I’m John Scales. I write non-fiction now, with hopes to graduate to fiction later. I travel, I take photos, I sometimes teach as well. I’ve been all of the way around the world—all seven continents and dozens of countries.
I worked as an engineer for many years, just retiring in 2014. I also used to be in the military—US Army infantry and Special Forces. At one time I taught high school physics, mathematics, and physical science while coaching basketball and volleyball—and tried to retire from engineering to do that again but 9/11 intervened and I ended up in Afghanistan instead. Now I live in Huntsville, Alabama, near where I grew up. My neighborhood is wonderful, particularly the others (human and animals) that inhabit it and I’m always happy to return to it when I tire of travel.
I’m starting a blog on the site. Expect opinions (what else?) and perhaps some interesting tidbits. We’ll have to see how well that works! The blog will talk about my work, my life, my friends, what I’m up to, and in particular the crazy world we live in. Sometimes I’ll be too serious but maybe not always so. Hopefully it will be fun for you and me.
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Brigadier General (retired) John Scales joined the US Army upon graduation from the University of Alabama in 1970. After completing several military schools, including Airborne and Ranger School, he was assigned to the 82nd Airborne Division. From there he was assigned to Vietnam as an infantry platoon leader and, six months later, as an installation security officer. Returning after a year, he spent several years in the 101st Airborne Division, including company command, before leaving active duty in 1975. He joined the 20th Special Forces Group (Airborne) of the Alabama National Guard and rose through numerous command and staff positions to overall command of the group and then promotion to Brigadier General. General Scales was assigned as the Deputy Commanding General of the Army’s Special Forces Command and assumed command of all Army Special Forces for six months. Retiring in 2001, he was recalled to active duty later that year. He served in the Joint Special Operations Command and led a Joint Special Operations Task Force in Afghanistan in 2002 before retiring again in October.Download Military Resume
Serval—named after an African cat that hunts at night—is a system that integrates the Soldier’s thermal weapon sight with his night vision goggles. Conceived by John Scales based on his experiences in Vietnam and Afghanistan, the system is a light-weight add-on to current devices that, upon the Soldier’s command, displays the thermal weapon sight with crosshairs in the goggle field of view. The crosshairs are registered to the wider goggle field of view so the Soldier can instinctively point and accurately shoot without raising the rifle to his shoulder or aiming through the weapon sight. The Soldier can also stick the weapon around a corner and accurately shoot without exposing his body or head. In 2003 John took the idea to SAIC and they provided funding to build a prototype and patent the invention. A team of engineers, including Mark Hose, Allen Davis, C. J. Beyer, Jorge Gonzalez, Neal Redmond, Mike Rodgers, John Hatmaker, Susan Coe, and Allen Fowler, developed Serval into a functioning prototype, shown at right being worn by John. The system concept has been patented by SAIC and adopted for US Army use as Rapid Target Acquisition for the Family of Weapon Sights, although certain details are still being worked out.
Patent 7,787,012 granted 31 August 2010
View the promo video for Serval™
Click the image to view full size
Close | At Bagram with Generals Franks, Hagenbeck, and Lane, May 2002
Close | SF Group CO, Fort Bragg, 1995
Close | President Bush bids farewell as I leave, April 2002
Close | SF Detachment Commander, Idaho, 1978
Close | Deputy CG, SF CMD, Porkchop Hill, Korea, 1999
Close | Vietnam, Oct 1972
Close | © Chrystal Harrison Photos
Close | Official Military Photo