Robert H. Scales

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Robert H. Scales, Jr.
Nickname(s) "Bob"
Born (1944-08-06) August 6, 1944 (age 70)
Gainesville, Florida, U.S.
Allegiance  United States of America
Service/branch  United States Army
Years of service 1966-2000
Rank US-O8 insignia.svg Major General
Commands held U.S. Army War College
Battles/wars Vietnam War
Awards Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg Distinguished Service Medal
SilverStar.gif Silver Star
Legion of Merit ribbon.svg Legion of Merit
Bronze Star ribbon.svg Bronze Star Medal
Meritorious Service ribbon.svg Meritorious Service Medal
Air Medal ribbon.svg Air Medal
Relations Robert Scales, Sr. (father), 2 daughters
Other work Certain Victory (1994)

Robert H. "Bob" Scales Jr. (born August 6, 1944) is a former United States Army major general and former commandant of the U.S. Army War College. He now works as a military analyst, news commentator, and author.

Early life and education[edit]

Scales was born in Gainesville, Florida, in 1944, but then “scurried all over the world.”[1]

His father, Robert Scales, Sr., was a career U.S. Army officer who graduated Officer Candidate School at Fort Belvoir, Virginia, completed the Engineer Officer Basic Course and worked with amphibious vehicles in Florida, where his parents met,[1] before piloting amphibious landing craft in the Pacific campaign of World War II.[2]


After graduating from West Point in 1966,[3] he was commissioned as a field artillery officer and sent to West Germany, instead of South Vietnam. After two years in Europe, he was posted to Vietnam, but it was another year before he saw real action. After an artillery commander was killed, Scales was his replacement prior to the Battle of Hamburger Hill. He was awarded the Silver Star for his actions on June 14, 1969, when nearly a hundred North Vietnamese soldiers overran his base in a predawn assault. Despite explosions all around him, he rotated among his artillery units, firing at the enemy, helping his men, and radioing instructions to helicopter gunships.[2]

In the early 1970s, Scales earned a master’s and Ph.D. in history from Duke University.

Beginning in 1982, Scales was a field artillery battalion commander in South Korea.

From 1986 to 1988, Scales served as deputy chief of staff for the U.S. Army V Corps in Frankfurt, West Germany.

In 1990, Scales commanded the U.S. Army Field Artillery School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma.

Scales was named director of the Desert Storm Special Study Group in 1991, and authored the book, Certain Victory, the U.S. Army’s official account of the first Persian Gulf War. The book was published in 1994, the first of seven he has written.

In 1995 he became deputy chief of staff for the Army Training and Doctrine Command, developing a blueprint for designing future military forces.

The high point of his career was his appointment as commandant of the U.S. Army War College in 1997.[2]

Scales retired in November 2000 after 34 years of service. He continued to write and accept speaking engagements after leaving active duty and was named Fleet Admiral Chester W. Nimitz Lecturer at the University of California, Berkeley, in 2004.[1] and serves as a commentator for both NPR and Fox News. His writing has appeared in Time Magazine.[4]

Personal life[edit]

Scales is the father of two daughters who both joined the U.S. Army.[2] He purchased his first civilian home in 2002 at age 58.[1] His father retired from the U.S. Army as a colonel.

Awards and decorations[edit]

US Army Airborne senior parachutist badge.gif
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
United States Army Staff Identification Badge.png
Senior Parachutist Badge
1st Row
Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star
Legion of Merit (with 4 oak leaf clusters)
2nd Row
Bronze Star Medal
Meritorious Service Medal (with 4 oak leaf clusters)
Air Medal
Army Staff Identification Badge[5]


  • Certain Victory: The U.S. Army in the Gulf War ISBN 0-02-881111-9, Potomac Books, 1994.
  • Firepower in Limited War ISBN 0-89141-650-1, Balantine Books, 1998.
  • America's Army in Transition: Preparing for War in the Precision Age U.S. Army War College, 1999.
  • Future Warfare: Anthology ISBN 1-58487-026-5, U.S. Army War College, 2000.
  • The Iraq War: A Military History ISBN 0-674-01280-1, Belknap Press, 2003.
  • Yellow Smoke: The Future of Land Warfare for America's Military ISBN 0-7425-1773-X, Rowman & Littlefield, 2003.
  • Lessons from the Iraq War ISBN 0-87772-416-4, Berkeley Public Policy Press, 2004.


  1. ^ a b c d "Military Strategy and the Future of Land Warfare" UC Berkely Institute of International Studies, Conversations with History: Major General Robert H. Scales, Jr.
  2. ^ a b c d Richter, Paul: "Veterans Now Guiding Troops Impart Painful Lessons" Los Angeles Times, April 10, 2000
  3. ^ "Major General Robert H. Scales" Strategic Studies Institute, United States Army War College
  4. ^ Scales, Robert: "Edward Uhl" Time Magazine, May 31, 2010
  5. ^ Strategic Studies Institute Staff Bio

External links[edit]