FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Mary Lynn Smiley
Blind Ambition: Officer making a difference at Gonzaga
Fort Knox, KY
February 12, 2013 – After the bomb, Capt. Scotty Smiley feared the Army wouldn't have a spot for a blind infantryman.
He could no longer use a gun, which ruled him out of many jobs in his chosen branch. As he recovered from a roadside bomb in Mosul, Iraq, that stole his sight in 2005, he wondered: Would the Army accept him? Did he even believe in himself and his own abilities, now that he was blind?
"Being blind was very scary, to not know where I'm going, not know who I'm talking to," Smiley said. "The Army is a constant 'prove yourself' organization -- and not just the Army, every organization. You have to prove yourself. You're questioned that much more, being blind.
"You can't just stay in and not do something; you have to have a job," he said. "As an infantry officer, where was my position in the world?"
But once he decided to stay in, the Army did have a place for him, and he continued to prove himself in a variety of roles. His most recent assignment is at Gonzaga University in Spokane, Wash., where since April, he has served as the executive officer for the Bulldog Battalion. And it turned out he is a natural at showing people the way.
"He's good at taking the curriculum and being able to put out scenarios to keep everyone engaged, and at guiding the discussion along to facilitate self-learning," said Lt. Col. David Bingham, the professor of military science at Gonzaga.
Smiley's listening ability helps him understand where people are coming from then guide them to understanding, Bingham said.
"I'll volunteer this: I'm not off the charts with IQ," Smiley said. "But I know how I learn best, and I know how to break it down. My knowledge base is still there: I still know how to do all those things. There's nothing that holds me back from teaching it."
Smiley said his world is "totally black," so he can't see if his Cadets are successfully executing squad training or field training exercises, but he can hear it.
He can hear how far apart his Cadets' footsteps are and know if they are in a good formation for their surroundings, or if they are putting themselves at risk for machine guns or grenades. He can listen to their pace count to tell if his students are executing their mission successfully.
Noncommissioned officers will also walk with Smiley and point out details he can't see, but he says it's not so tough to hear what they're doing.
"It's not like we have trained hunters; they're freshmen and sophomores beginning their military training," Smiley said.
The last thing Smiley saw was an explosion. He was leading a Stryker patrol in Mosul, Iraq, on the day he lost his sight. He was a platoon leader with Alpha Company, 1st Battalion, 24th Infantry, 25th Infantry Division, and he spotted a suspicious-looking car weighted down in the back -- a potential car bomb. Still in the turret of his Stryker, Smiley was roughly 30 yards away from the Opel car. He ordered the driver to get out of the vehicle and fired warning shots when the driver did not.
The driver lifted his hands off the wheel. The car exploded.
Shrapnel tore into both of Smiley's eyes. At a nearby medical center, Smiley temporarily flatlined. Surgery couldn't save his sight. Depressed and questioning what his life was worth, he faced a choice: He could lie in bed, or he could get up.
He got up. And he kept climbing until he literally stood at the summit of Mount Rainier, Wash. But none of it was easy. He needed months of rehabilitation to learn to navigate a world of what he called perpetual night.
He had to learn to walk using a stick to guide him. He needs points of reference -- for example, he needs to know he's on a sidewalk, and he doesn't know that unless he can feel grass on one side and a curb on another. He needs to memorize how many paces until he turns left, and if he overshoots it, he has to re-trace his steps, if he can.
Incidentally, this is a challenge on Gonzaga's 125-year-old campus, where many of the sidewalks are made of brick and the cracks between them grab his stick. Often if he needs to go somewhere on campus, he has to hold a buddy's elbow.
Smiley has always been athletic -- a swimmer, a runner and a biker, plus he played center, linebacker and special teams for his senior-year 1998 high school state championship football team -- and he didn't want to give that up.
After the accident, he surfed in Hawaii, skydived, skied in Vail, Colo., and completed a triathlon. In 2007, representatives from Camp Patriot, a nonprofit that takes disabled veterans on outdoor adventures, invited him to join them to climb Mount Rainier.
He compared the climb to the 10-mile road march in Ranger School. His muscles were exhausted, the oxygen was thin and the human body starts to eat itself above 8,000 feet because it can't metabolize food.
"I almost quit several times," Smiley said. "It took 13 hours of constant moving. And once you're at the summit, you're halfway there."
But he made it, and his accomplishment was noticed. In 2007, the Army Times newspaper named him its Soldier of the Year. In 2008, ESPN gave him an ESPY award as the world's Best Outdoor Athlete.
