jokes that his dad must have had his fill of rice during his time overseas. His father was a tough man, but he did occasionally let his son see a softer side, the side that was still inspired by the beauty of the world.
“As a child, I can remember him occasionally showing me a picture of himself in front of the Taj Mahal. And even as a child, I knew the Taj Mahal was a very exotic place in a far-away land,” Scott said.
Scott is the youngest of seven children, and one of two who went into the military — he has one sister who joined the Army. He knew from a young age he wanted to follow in his father’s footsteps, so Scott worked for and earned an ROTC scholarship right out of high school.
After graduating from the University of Louisville, Scott was stationed in Fort Carson, Colorado.
That turned out to be a godsend, though, because he met his wife there. The two went on to have two children, both of whom got the chance to live overseas as military children.
“I think growing up as military kids forced my children to more responsibility at (a) younger age because they had to learn to be more self-sufficient than your average child,” Scott said.
He brags on all of them now — his daughter has two gymnastics national championship titles with a marketing degree, his son is a mechanical engineer, and his wife went back to nursing school in her late 30s, eventually landing a job in the intensive care unit where she has earned the respect of doctors and nurses alike.
Scott started his career as an Armor officer before moving on to be a Military Intelligence officer. He quickly moved up through the ranks, eventually being assigned as an intelligence officer with an aviation brigade in Germany.
“I was initially apprehensive having to learn intelligence operations related to Army aviation operations, but my ground experience was invaluable toward helping quickly learn air operations and tactics,” Scott said. “Basically aviation operations are very similar to ground operations but on (a) much larger and more expansive scale.”
Supporting aviation operations afforded Scott the opportunity to fly extensively around Germany, albeit as a passenger.
“On numerous occasions, while flying over Germany and Bosnia, I felt like I should (be) paying someone for the opportunity to routinely fly over such beautiful countryside,” Scott said. “Seeing the beauty of Germany was mesmerizing — especially from the air.”
It was while he was working in Germany that he got to see the horror going on in Bosnia. Scott said one of the most sobering moments was when he saw just how close the war was to some of the most beautiful places in the world like Venice, Trieste and Budapest.
Although some of the assignments were hard, and some days were harder than others, Scott loved his time in service where he got to form relationships and deep friendships with people from different cultures.
“I’d describe myself as an introverted-extrovert; the military profession encourages and forces you to become an extrovert because the military is (a) people-centric business,” Scott said. “Every day is filled with new challenges and peoples of diverse backgrounds working toward a common goal.”
Helping people solve problems and challenges is a passion for him.
Transitioning to AEgis
Even before his retirement, Scott thought about going to work at AEgis when his time in the Army was over. In 2005, he worked with some people from AEgis while he was in South Korea, noting that every person from that company was “positive, respectful and a subject matter expert on their portion of the project.”
Earlier this year, that idea came to fruition when Scott was hired by AEgis as a site lead in Kuwait.
“Working for AEgis and supporting the Army in Kuwait is rewarding; the job puts me back in contact with soldiers, and I know my efforts make a difference,” Scott said.
AEgis has a glowing reputation for their commitment to veterans. The technology they develop works to train soldiers for combat situations long before they ever have to go into action.
The company also has a philanthropic arm that gives money regularly to Wounded Warrior Project and other groups that support veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder.
Whether they’re working to prepare soldiers before they go to war, helping them while they’re serving in places like Kuwait, or getting them the help they need when they get back, AEgis is committed to keeping all our troops safe, healthy and happy.
The Community Journal wants to thank Scott for his service to the country and AEgis Technologies for its dedication to our troops.
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