Senior Cadet Killed by Lightning Strike


Scott M. Manly

Cadet First Class Scott M. Manly, Class of 1988, was killed instantly by lightning while leading a back-packing group of Boy Scouts at Philmont Scout Ranch in Cimarron, N.M. on Aug. 2, 1987. Fittingly, it was at Philmont as a Boy Scout himself in 1980 that Scott first identified as a life’s goal becoming a cadet at the U.S. Air Force Academy.

The son of Dr. and Mrs. David E. Manly of Geneseo, N.Y., Scott was born on Feb 5, 1966 and attained his schooling there. At his graduation from Geneseo Central School in June of 1984, Scott was honored as valedictorian of his class and as a National Merit Scholarship finalist. In scouting, which was equal in his list of priorities to his academic achievements, he was a Life Scout and recipient of the Order of the Arrow.

During his years at the Air Force Academy where he majored in aeronautical engineering, he maintained a near-perfect A average in his major and participated in a variety of intra-Academy sports, including soccer and volleyball, both of which he played with real enthusiasm, if not the greatest skill coordination.

At the memorial service celebrating Scott Manly’s life, his father, in a farewell letter to his son, spoke of Scott, the American, whose lover for his country was significantly “Signed, sealed, and delivered the day he committed himself to a live of service to his country in the Air Force, and to the flag that symbolically was draped across his casket.” Dr. Manly also made reference to Scott, the Academy cadet, who successfully proved to his superiors and to himself his ability to “beast it out” through his doolie year and proceed with ever-increasing enthusiasm, pride, and accomplishment to his final, and best, designation as a cadet: First Class.

A memorial fund in Scott Manly’s honor has been established and donations may be sent to the Scott M. Manly Memorial Fund, Association of Graduates, U.S. Air Force Academy, Colo. 80840-5000. Scott is survived not only by his parents, but also by his sister, Kathleen; by his maternal grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Percy MacVean; and by a wealth of friends and other whose lives he affected positively and significantly during his brief, bit vital, lifetime.