Scott Carpenter learned the art of woodcrafting as a boy from his grandfather, who also gave Scott his first job delivering newspapers. In high school, Scott was an excellent skier and dancer as well.
After graduating high school in 1943, he entered a Navy Flight Training Program at Colorado College. Scott Carpenter received additional flight training at St. Mary's Preflight School in Moraga, California, and at Ottumwa, Iowa. After serving in World War II, Carpenter attended the University of Colorado to study aeronautical engineering
In November 1951, the Navy assigned Carpenter to Korean War duty at Barbers Point, Hawaii, where he became a member of The Patrol Squadron 6. While stationed there, he flew in antisubmarine patrols, and conducted aerial mine-laying activities. He engaged in shipping surveillance missions in the Formosa Straits, in the Yellow Sea, and in the South China Sea.
In 1954, Carpenter entered the Navy Test Pilot School at Patuxent, Maryland. The Navy assigned him to the Electronics Test Division of its Naval Air Test Center. While serving at the center, Carpenter developed exceptional skill in the testing of innovative naval jets.
Carpenter had accumulated a total of approximately twenty-nine hundred hours of flying time. Four hundred of those hours were spent flying jet aircraft. He was an experienced test pilot, and he was adept in engineering.