Hope Unseen

The Story of the U.S. Army's First Blind Active-Duty Officer

Hope Unseen

Hope Unseen challenges readers to question their doubts, not their beliefs, and depend upon God no matter what—the inspiring true story of “blind” faith.

A nervous glance from a man in a parked car. Muted instincts from a soldier on patrol. Violent destruction followed by total darkness. Two weeks later, Scotty Smiley woke up in Walter Reed Army Medical Center, helpless . . . and blind.

 Blindness became Scotty’s journey of supreme testing. As he lay helpless in the hospital, Captain Smiley 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 was transformed—the injury only intensifying 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.

Reading Group Guide

This reading group guide for Hope Unseen includes an introduction, discussion questions, ideas for enhancing your book club, and a Q&A with author Scotty Smiley. The suggested questions are intended to help your reading group find new and interesting angles and topics for your discussion. We hope that these ideas will enrich your conversation and increase your enjoyment of the book.


Captain Scotty Smiley was a man who had it all—a beautiful wife, an unwavering faith in God, and a bright future ahead of him in the United States Army.  West Point, however, could not prepare him for April 6, 2005, when a suicide bomber set off a chain of events that left him blind for the rest of his life.

Scotty refused to let his blindness define him, and with a host of helpers including his wife Tiffany, his dog Ocean, and countless servicemen and women, he remained determined to serve his country. In 2007 he was named the Army Times Soldier of the Year. As the only blind active-duty officer, As the only blind active-duty officer, Scotty is now an executive officer at Gonzaga University’s ROTC program. Since losing his sight, he has surfed in Hawaii, climbed Mount Rainier, and graduated from the Duke University MBA program—he credits this all to his faith in God.


1. The inscription that Scotty requested on his West Point see more

About the Authors

Scotty Smiley
Photograph © Amanda Miller

Scotty Smiley

Captain Scotty Smiley is the Army’s only active-duty blind officer. He lost the use of both eyes when a car bomber blew himself up in front of Scotty’s vehicle. A recipient of the bronze star and Purple Heart, he currently teaches the core course in leadership at West Point. Scotty and his wife Tiffany are the proud parents of two young children.


Doug Crandall

Doug Crandall served in the Army for thirteen years, including the last five at West Point where he was an award-winning leadership teacher and later the Executive Officer to the Dean. Doug now lives in Richland, Washington, with his wife Stephanie and their children.