Medal of Honor: Staff Sgt. Robert James Miller

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The President of the United States of America, authorized by Act of Congress, March 3, 1863, has awarded in the name of Congress the Medal of Honor to

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U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert James Miller for heroism in Afghanistan

Sep 10, 2010

By U.S. Army Special Operations Command

U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Robert James Miller was killed by Taliban insurgents Jan. 25, 2008, while protecting his Operational Detachment Alpha teammates during combat operations near the village of Barikowt, Nari District, Konar Province, Afghanistan.

Washington (Sept. 10, 2010) -- On Oct. 6, President Barack Obama will present the Medal of Honor to the family of a fallen Special Forces Soldier for his heroism and valor in combat while serving in Afghanistan in January of 2008.

President Obama will honor the extraordinary courage and selfless sacrifice of Staff Sgt. Robert Miller by presenting his family with our nation's highest award, the Medal of Honor. This will be the third time the Medal of Honor has been presented by President Obama.

Only 24 years old, Miller impressed everyone on his team. Although the youngest member of A Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne), Fort Bragg, N.C., he quickly earned a reputation for taking on difficult challenges and leading from the front according to numerous interview with other Operational Detachment-Alpha (ODA) Team Members.

An avid athlete and a student of human nature, he was often called on because of his expertise in weapons and languages. His teammates recalled how quickly he picked up Pashto (one of Afghanistan's native languages) and how the local villagers loved to spend time with him and teach him their language and culture. According to one team member's recollections, the villagers developed a bond with him over evening meals while drinking chai tea; they respected and trusted him. In all things, "Robbie," as he was called, was a natural to Special Forces, a true embodiment of a Green Beret.

On Jan. 25, 2008, while serving as a Special Forces Weapons Sergeant for his team, Miller volunteered to take lead on a nocturnal patrol in the Konar Province near the Pakistan border. Because of his Pashto language abilities, he led and directed the small local contingent of Afghan National Army Soldiers from the front. As they approached their target area his team was attacked by insurgents.

In the ensuing chaos Miller showed his mettle by directing fire and providing cover for his men. Miller deliberately moved forward making himself vulnerable as he engaged several enemy positions to provide suppressive fire, buying time for his teammates to take cover. Exposing his position repeatedly, he drew fire from more than 100 enemy fighters, ultimately saving the lives of his fellow Green Berets and 15 local ANA Soldiers.

Miller's unwavering courage and selfless actions embodied the highest principles of the Special Forces community, and are a testament to the Army values he lived every day. This was his second combat tour to Afghanistan, the first being from August 2006 to March 2007.

Born in Harrisburg, Pa., on Oct. 14, 1983, his family moved and he grew up in Wheaton, Ill. He attended Wheaton North High School and was a respected gymnast and all-around athlete.

On Aug. 14, 2003, he enlisted in the Army as an 18 X-ray, Special Forces candidate, with the hope of becoming a Green Beret. He graduated from the Special Forces Qualification Course on Sept. 26, 2004. After his enlistment Miller's parents moved to and currently reside in Oviedo, Fla.

His previous military decorations include: the Bronze Star Medal, the Purple Heart, the Meritorious Service Medal, two Army Commendation Medals for valor, the Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, the Afghanistan Campaign Medal, the Global War on Terrorism Expeditionary Medal, The Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, the Noncommissioned Officer's Professional Development Ribbon, the Army Service Ribbon, the NATO Medal, the Combat Infantryman Badge, the Parachutist Badge, the Special Forces Tab and the Ranger Tab.

Miller will become the seventh service member to receive the Medal of Honor during operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. The last recipient of the Medal of Honor was Sgt. 1st Class Jared C. Monti, who posthumously received the award on Sept. 17, 2009, in a ceremony at the White House.

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