The 3rd SFG at Ft. Bragg was honoring the memory of Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller with a memorial 5K run this weekend, and as they said, it wasn’t a race but a time to reflect and remember a man who gave it all for his comrades.
On Jan. 25, 2008, Miller sacrificed his own life so that his Special Forces team and Afghan allies would survive. It’s an act that would be honored with the U.S. military’s highest award for valor, the Medal of Honor.
A little more than a decade after his death, Miller was honored at Fort Bragg on Saturday.
There, hundreds of soldiers and family members with the 3rd Special Forces Group paid tribute to the fallen hero by emulating his actions near Gowardesh, Afghanistan years ago.
Like Miller, those who chose to honor him ran forward on Saturday as part of the first Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller Memorial Run – a four-mile course centered on the 3rd Special Forces Group’s headquarters.
The course began at Miller Hall, the headquarters building named for the Medal of Honor recipient. It ended on the 3rd Special Forces Group’s Memorial Walk, next to a stone laid in tribute to Miller.
In Afghanistan in January 2008, Miller’s mission was to conduct a reconnaissance patrol in a valley that was a known enemy safe haven, according to an official narrative that accompanied his Medal of Honor citation.
He led the way for Operational Detachment Alpha 3312 and its team of Afghan allies. When the troops were ambushed by a large enemy force armed with AK-47s, rocket-propelled grenades and PKM machine guns, Miller called for them to seek safety while he charged ahead up snow-covered mountain rock.
Miller drew the brunt of the enemy attack.
His team lost him in a wash of dust and rock, kicked up by the hailstorm of enemy fire. But even unseen, those soldiers could hear Miller on his radio, calling out enemy positions.
Sometime during the seven-hour battle, Miller died.
Many of his former teammates were there to reflect on Miller, the consummate teammate who always looked to better himself and who was always there for his other teammates and allies.
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Photo courtesy Wikipedia