[nfbwatlk] Blind Soldiers Still Serving, Thriving In New Positions, Huffington Post, May 21 2010

Mary Ellen gabias at telus.net
Tue May 25 13:02:29 CDT 2010


In the 1980's, we passed a resolution saying that, if a military draft was
reinstituted, blind people should not be exempt. For me, the really
interesting part of this story is that these particular blind soldiers were
not automatically separated from the service when they lost their sight as
they would have been in the past. If they can continue to serve in the
military, why can't people who are already blind who would like a military
career enlist? 
Whether one likes or agrees with military culture, it exists. Blind people
are as diverse a group as any in our country and undoubtedly some will want
to be soldiers. 
I yearn for the day when there will be no need for a military because we
have found more sane ways to settle conflict. Until that day comes, blind
people should be able to join the Army, Navy, or Air Force if they choose.


-----Original Message-----
From: nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org] On
Behalf Of Frye, Dan
Sent: May 25, 2010 5:23 AM
To: NFB of Washington Talk Mailing List
Subject: Re: [nfbwatlk] Blind Soldiers Still Serving,Thriving In New
Positions, Huffington Post, May 21 2010


Bob:

Smiley, Castro, and several others were present last year in Detroit. I
don't know what their plans are for future conventions. They've been given
something like star status among the blind community for some reason that
honestly escapes me (other than the fact that society dictates that we're
supposed to be on-our-knees grateful to these men for their service to their
country), so I don't know if they'll feel any sense of community with the
rank-and-file blindness movement or not. Most blind stars do not, as you
know. This fact is further complicated by the fact that they are, by their
positions, newly blinded and no doubt coping with this adjustment, so
involvement with the civil rights movement of the blind probably seems
understandably foreign to them. I wouldn't want to generalize, but I'm also
guessing not a lot of military types feel a close affinity for any civil
rights movements. But, I thought you'd be happy to know that they were
present at least once. I should also say, so that I'm not entirely
misunderstood and perceived as a jerk, that I am genuinely grateful to
members of the military for volunteering to serve our country, and perhaps I
believe that they undertook this commitment without any desire or
expectation of unmitigated fanfare. I am encouraged to profile these heroes
in the pages of the Braille Monitor. I may cave to such pressure, but I'll
do it reluctantly. Heroes come in all shapes and sizes, and most of them
don't get such recognition. 

***********************
Daniel B. Frye, J.D.
Editor
The Braille Monitor
National Federation of the Blind
Office of the President
200 East Wells Street at Jernigan Place
Baltimore, Maryland 21230
Telephone: (410) 659-9314 Ext. 2208
Mobile: (410) 241-7006
Fax: (410) 685-5653
Email: DFrye at nfb.org
Web Address: www.nfb.org
"Voice of the Nation's Blind"


-----Original Message-----
From: nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org]
On Behalf Of Robert Sellers
Sent: Tuesday, May 25, 2010 7:12 AM
To: 'NFB of Washington Talk Mailing List'
Subject: Re: [nfbwatlk] Blind Soldiers Still Serving,Thriving In New
Positions, Huffington Post, May 21 2010



Wonder if there would be a chance for any of these blind soldiers coming to
the NFB National convention?

bobd 

-----Original Message-----
From: nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org [mailto:nfbwatlk-bounces at nfbnet.org]
On Behalf Of Nightingale, Noel
Sent: Monday, May 24, 2010 4:26 PM
To: nfbwatlk at nfbnet.org
Subject: [nfbwatlk] Blind Soldiers Still Serving, Thriving In New Positions,
Huffington Post, May 21 2010



Link:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/05/21/blind-soldiers-still-serv_n_585
038.
html

Text:
Blind Soldiers Still Serving, Thriving In New Positions MICHAEL HILL |
05/21/10

In this April 8, 2010 photo, Capt. Scott Smiley gives a tour of his staff's
offices in West Point, N.Y. Smiley is one of only a few blind soldiers to
remain on active duty since the fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Though
unable to return to his old infantry duties, Smiley has thrived in stateside
postings like his latest at West Point, where he graduated in 2003. He now
commands the Warrior Transition Unit here for ailing or wounded soldiers.
(AP Photo/Mike Groll)

WEST POINT, N.Y. - Since a car bomb blinded Capt. Scott Smiley in Iraq, he
has skied Vail, climbed Mount Rainier, earned his MBA, raised two young boys
with his wife, won an Espy award and pulled himself up from faith-shaking
depths.

Smiley, 30, has snagged attention for his big accomplishments. But the daily
ones are telling, too, including the recent tour he gave of his staff's
offices at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, where he plans to attend
President Barack Obama's address of the Class of 2010 on Saturday.

Unable to see the path around the workers' cubicles, Smiley stepped forward
with a joke to the camouflage-clad officers he was showing
around: "I walk around, and when I hit things, I move," he said.

An aide trailing him said softly, "Turn right, sir," at a doorway. Smiley
turned.

Smiley, of Pasco, Wash., is one of only a handful of soldiers who chose to
remain on active duty after being blinded by fighting in Iraq and
Afghanistan, a practice that's rare but one that military officials say
benefits both parties.

Though unable to return to his old infantry duties in Iraq, Smiley has
thrived in stateside postings such as his latest at West Point, from which
he graduated in 2003. He now commands the Warrior Transition Unit at West
Point for ailing or wounded soldiers.

Voice software allows Smiley to listen to e-mails, books and pamphlets.
Aides help him navigate and tell him what order he's signing. It's a little
like changing his son's diapers at home: He's fine as long as he knows where
everything is.

His resiliency and energy helped him earn the 2007 Soldier of the Year
commendation from the publication Army Times, as well as an ESPN Espy award
in 2008 for best outdoor athlete.

He earned his master's of business administration at Duke University and has
spoken to the Olympic and Duke teams coached by Mike Krzyzewski, a fellow
West Point alum. He has a memoir coming out this year titled "Hope Unseen."


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