"You can't go into his office without bumping into some national-level award," Bingham said. Smiley's first assignment out of rehab was as assistant G3 for initial military training for Accessions Command in Fort Monroe, Va. Later, he earned an MBA from Duke University, and served as an instructor for the core course in leadership at the U.S. Military Academy in West Point, N.Y.
It was his first taste of teaching, and it was delicious.
"It was just awesome to impart my experience with those students and see how fast they were able to grow," Smiley said.
Later, he served as company commander of the Warrior Transition Unit at West Point's Keller Army Medical Center, the first blind officer to lead a company.
When he got the chance to be an ROTC instructor in early 2012, Smiley jumped at the chance. He and his wife, Tiffany, asked to go to Gonzaga in Spokane, Wash., which is a couple of hours from their hometown of Pasco, Wash.
He now serves as the executive officer, and has taught two MS-IV classes -- one on counseling, one on morals. A computer program called JAWS reads emails, websites and documents to him, allowing him to perform all the administrative tasks that go along with ensuring his unit is adequately equipped and trained.
Smiley is promotable to major now and is weighing his options, including joining the civilian workforce. Despite his glowing resume, he knows he will have to continue to prove himself.
"You can't let down your guard; you have to keep putting your best foot forward," he said.
For the full article, visit http://www.army.mil/article/96320/Blind_ambition__Officer_making_a_difference_at_Gonzaga/.
U.S. Army’s First Active Duty Blind Officer Captain Scotty Smiley Inspires Thousands at Kaplan University’s Winter Commencement
More than 7,000 graduates celebrated reaching educational milestones
February 2, 2012 – Decorated war veteran and the U.S. Army’s first active duty blind officer, Captain Scotty Smiley, served as the keynote speaker for Kaplan University’s 2013 Winter Commencement held earlier today in Miami, Florida. Speaking to more than 700 graduates, Captain Smiley impressed upon them the importance of having optimism and tenacity in achieving goals. The author and speaker has inspired many with his triumphant story of exemplary resilience. He narrowly survived a suicide bomber attack while serving in Iraq, which resulted in serious injuries, including the loss of his vision. With the help his family and the Army, Captain Smiley forged ahead to fulfill his educational, career and personal aspirations. He has received numerous accolades and awards, including an ESPY award for Best Outdoor Athlete and the U.S. Army’s General MacArthur Leadership Award. His book titled “Hope Unseen” chronicles his heroic journey to self-actualization. Dr. Wade Dyke, president of Kaplan University, commended graduates for having the personal commitment and drive to reach their educational milestones. He acknowledged the diligence shown by Kaplan’s graduates as he highlighted the academic and individual achievements of several in attendance. Dr. Dyke also encouraged them all to remain steadfast in their pursuit of knowledge. "Today, you have reached an important and well-deserved milestone—college graduation. What got you here was hard work, determination, and the support of others, especially family,” said Dr. Dyke. “Tomorrow, the life-long journey that is learning continues towards new milestones big and small. Don't stop. Continue to work hard with the same determination that made today possible and you'll realize your goals and dreams.”
More than 700 students traveled to Miami to attend the ceremony, while thousands more joined online via a live broadcast on www.kaplanuniversity.edu from locations around the U.S. and the world. The University hosts two commencements annually for online students—a winter commencement held in Miami, Florida, and a summer commencement held in Chicago, Illinois.
About Kaplan University
Kaplan University is one of Kaplan, Inc.’s higher education institutions, which serve approximately 73,000 students online and through approximately 70 campus-based schools across the United States. Kaplan’s higher education schools offer a spectrum of academic opportunities, from certificates and diplomas to graduate and professional degrees, including a juris doctor degree. Kaplan, Inc. is a leading international provider of educational and career services for individuals, schools and businesses. It is a subsidiary of The Washington Post Company (NYSE: WPO), and its largest division. For more information, visit http://www.kaplanuniversity.edu today.
LOCAL AUTHOR RECOGNIZED IN NATIONAL BOOK CONTEST
November 26, 2012
The 2012 Stars and Flags Book Award Program announces that author Capt. Scotty Smiley of Spokane, Wash, was recently awarded a gold medal for his inspirational autobiography, Hope Unseen. Smiley, with the help of Doug Crandall, has written this book to show that anything can be accomplished with the right amount of faith and courage.
