Warrior Spotlight: Wisconsin Army National Guard Maj. Scott Southworth

July 31, 2007

Those of you who read brat’s story Where Is The Outrage? about the Iraqi orphans who were discovered living in filthy, deplorable conditions by our Troops, should be pleased when you read this story. Someone else saw that story, too. That someone is a Soldier who had previously been deployed to Iraq, and he watched the news about these children with equal horror. He has decided that he’s going to do something about it. Meet Wisconsin Army National Guard Major Scott Southworth. I imagine, that everyone else who reads his story will walk away with the same sense of pride and gratitude that I have for Soldiers like Major Southworth. This story just emphasizes the compassionate and caring nature of the men and women who are serving our country in our Armed Forces.

Major Scott Southworth

Often when Troops are deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan, they are faced with many challenging and dangerous situations, and yet, these adversities seem to almost always bring out the best in them. Maj. Scott Southworth of the Wisconsin National Guards is one of those warriors.

In September 2003, Maj. Southworth, the commanding officer of the Wisconsin National Guard’s 32nd Military Police Company was deployed to Iraq. His team was responsible for taining local police officer in Northeast Baghdad. During their time there, they faced many challeges, but physically and mentally. Not only were they in a hostile environment, with danger around every corner, but they were battling temperatures in the triple digits and set backs along the way, such as the time a car bomb exploded at one of the police stations that they operated, killing several of the Iraqi police officers they were working with.

The Soldiers of the 32nd Military Police Company all wanted to do something to help the Iraqi orphans, so in addition to their mission, they spent time assisting local orphanages. On one such visit, September 6, 2003, the visited a nearby orphanage. That visit changed Southworth’s life, when a young Iraqi orphan named Ala’a, who was unable to walk due to Cerebral palsy, pulled himself across the floor, straight towards Southworth and greeted him with a smile and a few words in English. That day marked the start of an unbreakable bond between the Soldier from Wisconsin and the Iraqi orphan.

Over the next few months, Southworth returned to the orphanage frequently to visit with Ala’a. Each visit brought them even closer together. Southworth made one last visit to the orphanage as he tour in Iraq drew to an end. He wanted to make a difference in the life of Ala’a and was determined to bring Ala’a to the United States to live with him. He couldn’t bear the thought of never seeing Ala’a again.

He ran into a huge roadblock though. Iraqi law, forbids foreigners from adopting Iraqi children. That roadblock however, didn’t end his quest to bring Ala’a to the United States. Just before he left Iraq, in July 2004, the Iraqi government approved for Southworth to bring Ala’a to the United States for medical care. Southworth returned to Wisconsin and began to navigate the bureaucracy. He finally gained Humanitarian Parole for Ala’a. Ala’a is now in the United States and is now on a path, that seemed unimaginable just a few years before. He is attending school and has made great strides. He’s now fluent in English and learning to read. With the help of doctors and specialists, whom all donated their time, his cerebral palsy is being tackled head on and his making significant progress. He is being taught to walk on a specialized treadmill. His hope is to one day to be able to walk without assistance. He’s growing closer and closer to that goal every day.

Major Southworth & son Ala’a

The things that Southworth has done, don’t end with Ala’a. When the story broke in June 2007 about the orphans in Baghdad who were discovered living in filthy and deplorable conditions, Southworth happened to be watching the news. He recogonzied some of the boys as the very same orphans that he and his team had visited back in 2003. Southworth and two of the Soldiers who’d served with him decided that they were going to do something about these children. Currently, they are working relentlessly to bring the 24 orphans discovered in that orphanage, to the United States.

More than 40 families around the country have offered to host the orphans once they arrive. Southworth and his Soldiers are working to line up doctors and pharmaceutical companies willing to provide, at no cost, the necessary medical care and supplies that these young orphans will need, due to their disibilities.

In his quest to provide these young Iraqi orphans with a chance at a better life, Southworth has dealt tirelessly and persistently with Iraqi and US goverment officials. Currently he is awaiting approval from the Iraqi government to transport the children to the United States. His plans are to ensure that each child is provided with the same care and attention that he’s ensured his son Ala’a has had.

