Face of America: Liberty Wing Airman serves as world diplomat

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Andria J. Allmond
  • 512AW Public Affairs
When Air Force reservist Tech. Sgt. Dawn Scott dons her sage-striped Airman Battle Uniform and combat boots, she represents the United States of America. 

As a civilian, she slips into a business suit and pair of pumps to do the same. 

Sergeant Scott, 512th Logistics Readiness Squadron supply management specialist, works as a civil service recruiter for the U.S. State Department in Washington, D.C., and has been a diplomat to the U.S. Embassies in the African countries of Swaziland and Tunisia. 

"An American Embassy is essentially a representation of America to the world," said Sergeant Scott, who has been with the State Department for seven years. "Our role is to advance the President's and Secretary of State's foreign policy initiatives in that particular country. Diplomacy is generally the first course of action when it comes to dealing with other countries. In the event that diplomacy doesn't work, that's when the military steps in, which is my other job." 

In 2006, while working as a recruiter in search of potential U.S. diplomats from some of the U.S.'s most distinguished universities, Sergeant Scott received word that the department needed volunteers to serve as consular to the U.S. Embassy in Swaziland. 

Seeing it as an opportunity to further her career in the State Department, she applied for and received the position, said Sergeant Scott. 

A consular is a person appointed by a government to aid and serve its citizens and business interests in a foreign city. As vice-consular, Sergeant Scott was responsible for not only issues concerning her fellow Americans in Swaziland but also interviewing the non-American citizens who were interested in gaining American visas. She was the point of contact and liaison to the U.S. State Department back in Washington, D.C. 

"At the time, I was recruiting diplomats, and I believed it was impossible to recruit people for a lifestyle I knew nothing about," said Sergeant Scott. 

Her husband, who is an artist, and then 8-year old daughter, left the loud, bustling city of Alexandria, Va., and traveled to the hushed grasslands of southeast Africa. 

"We were in a place where cars and tall buildings were replaced with jungle animals and mud huts," said Sergeant Scott. "My family was accustomed to seeing a span of grass just big enough for a 10-pound dog to wander in; in Swaziland, we were suddenly surrounded by fields with elephants roaming about." 

"I liked going to see the elephants, hippos and ostrages in Africa," said Chloe Scott, Sergeant Scott's11-year old daughter who is an aspiring forensic scientist. "Going to different countries made me feel so grateful- thanks to my mom's rockin' job!" 

"She sets a good example for those in other countries in regards to the American story," said Mario Scott, the Liberty Wing sergeant's husband. "At the same time, when we came back to the states she shared the stories of those she met overseas as a way to break down stereotypes that we as American may have about people in other countries." 

After the six-month stretch working as a U.S.government representative, she and her family returned home to the D.C. area. A few months later, they would be moving back to Africa. 

"The U.S. Embassy in Tunisia was in need of a human-relations director," said Sergeant Scott, who spent seven years as an human resources manager for common pleas and juvenile courts in Ohio before working for the State Department. Due to her background, she took the job. 

"Tunisia was much different then Swaziland. It was like any American big city, but without the traffic laws." 

For a year, Sergeant Scott worked as a human resources director at the U.S. Embassy in Tunisia. Her responsibilities included hiring, employee relations, training, compensation and performance management for both American and foreign embassy workers. 

For both of her overseas duties, Sergeant Scott said she attributes some of her success in her work at the U.S. Embassies to her military background. 

"Being in the Air Force Reserve taught me how to adapt, how to be flexible, " said Sergeant Scott, who began her Reserve career at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio and came to Dover AFB in 2002. "You may have a day that starts out with mopping the floor and a few hours later you're eating lunch with a general." 

Currently, Sergeant Scott's civilian job has her enrolled in a one-year foreign-language school, learning Chinese for her next assignment. She is slated to provide civil-service support state-side to the Chinese embassy from Washington, D.C. 

"You do miss this country when you're away for such a long time," said Sergeant Scott. "And when you return, you realize you are so happy to be an American. My family experienced things others can only read about in books. We learned the true meaning of being an American and all the benefits we enjoy. It really opens up your eyes."