Blindness became Captain Scotty Smiley's journey of supreme testing. As he lay helpless in the hospital, he resented the theft of his dreams--becoming a CEO, a Delta Force operator, or a four-star general. With his wife Tiffany's love and the support of his family and friends, Scotty's response became God's transforming moment. The injury only intensified his indomitable spirit. Since the moment he jumped out of a hospital bed and forced his way through nurses and cords to take a simple shower, Smiley has performed amazing accomplishments through many adversities and perseverance. Scotty and Tiffany Smiley have lived out a faith so real that it will inspire you to question your own doubts, push you to serve something bigger than yourself, and encourage you to cling to a Hope Unseen.
Captain Scotty Smiley, a Ranger and combat-diver qualified infantryman, was the Army's first active-duty, blind officer and the organizations first blind company commander. On April 6, 2005, he lost use of both eyes when a suicide car bomber blew himself up thirty meters in front of Scotty's Stryker vehicle. Since that day, Scotty Smiley has surfed in Hawaii, skied in Vail, skydived, climbed Mt. Rainier, completed a triathlon, and graduated from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business with his MBA. The Army Times named Capt. Smiley its Soldier of the Year in 2007, and in 2008 he won an ESPY as the world's Best Outdoor Athlete. Smiley, a recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, recently taught the core course in leadership at West Point and now commands the Warrior Transition Unit at West Point's Keller Army Medical Center. Captain Smiley was recently named a recipient of the Army's prestigious MacArthur Leadership Award. Scotty and his wife, Tiffany, are both from Pasco Washington, where he captained the Pasco High School Bulldogs to a Class 4A State Football Championship. Tiffany, who played college soccer at Whitworth, is a registered nurse. They are the proud parents of Grady Douglas and Graham Elliott.
A national contest, the Stars and Flags Book Awards program, was established five years ago with the purpose of promoting books which have a connection to the military. Many of the judges are veterans themselves, and others include historians, teachers, and avid readers. The program is facilitated by Nancy Smith of Reeds Spring, Mo., owner of starsandflags.com, whose main goal is to support and promote our veterans. Smith is also an active member of the Military Writers Society of America, a graphic designer, and is soon to start writing her first book about veterans. The book awards program runs from Feb. through Veterans Day, Nov. 11. Anyone interested in the program can find more information at http://www.starsandflags.com or by email at email@example.com.
HOPE UNSEEN RELEASED IN PAPERBACK
WASHINGTON, November 6, 2012
Captain Scotty Smiley's riveting story as the first U.S. Army's blind active-duty officer continues in paperback form. Available at all major book sellers.
TURNING TRAGEDY INTO HOPE
Hear the inspirational story of Captain Scotty Smiley, the U.S. Army’s first blind Active Duty Officer
Houston, TX, March, 2012 – Captain Scotty Smiley and his wife, Tiffany, will share their message of hope and faith at upcoming appearances in Texas. Their story, as told in Scotty’s book “Hope Unseen,” takes audiences from the depths of despair as Scotty is blinded by a roadside suicide bomber in Iraq to a restoration of faith that led him to become the U.S. Army’s first blind active-duty officer. Their message resonates with anyone who has thought they could not overcome heartbreak to live again.
The public is invited to join the Smiley family at one of the following Houston based events:
- Saturday, March 24, 6 p.m. at Second Baptist Church, Woodway Campus, 6400 Woodway Drive, speaking and book signing
- Sunday, March 25, 9:30 a.m. at Second Baptist Church, Woodway Campus, 6400 Woodway Drive, book signing to follow service
- Sunday, March 25, 11 a.m. at Second Baptist Church, West, 19449 Katy Freeway, book signing to follow service
- Tuesday, March 27, 11:45 a.m. at Christ Evangelical Presbyterian Church, 8300 Katy Freeway for The Gathering of Men Luncheon, speaking and book signing, contact Roger Wernett at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-524-9807
- Tuesday, March 27, 6 – 8 p.m. at the Saint Arnold Brewing Company for the Wild Game Dinner, 2000 Lyons Avenue, speaking and book signing, suggested $20 donation, please RSVP to email@example.com with number attending
- Wednesday, March 28, 6 – 7:30 a.m. at Grace Presbyterian Church of Houston, Band of Brothers event, 10221 Ella Lee Lane, speaking and book signing, contact Mike Fry at firstname.lastname@example.org or 713-267-5066
- Wednesday, March 28, 11:30 a.m., West Point Society of Greater Houston at McCormick & Schmick’s Seafood Restaurant (Special March Luncheon), 1151-01 Uptown Park Boulevard, speaking and book signing, contact email@example.com, please note this event is only open to West Point graduates, spouses and friends
The Smiley’s goal is to build hope in the world by discussing their story and faith with others. Their message has inspired many corporate and public sector audiences. For more information on these or other scheduled events, please visit their website at www.hopeunseen.com or www.facebook.com/hopeunseen.
