One hundred men will test today but only three win the Green Beret.
 

Staff Sergeant Robert J. Miller, Hall of Heroes.

It has been said that courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point.  For Rob Miller, the testing point came nearly three years ago, deep in a snowy Afghan Valley.  But the courage he displayed that day reflects every virtue that defined his life.

Rob was wise beyond his years.  Growing up in Wheaton, Illinois, outside of Chicago, he was the boy in school who penned a poem about American GI’s in World War II, men -- like the soldier Rob would become himself —- who he said fought day and night, fighting for what they thought was right.

Rob was born to lead -— the high school gymnast who trained so hard his coach had to kick him out at night so they could close the gym.  He was the Army recruit who pushed himself to his limits -— both physically and mentally -— to earn the title Green Beret.  He was the Special Forces soldier who, on his first tour in Afghanistan, earned two Army Commendation Medals for his valor.    

Devotion to duty.  An abiding sense of honor.  A profound love of country.  These were the virtues that found their ultimate expression when Rob -— just 24 years old and on his second tour -— met his testing point on January 25, 2008.

Rob and his team were in the remote northwest of Afghanistan.  Their mission:  clear a valley of insurgents who had been attacking Afghan forces and terrorizing villagers.  So when they came across an insurgent compound, Rob and his men made their move, unleashing their fire and calling in airstrikes.

Now, they were on foot, heading over to that destroyed compound, to assess the damage and gather intelligence.  It was still dark, just before dawn.  It was freezing cold -- and silent, except for the crackle of their radios and the crunch of snow under their boots.  Like so many times before, Rob was up front -- leading a patrol of two dozen Afghans and Americans on a narrow trail along the valley floor, the steep mountains towering over them.

First, it was just a single insurgent, jumping out from behind a boulder.  Then, the whole valley seemed to explode with gunfire.  Within seconds, Rob and his patrol were pinned down, with almost no cover -- bullets and rocket-propelled grenades raining down from every direction.  And when enemy reinforcements poured in, the odds were overwhelming.  Rob’s small patrol of two dozen men was nearly surrounded by almost 150 insurgents. 

With the enemy just feet away -- some so close he could see their faces -- Rob held his ground.  Despite the chaos around him, he radioed back enemy positions.  As the only Pashto speaker on his team, he organized the Afghan soldiers around him.  But the incoming fire, in the words of one soldier, was simply “astounding.”

Rob made a decision.  He called for his team to fall back.  And then he did something extraordinary.  Rob moved in the other direction -- toward the enemy, drawing their guns away from his team and bringing the fire of all those insurgents down upon himself.

The fighting was ferocious.  Rob seemed to disappear into clouds of dust and debris, but his team could hear him on the radio, still calling out the enemy’s position.  And they could hear his weapon still firing as he provided cover for his men.  And then, over the radio, they heard his voice.  He had been hit.  But still, he kept calling out enemy positions.  Still, he kept firing.  Still, he kept throwing his grenades.  And then they heard it -- Rob’s weapon fell silent.

This is the story of what one American soldier did for his team, but it’s also a story of what they did for him.  Two of his teammates braved the bullets and rushed to Rob’s aid.  In those final moments, they were there at his side -- American soldiers there for each other. 

The relentless fire forced them back, but they refused to leave their fallen comrade.  When reinforcements arrived, these Americans went in again -- risking their lives, taking more casualties -- determined to bring Rob Miller out of that valley.  And finally, after fighting that raged for hours, they did.

When the dust settled and the smoke cleared, there was no doubt Rob Miller and his team had struck a major blow against the local insurgency.  Five members of his patrol had been wounded, but his team had survived.  And one of his teammates surely spoke for all of them when he said of Rob, “I would not be alive today if not for his ultimate sacrifice.”

This is the valor that America honors today.  To Rob’s family and friends, I know that no words can ease the ache in your hearts.  But I also know this -- Rob’s life and legacy endures.

Rob endures in the pride of his parents.  Phil and Maureen, you raised a remarkable son.  Today and in the years to come, may you find some comfort in knowing that Rob gave his life doing what he loved -- protecting his friends and defending his country.  You gave your oldest son to America, and America is forever in your debt. 

