MAJOR (RET) SCOTT SMILEY
The U.S. Army’s first blind active-duty officer
Scotty Smiley is from Pasco, a small city in Washington State. After high school, he attended the United States Military Academy in West Point, NY. After four years, he graduated and moved to Fort Benning, GA and attended Infantry Officer Basic Course and Ranger School. Soon after he moved to Fort Lewis, WA where he led a 45-man platoon.
In 2005, while leading his platoon in Mosul, Iraq, Scotty found himself in front of a suicide car bomber. After the man blew himself up, shrapnel blew through Scotty's eyes leaving him blinded and temporarily paralyzed. A week later he woke up in Walter Reed Army Medical Center. Though questioning his faith, Scotty made a decision to forgive and rebuild his life and continue to serve in the Army, becoming the first blind active-duty officer in military history.
The Army Times named Major Smiley "Soldier of the Year" in 2007. In 2008, Scotty won the ESPY award for Best Outdoor Athlete. After receiving an MBA from Duke University, Scotty taught the core course in leadership at West Point and then commanded the Warrior Transition Unit at West Point's Keller Army Medical Center. Scotty is a recipient of the Army's prestigious MacArthur Leadership Award and holds an honorary PhD from Mount Saint Mary College in Newburgh, NY. In 2010, Scotty received a "Father of the Year" award in New York and in 2011 received the esteemed Christopher Award that affirms the highest values of the human spirit.
Since then, Scotty attended the Maneuver Captain Career Course in Fort Benning, GA, and then moved to Spokane, WA where he held a position with the Gonzaga University ROTC Department teaching and mentoring America's future leaders.
After many years of service, Scotty retired from the military in 2015. Over his military career, Major (Retired) Smiley received a Bronze Star and Purple Heart, Combat Infantry Badge, Ranger Tab, Airborne Wings and Combat Diver Qualification Badge.
He currently works with the capital markets department at Drexel Hamilton, out of New York City, as an investment banker for corporations and banks around the world.
With a passion for using his story to build hope in this world, Scotty authored Hope Unseen in 2010 and now travels the country speaking and sharing his message of perseverance, courage and hope.
He is an avid adventurer and has completed the Coeur d'Alene Ironman. Scotty has climbed Mt. Rainer, has gone skydiving and surfing and is always looking for his next chance to try something new.
Scotty is married to his high school sweetheart, Tiffany. The couple lives in Pasco, WA and are the proud parents of Grady Douglas, Graham Elliott, and Baylor Scott.