CAPTAIN SCOTTY SMILEY TRAVELS TO TEXAS FOR SPEAKING/BOOK SIGNING TOUR
Tyler, TX, December 20, 2011 – Please share this invitation to meet the Smiley family
You are invited to join CPT and Mrs. Scotty Smiley as they share their inspirational message of triumph over tragedy with audiences across Texas. During the month of January, there will be several scheduled opportunities to meet the Smileys in Texas, including:
January 13, Breakfast of Champions, Tyler, TX
Speaking at Cross Walk Conference Center, 6:30 am – 8:00 am
Tickets are $8 - Limited number available. Register online at http://www.gabc.org
Point of Contact Jim Storms, firstname.lastname@example.org.
January 14, Fort Hood Post Exchange, Fort Hood, TX
Signing books at the Main PX from 11 a.m. – 1 p.m.
January 15, First Woodway Baptist Church, Waco, TX
Speaking and book signing. 9 a.m. and 10:15 a.m.
Point of contact Chris Wommack, Chris_wommack@fbcwoodway.org
January 28, Man Church with Scotty Smiley, Hurst, TX
First Baptist Church, 5:00 p.m.
Speaking and book signing.
Point of Contact Todd Campbell, email@example.com
In 2001, Scotty lost his sight to a roadside suicide bomber in Iraq but did not lose his determination to achieve his ambitious goals. His family’s hope filled journey is chronicled in his book, “Hope Unseen,” and serves as the basis of the talks he has given to a wide variety of audiences across the country.
The Smiley’s goal is to build hope in the world by discussing their story and faith with others. Their message has resonated with a number of corporate and public sector audiences. Their visit to Texas is a great opportunity to hear their message and meet the Smiley family.
Please forward this invitation on to family and friends who would like to the chance to meet the Smileys and hear their incredible story.
For more information on these speaking engagements and to follow any additions to their schedule in Texas, please visit their website at www.hopeunseen.com.
CAPTAIN SCOTTY SMILEY SHARES MESSAGE OF HOPE AT WAL-MART VETERANS DAY CELEBRATION
U.S. Army’s First Blind Active Duty Officer Inspires Others with Story of Triumph over Tragedy
Bentonville, AR, November 11, 2011 – In honor of Veterans Day, Captain Scotty Smiley will share his inspirational story with Wal-Mart’s Home Office Managers (and their families) at the company’s November Saturday Morning Meeting. As the U.S. Army’s first blind active duty officer, Scotty will be joined by his wife, Tiffany, to discuss their family’s courageous journey while honoring the sacrifice that service members continue to make for our nation.
“It has been my pleasure to serve this great country and I think almost any soldier you walk up to on this Veterans Day would say the same thing,” said Scotty. “Today we recognize and thank every one of our service members from past wars to present.”
Wal-Mart’s Saturday Morning Meeting is a tradition that goes back to the first days of the company. The company uses the meetings to give business updates and find even better ways to promote their culture, keep having fun, and inspire everyone to do their best. Scotty will join the list of many notable people from all over the world who have told their stories of overcoming the impossible on the Wal-Mart stage.
Scotty lost his sight to a suicide bomber in Iraq but did not lose his determination to achieve his ambitious goals. Not only did he go on to be the Army’s first blind active duty officer, but Scotty has also gone on to climb Mount Rainer, surf in Hawaii, ski in Vail, complete a triathlon, and graduate from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business with an MBA. The lessons Scotty learned along his journey are part of the unique message Scotty and Tiffany have shared with audiences across the nation since Scotty’s book, “Hope Unseen,” was published.
The Smiley’s goal is to build hope in the world by discussing their story and faith with others. Their message has resonated with a number of corporate and public sector audiences. For more information on booking the Smileys for a speaking appearance, visit their website at www.hopeunseen.com.