Rob endures in the love of his brothers and sisters, all seven of whom join us today.  Your brothers laid down his life so you could live yours in security and freedom.  You honor him by living your lives to the fullest, and I suspect Rob would be especially proud of his younger brother Tom, who, inspired by his big brother, is now training to be a Green Beret himself.

Rob endures in the Afghans that he trained and he befriended.  In valleys and villages half a world away, they remember him -- the American who spoke their language, who respected their culture and who helped them defend their country.  They welcomed him into their homes and invited him to their weddings.  And in a sign of their lasting gratitude, they presented Rob’s parents with a beautiful Afghan flag -- Afghan rug, which hangs today in the Miller home, a symbol of the partnership between the people of America and Afghanistan.

Rob Miller endures in the service of his teammates -- his brothers in arms who served with him, bled with him and fought to bring him home.  These soldiers embody the spirit that guides our troops in Afghanistan every day -- the courage, the resolve, the relentless focus on their mission:  to break the momentum of the Taliban insurgency, and to build the capacity of Afghans to defend themselves, and to make sure that Afghanistan is never again a safe haven for terrorists who would attack our country.  That is their mission, that is our mission, and that is what we will do.  And I would ask Rob’s team, who were with him that day, to please stand and be recognized. 

Finally, Rob Miller -- and all those who give their lives in our name -- endure in each of us.  Every American is safer because of their service.  And every American has a duty to remember and honor their sacrifice. 

If we do -- if we keep their legacy alive, if we keep faith with the freedoms they died to defend -- then we can imagine a day, decades from now, when another child sits down at his desk, ponders the true meaning of heroism and finds inspiration in the story of a soldier -- Staff Sergeant Robert J. Miller and a generation that “fought day and night, fighting for what they thought was right.”

Official Citation Reads:

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty:

Staff Sergeant Robert J. Miller distinguished himself by extraordinary acts of heroism while serving as the Weapons Sergeant in Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 3312, Special Operations Task Force-33, Combined Joint Special Operations Task Force-Afghanistan during combat operations against an armed enemy in Konar Province, Afghanistan on January 25, 2008. While conducting a combat reconnaissance patrol through the Gowardesh Valley, Staff Sergeant Miller and his small element of U.S. and Afghan National Army soldiers engaged a force of 15 to 20 insurgents occupying prepared fighting positions. Staff Sergeant Miller initiated the assault by engaging the enemy positions with his vehicle’s turret-mounted Mark-19 40 millimeter automatic grenade launcher while simultaneously providing detailed descriptions of the enemy positions to his command, enabling effective, accurate close air support.

Following the engagement, Staff Sergeant Miller led a small squad forward to conduct a battle damage assessment. As the group neared the small, steep, narrow valley that the enemy had inhabited, a large, well-coordinated insurgent force initiated a near ambush, assaulting from elevated positions with ample cover. Exposed and with little available cover, the patrol was totally vulnerable to enemy rocket propelled grenades and automatic weapon fire. As point man, Staff Sergeant Miller was at the front of the patrol, cut off from supporting elements, and less than 20 meters from enemy forces. Nonetheless, with total disregard for his own safety, he called for his men to quickly move back to covered positions as he charged the enemy over exposed ground and under overwhelming enemy fire in order to provide protective fire for his team.

While maneuvering to engage the enemy, Staff Sergeant Miller was shot in his upper torso. Ignoring the wound, he continued to push the fight, moving to draw fire from over one hundred enemy fighters upon himself. He then again charged forward through an open area in order to allow his teammates to safely reach cover. After killing at least 10 insurgents, wounding dozens more, and repeatedly exposing himself to withering enemy fire while moving from position to position, Staff Sergeant Miller was mortally wounded by enemy fire. His extraordinary valor ultimately saved the lives of seven members of his own team and 15 Afghanistan National Army soldiers. Staff Sergeant Miller’s heroism and selflessness above and beyond the call of duty, and at the cost of his own life, are in keeping with the highest traditions of military service and reflect great credit upon himself and the United States Army.

