Scott Hickerson is a former Green Beret with over 25 years of military service, 23 years spent in Special Operations units. Having spent the first portion of his career in the 75th Ranger Regiment, followed by 13 years as a Green Beret—a role as Veterans Services Officer (VSO) with the Green Beret Foundation feels like a natural progression to him.
“During my time in the Ranger Regiment,” Scott says, “I was involved in a lot of high energy, highly kinetic nighttime raids. When it came to the point in my career where they wanted me to move into a leadership role, I wanted to keep flying on those helos every night, and I didn’t believe I could be as much of an asset in the office at that time.”
Moving from the Ranger Regiment to Special Forces kept things busy and kept me in the direct fight. “Every generation of warriors wants to be tested and wants their war; when the GWOT fell upon our shoulders, it was our generation’s defining moment. We were called upon to dig deep and decide who we were going to be.” As a Green Beret, Scott served as Special Forces Weapons Sergeant (18B), Intelligence Sergeant (18F), and Operations Sergeant (18Z) at 7th SFG; he also served as a First Sergeant for over 20 months at the Special Warfare Medical Group (Airborne), served 36 months of SF ODA Team Sergeant time, and has 10+ years of JTAC experience.
With 80+ months of combat experience under his belt, mentorship of younger Green Berets coming up through the ranks was the next evolution of Scott’s career. “I didn’t want them to have to learn lessons the hard way, as I had. Maybe there were ways of keeping people healthier longer, so that we could keep them in the fight. I embraced a more mentor-like role in the last 6 or 7 years before retiring,” he says.
Post-transition, his desire to demystify the process for other Green Berets has only intensified. “The transition process is daunting, if for no other reason than all of the unknowns,” he says. “You don’t want to let your family down; you’re scared of taking a financial hit by getting out of the military. The VA process is another huge unknown, and there’s potential there for people to just walk away from it for fear of not getting what they deserve.”
Scott likens his new role as VSO to that of the lead swimmer in a river crossing at night: “We send a lead swimmer party over to check the other side, and to tie off a rope for the crossing. I like to think of a Veteran Services Officer as one of those lead swimmers on the team with the rope, and the retirement process as that river at night. The guys on the other side don’t even know how wide the river is or how fast the water is moving, so if I can come back and help ease that process for them, it’s worth it.”
Father of Hayley (22), Slater (16), and Ashton (7), Scott—a former SERE instructor—spends his free time kayaking, camping, traveling, and hiking.