Because of his efforts, in 2005 Southworth was awarded with the US Army’s General MacArthur Leadership award, recognizing his committment to “duty, honor and country.” An award that is very much deserves. His story should be one that’s in the media, world-wide, yet it’s not mentioned, except in the military news. Sad…. isn’t it?

Defenselink, Heroes, July 25, 2007, Vol. 2 Issue 26


16 Responses to “Warrior Spotlight: Wisconsin Army National Guard Maj. Scott Southworth”

  1. University Update - Cerebral Palsy - Warrior Spotlight: Wisconsin Army National Guard Maj. Scott Southworth on July 31st, 2007 6:07 am

    [...] Nile Virus Contact the Webmaster Link to Article cerebral palsy Warrior Spotlight: Wisconsin Army National Guard Maj. Scott Southworth [...]

  2. Tracy on July 31st, 2007 7:10 am

    I am so proud to live in Wisconsin right now!! What a wonderful testament to the compassion of our soldiers! I hope Major Southworth and Al’a have a wonderful life together as father and son!

  3. Terri on July 31st, 2007 7:15 am

    I just think it’s awesome and such a fine example of the compassion and caring nature of our Troops.

  4. CavMom on July 31st, 2007 11:33 am

    That is one of those stories that leave me with a big lump in my throat! Our Troops ROCK!

  5. Terri on July 31st, 2007 1:04 pm

    Yes they certainly DO!!

  6. Twana on August 2nd, 2007 5:33 pm

    The love and kindness I hear about our troops on this site continually lifts up heart and spirit up. I wonder if we will ever know how many children have been blessed by our troops and will forever remember their kindness, love and compassion. Thank you for this site.

  7. Terri on August 2nd, 2007 5:49 pm

    Thank you Twana. I constantly am reminded day after day, of the compassion our Troops have towards the people of Iraq and Afghanistan. Each story like this, causes my heart to swell with pride for them. Our troops are truly the Best of the Best of what America has to offer.

  8. yahoos canucktoll on August 3rd, 2007 11:31 am

    After watching CNN’s video, I’ve googled “Scott and Ala’a” and found this soldiersmind site’s article. Though not gay but just to let you know that I got teary-eyed myself watching and reading. Let this be a sample of new ammu, new approach on how to win endless war -loving kindness.

  9. Terri on August 3rd, 2007 11:43 am

    Major Southworth and Ala’as story is indeed one that deserves a tissue alert. This is the kind of story that the media needs to be telling the world about. This story is just but one example of the wonderful things our Troops are doing.

  10. Rosario on August 3rd, 2007 5:30 pm

    I just saw the Scott and Ala’a video on CNN and was very moved by it. What a beautiful heart and courage that Scott had at such a young age!

  11. A Soldier’s Mind » Let’s Help Maj. Southworth Win The CNN Heroes Award on November 14th, 2007 12:40 pm

    [...] this photo bring back memories? It should, because back in July, this photo was part of a this Warrior Spotlight I featured here, about Maj. Scott Southworth, the commander of the Wisconsin National Guard 32nd MP [...]

  12. Meg on November 18th, 2007 2:00 pm

    Terri -

    Check on the CNN heroes contest (google CNN heroes). Major Southworth is a finalist in a heroes contest. Please vote for him at


  13. Terri on November 18th, 2007 2:22 pm

    Thanks Meg. I believe they had already chosen the finalists when I wrote this article just the other day.

  14. Mia Faharra on January 30th, 2008 8:19 am

    God Bless you Maj.Scott Southworth.You are a good Christian man with a big heart. Being from Lebanon, I know that kids like Ala’a are very mistreated and if it wasn’t for people like you these kids would not have a chance on a good life.Maj.Southworth you deserve all the best recognition and honors.I hope you and Ala’a have a great future together.
    PS….Please inform me via e-mail when you get this message.

  15. Dennis Preston on April 15th, 2008 9:17 pm

    This post is 2 or 3 years after I first heard of you. You exemplify the spirit of the US armed serviceman. your selfless act describes the word “hero” although I’m pretty sure you don’t think it applies.

  16. on June 9th, 2008 4:46 pm

    Common knowledge around the Wisconsin National Guard is that Southworth is a big clown who looks for notoriety that he gain off of this matter and infact some of the soilders are sick of hearing this story.

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