By Lee McMahon, WTC Stratcom
Today, CPT Scott Smiley takes command of the West Point Warrior Transition Unit. I had a chance to talk with him and his wife, Tiffany, about their thoughts on the upcoming change of command and their future. CPT Smiley is not only becoming a leader of Warriors in Transition, he is a wounded Soldier himself. CPT Smiley was severely injured in a suicide bomb attack in Iraq on April 6, 2005. As a result he lost his sight. This has not stopped him, or his Family, from moving towards their goals and continuing to serve in the Army.
Mrs. Smiley, what was your reaction to learning that your husband would take command of the West Point Warrior Transition Unit?
I was excited for him because we were looking at what our next steps would be. He had been going thru the process of talking to the branch manager and doing all the right things to get promoted. He knew he wanted a company command if he could get that opportunity given his unique case.
CPT Smiley, have you had a chance to develop goals for the WTU?
My leadership mentality is communication — communication on all different levels and with not only the WTU cadre but also with the Warriors in Transition. I want to know what they think their goals should be and what our goals as a unit are. In my mind, communication is the key aspect in allowing me to properly lead the Soldiers.
Mrs. Smiley, will you be teaming up with your husband for any tasks for the WTU?
I would love to. Scotty wants me to help out where I can. I don’t know what the opportunities are but I plan on being there, and supporting the Army as a whole. I feel like I’ve been there in a sense so I will help out where I can because we’re kind of a team.
CPT Smiley, how will you motivate Warriors in Transition?
Being an example is the best way that I have learned over the years to be an inspiration. I definitely mean that in multiple ways. For myself specifically, I was in the Medical Hold Company at Fort Lewis so I can relate to today’s Warriors in Transition. When the Soldiers realize that I was in their position, I can show them that I was motivated to not just sit by. I wanted to set goals for myself and I was inspired to continue on active duty. Also, being the example visually by the story I have and by setting those goals, that’s how I motivate—by being better than what you are at that time.
Mrs. Smiley, what are your goals as a Family for the future?
Scotty always jokes that he makes a five year plan but it never happens. That’s what he was doing when this comes up. His mission is to stay in the Army and serve soldiers where he can. He believes he is here for a reason and he will command this company and do what he can to make it a better place.
CPT Smiley, what do you say to a wounded warrior who is questioning his or her future?
It’s not just for wounded Soldiers, for anyone and everyone going thru tough times, I say we all go through them. My story and my life can be used as an example, losing my sight, being told you’ll never see again. I’ve been through tough times. For myself it’s having faith, I’ve been a Christian my entire life, it’s God who supported me, having my wife to support me, that’s what got me through.