Army Staff Sgt. Robert Miller, Afghanistan war

In January 2008, Miller volunteered to lead a team of Afghan National Security Forces and coalition soldiers on a combat patrol along the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan. Their mission was to confirm enemy forces were in a specified compound and help get Air Force bombs on the target.

The coalition was moving toward the suspected building through a narrow valley. When they got close enough, there was a boulder that couldn’t be moved by ordinary means. Staff Sgt. Eric Martin recalled, “We had to come to a stop again and blow that boulder. I believe that’s when the enemy was tipped off.” As the coalition was maneuvering into position, they started taking enemy fire. According to Martin, there was nothing unusual about the fight, until bombs started dropping and the coalition fired heavy weapons at the compound.

Martin said Miller was always prepared for a fight and had packed heavy firepower that night. As the fight got within 50 feet, the coalition leader, Capt. Robert Cusick, was wounded immediately and Miller became the commander. “[Miller] bounded forward; we moved back,” Martin said. While Martin and his teammate tended to their wounded captain, Miller kept moving forward, throwing grenades and constantly shooting. Miller’s actions supressed the enemy until backup could arrive. “He saved lives that day…it was in his personality.” This was the last time his teammates saw Miller alive.

Miller’s teammates said it was his concern for the team that drove him. “It’s about doing the right thing and not letting our brothers down.” Miller was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor Oct. 6, 2010

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