Medal of Honor Recipient Staff Sgt. Robbie Miller Named SpecOps GI of Year

Posted: November 3, 2010 in Uncategorized

The father of the nation’s most recent Medal of Honor recipient accepted an award honoring his son Tuesday at Fort Bragg.

Philip Miller of Oviedo, Fla., accepted the Col. Aaron Bank Soldier of the Year Award from the Association of Special Operations Professionals on behalf of his son, Staff Sgt. Robbie Miller, who died almost three years ago in Afghanistan.

“We’re always very grateful and appreciative for any time a ceremony or event like this is recognizing service for any of our Soldiers, in this case for my son,” Miller, 55, said after a luncheon. “I think it’s important for us to help bring that recognition so other people learn from that example.”

Brig. Gen. Steven W. Duff, deputy commanding general of U.S. Army Special Forces Command, participated in the presentation during a luncheon for the Special Operations Forces Symposium and Exposition at the Fort Bragg Club. About 240 people attended the luncheon.

Although Staff Sgt. Miller was in Special Forces for a short time, “his impact was great indeed,” Duff said.

The father accepted his son’s posthumous Medal of Honor from President Obama in an Oct. 6 ceremony in the East Room of the White House. The Soldier received the medal for his actions in Afghanistan on Jan. 25, 2008. He was a member of Company A of the 3rd Battalion of the 3rd Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg.

Miller said he has kept in touch with his son’s teammates.

“We consider them extended family,” Miller said. “We definitely stay in touch.”

Among guests at the luncheon was Sgt. 1st Class Javier Mackey, 35, of Stockton, Calif., the demolitions sergeant on Miller’s team.

“He was a great guy,” Mackey said. “I really can’t express in words what his sacrifice has done for me in my life. It definitely was a life-changing event for me. If it wasn’t for him, I wouldn’t be here today.”

Staff Sgt. Miller, the youngest person on his team, was a weapons sergeant. Special Forces Soldiers usually work in 12-man teams and specialize in training foreign military forces in their own languages.

Miller was always the first on the team to volunteer, Mackey said.

“He was adventurous, happy-go-lucky, ‘If it’s there, I can do it,’ ” Mackey said. “He was a big fan of Hemingway. He spoke several different languages. He was one of the members on the team that picked up the local language faster than anybody else on the team, which helped out with building rapport. It also helped out with training the Afghan forces.”

Miller’s father worked in the Army translating German, and his mother was a Russian linguist from Duke University. She knows Latin, French and Spanish and is teaching herself Hebrew to read the Old Testament, Philip Miller said. Their 16-year-old son is learning Japanese, German and French.

“He brought with him a lot of knowledge, both Army knowledge and life knowledge, stuff that he had learned growing up as a kid,” Mackey said. “His parents did a really good job raising him.”

The Special Operations Forces Symposium and Exposition continues through Wednesday. About 75 exhibitors are showcasing military-oriented products, from backpacks to communications.

Retired Gen. Doug Brown will receive the Man of the Year Award at today’s luncheon. Brown, a graduate of Seventy-First High School, retired from the Army in 2007 after serving as commander of U.S. Special Operations Command at Tampa, Fla.

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