Scott Smiley became the first blind active duty officer and first blind company commander to remain in the U.S. Army after being blinded by a roadside bomb in Iraq during a suicide explosion in 2005. It took some time for the Officer to accept his new life, but with his supportive and encouraging wife Tiffany by his side, he began to focus on his new life rather than focusing on the hardship. He wanted to find the good that can come from these challenges, triumph over the loss of his sight, and inspire others in the process.
Leading a life of inspiration, Smiley went back to school to earn a Master of Business Administration from Duke University's Fuqua School of Business. He was also a graduate of the U.S. Military Academy, and went on to teach military leadership at West Point and to command the Warrior Transition Unit at West Point's Keller Army Medical Center. Smiley earned the Army's prestigious MacArthur Leadership Award, an award which recognizes junior officers who exhibit duty, honor, and country-- the ideals implemented by Gen. Douglas MacArthur.
Smiley still does the same things he did before; he just does them in different ways. Besides surfing, skiing, and skydiving, he climbed Mt. Rainier, completed an Ironman triathlon, was named soldier of the year by The Army Times in 2007, won the MacArthur leadership award, and received an ESPY award as Best Outdoor Athlete in 2008. His book Hope Unseen
was published in 2010 and he has been invited to speak to large groups nationwide-- inspiring athletes, Olympians, businesses, and students. A father of three sons, he has since retired from the military in 2015, and currently works with the capital markets department at Drexel Hamilton, LLC (a New York State certified service-disabled veteran-owned broker-dealer firm which offers meaningful employment opportunities to disabled veterans), working as an investment banker for corporations and banks around the world. In May of 2017, he was inducted into the New York State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame by Senator Bill Larkin. In October of 2018, Scott recently appeared on the Dr. Phil show to talk about a reading device
that turns written text into speech.
Smiley is a regular contributor to national and local media organizations, and his stories of hope, inspiration and overcoming obstacles and adversity currently continue to spread all across the country on television news and talk shows, as well as corporate and private events. Scott and Tiffany also work with government officials to improve veteran care programs.
Some of his words to live by:
- Serve others. "Give back more than we receive."
- Live with purpose. "No matter what trials and tribulations may face us, if we stay the true course we can live with a purpose."
- Lead by example. "Understand what you're asking others to do. You shouldn't lead an organization unless you understand the mission."
- Persevere. "Life is worth living. We all go through trials and hardship. Working through those trials, we all can improve."