Robert H. Scales

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Robert H. "Bob" Scales Jr.
Born (1944-08-05) August 5, 1944 (age 78)
Gainesville, Florida, U.S.
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branch United States Army
Years of service1966–2000
RankUS-O8 insignia.svg Major General
Commands heldU.S. Army War College
Battles/warsVietnam War
AwardsU.S. Army Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg Distinguished Service Medal
SilverStar.gif Silver Star
Legion of Merit ribbon.svg Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal ribbon.svg Bronze Star Medal
Meritorious Service Medal ribbon.svg Meritorious Service Medal
Air Medal ribbon.svg Air Medal
RelationsRobert Scales, Sr. (father), 2 daughters
Other workCertain Victory (1994),
Scales on War (2016)

Robert Hinds "Bob" Scales Jr.[1] (born August 5, 1944)[2] is a retired 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".[3]

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,[3] before piloting amphibious landing craft in the Pacific campaign of World War II.[4]


After graduating from West Point in 1966,[5] 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 was in combat. 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 gun crews, firing at the enemy, helping his men, and radioing instructions to helicopter gunships.[4]

In the early 1970s, Scales earned a master's and Ph.D. in history from Duke University. His 1976 doctoral thesis was entitled Artillery in small wars: the evolution of British artillery doctrine, 1860-1914.[6]

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.[4]

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.[3] and serves as a commentator for both NPR and Fox News. His writing has appeared in Time Magazine.[7]

In 2002, Scales was named President of Walden University, a position he held until 2003.


On 10 March 2015, Robert Scales told in an interview with Lou Dobbs Tonight at Fox News about the War in Donbass: "The only way the United States can have any effect in this region and turn the tide is to start killing Russians — killing so many Russians that even Putin's media can't hide the fact that Russians are returning to the motherland in body bags".[8] The Moscow Times wrote that the context of his statement suggested that his words were rhetoric, rather than a call to arms.[9]

On 12 March 2015, Investigative Committee of Russia launched a criminal case, describing Scales' words as a call to the U.S. political and military leadership and the American citizens to "conduct military operations on the Ukrainian territory and to kill Russian citizens, as well as Russian-speaking people".[10] The case was launched under the article of Russia's Criminal Code that prohibits "public calls to unleash an aggressive warfare, made with the use of media outlets". If arrested and convicted by a Russian court, Scales could theoretically be faced up to five years in prison.[9]

Personal life[edit]

Scales is the father of two daughters, who both joined the U.S. Army.[4] He purchased his first civilian home in 2002 at age 58.[3] His father retired from the U.S. Army as a colonel.

Awards and decorations[edit]

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
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze oak leaf cluster
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
Bronze star
US Army Airborne senior parachutist badge.gif United States Army Staff Identification Badge.png Ranger Tab.svg
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
3rd Row Army Commendation Medal (with 4 oak leaf clusters) National Defense Service Medal (with 1 bronze service star) Vietnam Service Medal (with 3 bronze service stars)
4th Row Army Overseas Service Ribbon (with Numeral 4) Army Service Ribbon Vietnam Campaign Medal
Badge Senior Parachutist Badge Army Staff Identification Badge[11] Ranger Tab


  • Certain Victory: The U.S. Army in the Gulf War, Potomac Books, 1994. ISBN 0-02-881111-9
  • Firepower in Limited War, Balantine Books, 1998. ISBN 0-89141-650-1
  • America's Army in Transition: Preparing for War in the Precision Age, U.S. Army War College, 1999.
  • Future Warfare: Anthology, U.S. Army War College, 2000. ISBN 1-58487-026-5
  • The Iraq War: A Military History, Belknap Press, 2003. ISBN 0-674-01280-1,
  • Yellow Smoke: The Future of Land Warfare for America's Military, Rowman & Littlefield, 2003. ISBN 0-7425-1773-X
  • Lessons from the Iraq War, Berkeley Public Policy Press, 2004. ISBN 0-87772-416-4
  • Scales on War: The Future of America's Military at Risk, Naval Institute Press, 2016. ISBN 9781682471029


  1. ^ "Robert Hinds Scales Jr". West Point Association of Graduates. Retrieved 2022-04-16.
  2. ^ "Class of 1966—Register of Graduates". Register of Graduates and Former Cadets 1802-1971 of the United States Military Academy. The West Point Alumni Foundation Inc. 1971. p. 766. Retrieved 2022-04-16.
  3. ^ a b c d "Military Strategy and the Future of Land Warfare" UC Berkeley Institute of International Studies, Conversations with History: Major General Robert H. Scales, Jr.
  4. ^ a b c d Richter, Paul: "Veterans Now Guiding Troops Impart Painful Lessons" Los Angeles Times, April 10, 2000
  5. ^ "Major General Robert H. Scales" Strategic Studies Institute, United States Army War College
  6. ^ Artillery in small wars: the evolution of British artillery doctrine, 1860-1914 (Thesis). Duke University. 1976. Retrieved 2022-04-16.
  7. ^ Scales, Robert: "Edward Uhl" Time Magazine, May 31, 2010
  8. ^ Russia, Germany, Ukraine 2017/18/19/20/21/22/23 (11 March 2015). "'Start Killing Russians' - Outrageous Outburst by Fox News Military Analyst [HD]" – via YouTube.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  9. ^ a b "Russian Investigators Launch Case Against U.S. General Over Fox News Segment".
  10. ^ "Возбуждено уголовное дело по факту призывов бывшего американского военнослужащего к убийству граждан России - Следственный Комитет Российской Федерации".
  11. ^ Strategic Studies Institute Staff Bio

External links[edit]