Home Town Hero Returns to Kennewick Barnes & Noble Booksellers
Kennewick, WA, September 1, 2011 – Local hero and author Captain Scotty Smiley is returning to Barnes & Noble Booksellers in the Columbia Center mall on September 1, 2011 at 6:00 PM. Captain Smiley’s book is titled Hope Unseen. Below is information on the event:
Captain Scotty Smiley–A Ranger and combat-diver qualified infantryman, was the Army’s first active-duty, blind officer. On April 6, 2005, he lost use of both eyes when a suicide car bomber blew himself up thirty meters in front of Scotty’s Stryker vehicle. Since that day, Scotty has surfed in Hawaii, skied in Vail, skydived, climbed Mount Rainier, completed a triathlon, and graduated from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business with his MBA. The Army Times named Scotty its Soldier of the Year in 2007 and in 2008 he won an ESPY as the world’s Best Outdoor Athlete. Scotty, a recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, recently taught the core course in leadership at West Point and now commands the Warrior Transition Unit at West Point’s Keller Army Medical Center caring for soldiers across the New York area. Captain Smiley was recently named a recipient of the Army’s prestigious MacArthur Leadership Award and currently holds an honorary PhD from Mount Stain Mary College in Newburgh, NY. He is the author of the newly released book Hope Unseen. He has appeared on CBS, Fox News, CNN and several radio stations in NYC. Scotty and his wife Tiffany are both from Pasco, Washington where Scotty captained the Pasco High School Bulldogs to a Class 4A State Football Championship.
Hope Unseen–Blindness became Captain Scotty Smiley’s journey of supreme testing. As he lay helpless in the hospital, he resented the theft of his dreams—becoming a CEO, a Delta Force operator, or a four-star general. With his wife Tiffany’s love and the support of his family and friends, Scotty’s response became God’s transforming moment. The injury only intensified his indomitable spirit. Since the moment he jumped out of a hospital bed and forced his way through nurses and cords to take a simple shower, Captain Scotty Smiley has climbed Mount Rainier, won an ESPY as Best Outdoor Athlete, surfed, skydived, become a father, earned an MBA from Duke, taught leadership at West Point, commanded an army company, and won the MacArthur Leadership Award. Scotty and Tiffany Smiley have lived out a faith so real that it will inspire you to question your own doubts, push you to serve something bigger than yourself, and encourage you to cling to a Hope Unseen.
About Barnes & Noble, Inc.
Barnes & Noble, Inc. (NYSE: BKS), the world's largest bookseller and a Fortune 500 company, operates 799 bookstores in 50 states. For the fifth year in a row, the company is the nation’s top retail brand for quality, according to the EquiTrend® Brand Study by Harris Interactive®. Barnes & Noble conducts its online business through Barnes & Noble.com (www.bn.com), one of the Web’s largest e-commerce sites and the number one online bookseller for quality among e-commerce companies, according to the latest EquiTrend survey.
General information on Barnes & Noble, Inc. can be obtained via the Internet by visiting the company's corporate Web site: http://www.barnesandnobleinc.com.
For additional information on these and other Barnes & Noble events in Kennewick, WA
contact Jerrica Fowler, Community Relations Manager, at 509-736-1414.
HOPE UNSEEN AUTHOR LAUNCHES NEW WEBSITE
WEST POINT, NY – JULY 15, 2011
Building on the reaction to his recent book release and growing public speaking résumé, Scotty Smiley, the Active-Duty Army Officer blinded by a suicide bomber in Iraq, has founded a company Hope Unseen, LLC. and launched a website at www.HopeUnseen.com.
The Hope Unseen website was designed and produced by the strategic branding and marketing company, Adellio:Creative (www.adellio.com) and features additional bios information, blog entries, and scheduled events as well as being linked to a growing Facebook page (www.facebook.com/HopeUnseen) where the community shares in Scotty’s message of optimism and perseverance. Plans for the Hope Unseen website include additional speaking sample videos and Hope Unseen merchandise by the end of the year.
Autographed copies of Scotty Smiley’s book, Hope Unseen: The Story of the U.S. Army's First Blind Active-Duty Officer, written with Doug Crandall, are available on the website (www.HopeUnseen.com/store) and include a Hope Unseen bookmark with each shipment.
Scotty’s wife, Tiffany, has been acting Business Manager for Hope Unseen, LLC. If you are interested in having CAPT Scotty Smiley or Tiffany Smiley speak at your business, church or organization contact Tiffany at 506-475-6500 or email Tiffany@HopeUnseen.com.
The Christophers' Special Awards to CAPT. Scotty Smiley, First Blind Active-Duty Army Officer and Shannon Hickey, young activist for the homeless.
