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Officer Blinded in Combat Has No Trouble Seeing His Future as a Leader

Posted October 23, 2007

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— Army Capt. Scott Smiley came face-to-face with a suicide bomber in Iraq. There was an explosion, and Smiley lost his sight – but he hasn't lost his vision to be a leader.

“Army Times” magazine’s 2007 Soldier of the Year is now a graduate student at Duke’s Fuqua School of Business and is intent on building a bright future for himself and his family.

Smiley was leading a platoon in Mosul, Iraq, on April 6, 2005.

"I came across a vehicle that looked suspicious,” Smiley said. It looked wrong to him because it was weighted down with explosives. The driver was a car bomber.

Smiley had shot once to stop the car.

"I shot another round, and he just exploded and disintegrated, and I received shrapnel in both of my eyes," he explained.

"Initially, I thought, ‘Blind? What can he do? How are we gonna go to a movie? How are we gonna be normal?" Tiffany Smiley said. Her husband felt the same way, he said.

He had "those feelings of helplessness and basically being dependent on everyone and having the idea that I could not do anything myself," Smiley said.

He would prove himself wrong. A year later, he decided to get a master’s degree in business administration.

"He was feeling like he needed another challenge, which kind of blew me away," Tiffany Smiley said. Now, Smiley has two years at Fuqua. Then, he wants to teach at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point.

"All of the books, almost every one of my classes, a book is provided on digital CD,” Smiley said.

He'll earn his degree in 2009. That day, like the birth of their son in May, will be a date to remember.

The CDs for Smiley’s books come from a national non-profit organization called Recording for the Blind and Dyslexic (RFBD). It recruits volunteers to read textbooks for visually impaired students of all ages.

11 Comments

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  • ifcdirector Oct 24, 2007

    "No foreigner is worthless. We're all foreigners who've come together to live in a different way, one which requires protection in various ways that might extend beyond what our forefathers could foresee. Consider what we Americans did to the Native Americans to make this happen for us. Wonder if the poster would have called them worthless, too. Your American history has consisted of actions that would have been against current Laws of War and our present Constitution. Granted, there are those the world could do without because of their hatred and evil actions. In the long run one can hope that our attempts to right wrongs and triumph over evil will put the entire world on a more peaceful path."
    Just the sort of internationalist whining white self-guilt you would expect from someone who learned to hate America at UNC and what it stands for. If this post doesn't prove that Bush is a liberal neo-con trotskyite what else could? Yes many foreigners are worthless especially those in Iraq.

  • Sessy - Italiana Oct 24, 2007

    That story jus gave me the goosebumps!!!!!!

    Very sad but I am thrilled to see he did something with himself!

    My hats off to this Gentleman!

  • redwarrior Oct 24, 2007

    Capt. Smiley.... keep smilin'. Keep your head up.

  • Jokers Wild II Oct 24, 2007

    very inspiring story! I admire his courage, I guess he was a Captain for this reason.

  • enlightened Oct 24, 2007

    Nice to see all these wounded warriors who are doing what they can to mitigate various effects from their war experiences. Definatly inspiring.

    RE: a previous posting; No foreigner is worthless. We're all foreigners who've come together to live in a different way, one which requires protection in various ways that might extend beyond what our forefathers could foresee. Consider what we Americans did to the Native Americans to make this happen for us. Wonder if the poster would have called them worthless, too. Your American history has consisted of actions that would have been against current Laws of War and our present Constitution. Granted, there are those the world could do without because of their hatred and evil actions. In the long run one can hope that our attempts to right wrongs and triumph over evil will put the entire world on a more peaceful path.

  • ifcdirector Oct 24, 2007

    "Awesome story." No it's not an awesome story. It's an extremely sad and tragic story and it's incredible that people are glossing over this man's loss of sight with their own failure to note that this war is against our Constitution and against every single tenet that was ever enunciated by the Founding Fathers of this nation. This kind of tragedy is going to repeat over and over again in a country where I would not trade one of my countrymen, especially one in our nation's armed forces, for ten million worthless foreigners in a nation that we have zero business spending lives and money on to begin with. This whole war is a tragedy all the way around and nothing good has ever or will ever come of it. Period.

  • weasleyes Oct 24, 2007

    May God richly bless this courageous man and his family! Member of American Legion Post #25.

  • shine Oct 24, 2007

    Congratulations to him and his family !

  • kilakila Oct 23, 2007

    good on you Captain...it's what military men are trained to do when meeting an obstacle...adapt and overcome....all praise and glory to you and your stupendous efforts....and good on your mate...a companion of magnificient character and love....all the best to your and your family in your future endeavours...

  • malave27896 Oct 23, 2007

    congrats and best wishes to his wonderful person ...I wish him all the best for himself and his family. Thanks for all that you have done for us.

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