Medal of Honor Recipient Inducted Into Hall Of Heroes
(October 9, 2010)
|WASHINGTON, Oct. 7, 2010 – A Pentagon ceremony today
formally inscribed the name of Army Special Forces Staff
Sgt. Robert J. Miller, who yesterday was awarded a
posthumous Medal of Honor, onto the nation's list of
In January 2008, Miller, at age 24, died in action in Afghanistan, charging the
enemy through a hailstorm of bullets to give 22 other soldiers a chance to
survive. Today, Miller's family, teammates, and friends gathered at the Pentagon
alongside the U.S. military's most-senior leaders to honor their fallen son's
life, heroism and courage.
Today's Pentagon ceremony marked Miller's entry into the building's Hall of
Heroes, where his name and the details of his service will join those of other
Medal of Honor recipients.
Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates praised Miller's bravery and sacrifice, and
the sacrifice of Phil and Maureen Miller, the fallen soldier's parents.
Army Secretary John M. McHugh presents a plaque to Phil and Maureen Miller, the parents of Medal of Honor recipient U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller, as Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. looks on during a ceremony at the Pentagon, Oct. 7, 2010. DOD photo by Cherie Cullen
“Every evening I write notes to the families of young
Americans -- as I did to the Millers -- who have given this
country the supreme sacrifice,” Gates said. “They are our
country's best, the nation's sons and daughters, who
answered the call of service to defend this country in a
time of war.”
Servicemembers such as Miller, Gates said, had “answered
what "Theodore Roosevelt described as ‘the trumpet call,'
which he said: ‘Is the most inspiring of all sounds, because
it summons men to spurn all ease and self-indulgence and
bids them forth to the field where they must dare and do and
die at need.'
“Rob [Miller] was one who answered that trumpet call, one
who also possessed that extra measure of courage and
determination to be at the very tip of the spear in
America's wars,” the secretary said.
Gates also recounted the medal's history and meaning.
“Over the past century, it has gone only to the bravest of
the brave, with fewer than a thousand recipients out of the
millions of Americans who have served in uniform during that
time,” Gates said. “It goes to those who demonstrate
exceptional bravery in the face of enemy fire. But it also
demands something more of an individual: The knowledge that
by embarking on a course of action, losing one's life is not
only possible, it is quite likely.”
During Army Secretary John M. McHugh's remarks at the
ceremony, he described Miller's interests in gymnastics,
basketball, history, languages and the military as he was
growing up. Later, as a young Green Beret, Miller brought
his characteristic intensity, enthusiasm, leadership and
dedication to the job, the Army secretary said.
“He was funny, generous, passionate and determined,” McHugh
said of Miller. “He was someone we would all have liked to
know ... a life that while too short, was a life of
Army Chief of Staff Gen. George W. Casey Jr. said during the
ceremony that Miller's life offered “a glimpse of what is
best about our country.” And watching Miller's parents,
brothers and sisters interact, Casey said, made it clear how
the young man had turned out to be so extraordinary.
“Each of them had a role in making Robert the man that he
was,” Casey said.
The Millers accepted a Medal of Honor flag on their fallen
son's behalf, and unveiled the plaque bearing his name that
will be displayed in the Hall of Heroes.
Phil Miller spoke of his son before the ceremony's
“Robert loved what he was doing very much,” Miller said. “He
was proven to be very good at what he was doing. And there
was no question that he was confident he was fighting and
serving for a good cause.”
Miller said his son was a normal, active, mischievous boy
while growing up.
“My wife and I believe he is a great example of what
America's youth can do, and how well they can perform, when
they're given the responsibility and the opportunity to do
so,” he said.
“We miss him terribly.”
Miller's actions in Afghanistan as weapons sergeant for
Company A, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group have been
much-publicized since the award of his medal was announced
in September. But a few days before the January 25, 2008,
ambush where Miller gave his life, he and a teammate had
talked about how they wanted to be remembered.
In an interview before this week's ceremonies, Staff Sgt.
Nicholas McGarry said during that conversation, Miller had
told him he wanted to be remembered for how he had lived,
and not how he died. As the two single guys on the team,
McGarry recalled that he and Miller hung out together, and
rode mountain bikes after work.
“He was incredibly joyful – a motivated, energetic person,”
McGarry said of his departed friend. “Just a good friend to
have around, because he always wanted to do something. He
was always in a good mood –- kind of a playful spirit, I
McGarry said he thinks about Miller every day.
“He was a good friend,” McGarry said. “But if it wasn't for
him, I wouldn't be here.”
President Barack Obama yesterday presented the Medal of
Honor posthumously to Miller's parents during a ceremony
held in the East Room of the White House.
By Karen Parrish
American Forces Press Service
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