NEW YORK -- April 25, 2011
SHORT RELEASE: Capt. Smiley, commander of Warrior Transition Unit for ailing or wounded soldiers at West Point, to receive 2011 Christopher Leadership Award; Hickey, 21, founder of ministry serving poor and homeless which was inspired by 9/11 victim Father Mychal Judge, to get 2011 James Keller Award
LONG RELEASE: Capt. Scotty Smiley, the U.S. Army's first blind active-duty officer, and Shannon Hickey, a 21-year old college student who, at age 11, was inspired to help provide for the poor and homeless by the example of Father Mychal Judge, the New York City Fire Dept. Chaplain killed in the 9/11 World Trade Center attacks, will both receive special Awards at the 62nd annual Christopher Awards ceremony in New York City on Thursday, May 19th.
Capt. Smiley, who was nearly killed while leading his platoon on patrol in Iraq in 2005, will receive the Christopher Leadership Award for his exemplary courage and leadership in the face of adversity. He opted not to retire from the Army, as is customary after a life-changing injury, but instead fought to regain his health and went on to command the Warrior Transition Unit for ailing or wounded soldiers at West Point. Hickey will receive the 2011 James Keller Award for foundingMychal's Message, a ministry that serves the poor and homeless, and which has taught many teens about the problem of homelessness in society.
The Christopher Leadership Award recognizes individuals whose work, actions and example serve as a guiding light to those in and out of public life, and inspires others to lead lives that make a difference for the good. This year's winner barely survived the shrapnel and debris that pierced his eyes and brain following a car bomb attack in Iraq. Crushed by the news he would never see again, Captain Smiley at first questioned his faith and his belief in God.
During his recovery at Walter Reed Army Medical Center, the Army pressured his wife to follow standard procedure by signing papers that would "medically retire" her husband, since it was accepted wisdom that blind people couldn't serve in the Army. She resisted, believing her husband might still have a future within the Army he loved.
After tremendous physical, emotional and spiritual struggles, Capt. Smiley came to terms with his new reality and successfully fought to stay on active duty. Along with teaching leadership at West Point, he also earned an MBA from Duke University with assistance from his wife and a dedicated tutor, and wrote an autobiography, "Hope Unseen."
With the vast number of American servicemen and women returning from war with serious injuries, his job is of critical importance as is the example he is setting. He remains committed to living a life of service to others and admits his trust in God has been taken to new levels
Brett Baier, Barbara Taylor Bradford to Speak at Mount Saint Mary's College Graduation
CITY OF NEWBURGH — April 20, 2011
By Michael Randall
Brett Baier, anchor of "Special Report with Brett Baier" on the Fox News Channel, will give the commencement address to Mount Saint Mary College's Class of 2011 on May 14.
Novelist Barbara Taylor Bradford, author of "A Woman of Substance" and other bestselling novels, also will address the graduates.
The Rev. Kevin Mackin, the Mount's president, will confer honorary doctorates on Baier, Bradford and two other guests: Capt. Scott Smiley, commander of the Warrior Transition Unit at West Point, and Jim Taylor, founder of Taylor Biomass Energy in Montgomery.
ESPY Award Winner; Author, Hope Unseen
NEW YORK -- July 14, 2008
Captain Scotty Smiley, a Ranger and combat-diver qualified infantryman, was the Army’s first active-duty, blind officer and its first blind company commander. On April 6, 2005, he lost the use of both eyes when a suicide car bomber blew himself up thirty meters in front of Scotty’s Stryker vehicle.
Since that day, Scotty Smiley has surfed in Hawaii, skied in Vail, skydived, climbed Mount Rainier, completed a triathlon, and graduated from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business with his MBA. The Army Times named Captain Smiley its “Soldier of the Year” in 2007, and in 2008 he won an ESPY as the world’s Best Outdoor Athlete. Scotty, a recipient of the Bronze Star and Purple Heart, recently taught the core course in leadership at West Point and now commands the Warrior Transition Unit at West Point’s Keller Army Medical Center. Captain Smiley was recently named a recipient of the Army’s prestigious MacArthur Leadership Award.
Captain Smiley is the author of a memoir about his experiences entitled: HOPE UNSEEN: The Story Behind the U.S. Army’s First Blind Active-Duty Officer, which he wrote with Doug Crandall. Howard Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, will publish the book in September 2010.
Scotty and his wife Tiffany are both from Pasco, Washington, where Scotty captained the Pasco High School Bulldogs to a Class 4A State Football Championship. Tiffany, who played college soccer at Whitworth, is a registered nurse. Scotty and Tiffany are the proud parents of Grady Douglas and Graham Elliott.