For The Love Of Flying
by U.S. Air Force Author
Originally born in the Netherlands,
Christopher Ryan “Red” Miller grew up in a military family,
surrounded by a sense of duty, patriotism and commitment. Even at an
early age, Red felt the commitment to serve calling. He knew joining
the military service was inevitable.
Now, Lt. Col. Miller is
the 100th Air Refueling Wing plans and programs chief and an expert
pilot and navigator.
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Christopher “Red” Miller, 100th Air Refueling Wing plans and programs chief, stands next to an American flag inside of a KC-135 Stratotanker aircraft assigned to the 100th Air Refueling Wing at Royal Air Force Mildenhall, England
on June 6, 2020. Multiple flags were hung inside of the
aircraft in honor of those who served during D-Day. (Photo
courtesy of U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Christopher “Red” Miller)
“Family tradition put me on the inevitable
path of someday joining the military; though, I never felt obligated
because my entire family chose to serve,” said Miller. “By the time
it came to enlist, there wasn’t anything else I wanted to do. So, I
enlisted in the Navy.”
Miller enlisted in 1999, as a Navy
nuclear reactor mechanic. Six years later, Miller received his
commission from the U.S. Naval Academy. Shortly thereafter, he
earned his Wings of Gold, which signify a naval aviator’s official
completion of basic helicopter training. He then became a U.S. Navy
HH-60H Seahawk helicopter pilot and ultimately a Navy special
warfare helicopter mission lead.
“I was flying helicopters constantly and
was being deployed all over the world,” said Miller. “I think within
the 19 years of being in the Navy, I was gone for over eight of
During his Navy deployments, Miller worked and
flew in at least 40 different countries and has the memories and
stories, both good and bad, to back it up.
U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Christopher “Red” Miller, former U.S. Navy special warfare helicopter officer, flies a U.S. Navy HH-60H Seahawk helicopter over Australia during a deployment
at an unspecified date. Throughout his career in the Navy, Miller deployed nine times and visited over 40 different countries.
(Photo courtesy of U.S. Air Force Lt. Col. Christopher “Red”
Miller’s favorite deployment moments were
getting the opportunity to connect with local communities and work
with foreign militaries all over the world.
“I remember being deployed to the
Philippines and we had the opportunity to work with Filipino troops
near Fort Magsaysay,” said Miller. “There were some kids that came
to us and were amazed to see our cool uniforms and helmets. We let
them climb into the helicopters, it was a really great experience
for both us and them.”
After nine deployments and 15 years
flying for the Navy, Miller chose to transition to the Air Force.
While his years flying for the Navy were coming to an end, the Air
Force would give Miller the chance to stay in the air.
“I flew helicopters in the Navy until 2019,
when the Air Force gave me another chance to fly,” said Miller. “It
was bittersweet leaving the Navy, but flying is my passion. I just
love the freedom of being up in the air. I’ve got over 4,000 flight
hours and every time I takeoff, it is the most awesome experience
Even with an abundance of flight experience,
Miller always strives to improve each time he climbs into a KC-135
“As I get older, I try to think of ways on
how I can impact folks, especially in aviation. At the end of the
day no one will ever be perfect but we can always strive for
greatness. I try to set the example of what I think a professional
aviator should be,” said Miller.
To this day, Miller
continues to seek out ways he can improve in the air. With 23 years
of military service and more to come, he hopes he can continue to
take to the air to get as close to perfect as possible.
definitely proud of everything I’ve done throughout my career,
flying has become a part of me,” concluded Miller. “My take on life,
personal relationships, work, and just about everything is that
you’ll never be perfect but you can always try to get a little bit
better each day.”
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