 

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Categories: SPECIAL FORCES MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS, Hall of HeroesNumber of views: 7712

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We are former and current Green Berets who find and investigate those who falsely claim to be a Green Beret. We will never out someone unless we are 100% certain via FOIA and Bragg.

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Recent comments

Brother Of Brian Magyar:

9 June 2020

Ya' know, instead of considering why someone does what he does, like assholes, ya' jump to foul comments about someone ya' never met, or know anything about ….

I'd call our parents white trash, but that would be an insult to white trash ….

Brain went into the United States Army after July 1975, after I went into the United States Navy in that July ….

We both got out of Boot in September of 75' ….

That was the last I ever saw of him ????

Neither of us wanted to go into the Military, but we were kicked out he house by our mother, to call her a mother is also an insult to all mothers ....

If you ever saw the movie " Mommy Dearest " , then ya' might have some idea what our childhood was like ….

The only thing that put the smile on our mother's face was when she was beating the living shit out of her boys, buckle end first ….

In the late sixties, early seventies, Brian and I never did drugs, alcohol, or commit any crimes ….

As a kid, Brian always wanted to be part of a group, gang, whatever ….

I loved karate, so I walked the path of bushido, honor and face above all ….

Always a team player, but still a loner ….

People tell me I'm a veteran, but I'm quick to say that in my eight years in the United States Navy, ( 1975-1979 active, - 1983 reserve ),

I never carried a gun, or, was ever in any danger ….

Most of it on sea duty, all fun and games, and going over seas, but, after all, sailors belong at sea ….

Just as I was getting off active duty, I made Second Class Petty Officer, IC-2, N.E.C. ( M.O.S.) 4713, telecommunications,,,,

telephone man ….

Honorably discharged, I display that along with my DD-214

I'm now sixty-three, and retiring from the telephone company ….

So,,, no comments about me ….

It's been forty-five years now ….

Brian is my younger brother, but I understand him just the same …..

Kind'a like a car salesman, he always needed that affirmation from others ….

He still needs what he never got from our mother,,,, to be loved, appreciated, admired, respected ….

As a kid, he loved the song " Ballard of the Green Berets " ….

He wasn't stealing glory, but imitating that which he admired the most in the United States Army,,,, the Green Berets ….

When I read the comments about Brain, as I suspect, real Green Berets, and other Army Special Forces,,,, are much like United States Marines, United States Navy Seals, and now Antifa protesters ….

And I met a few Marines and Seals ( claiming ) during my time in the Navy ….

They are only really tough when the other guy can't fight back, shit-for-brains bullies ….

My proof, Viet Nam, Granada, Fallujah, Pakistan ….

As far as I know, you tough guys never faced real Soviet, Chinese, Iranian, or any other real Special Forces on equal footing ….

Hell, the real Rambo's in Viet Nam was the Viet Cong …..

And they kicked the ( bull ) shit out of you smart mouth's ….

When I was aboard ship, the only time I found our who went to Viet Nam was during dress inspections, when they wore their ribbons on their chest ….

They never talked about it, I assume it was the most horrifying times of their lives ….

Had Brian had good parents, good home, good schooling, a good life, I have no doubt he would have proudly earned the ribbons on his chest ….

In the United States Navy, I only earned an overseas service ribbon, and a good conduct ribbon, which I never wore, but are now on my old Navy uniform for when I pass away ….

Brian is, and always will be my brother, we suffered too much together as kids, and I appreciate the fact he is imitating the best the United States Army had to offer,,, in his time ….

And if you can't appreciate his admiration of the Green Berets, YA' can kiss my Navy Blue ass ….

Jory Jory:

I don't know what to say. He is such a silver tongue devil. He slid into our lives and we fell for his line of BS. This was back in the late 80's/early 90's. Met him in a local biker bar, he was a musician. I said, Thank you and welcome home. I lent him $$. I introduced him to a friend and that turned into a nightmare. Boy, he's got a special place in heaven. On a nicer note, Thanks so much for this site

SuperUser Account:

No Idea. It's hard to follow up on these guys as the workload is very heavy. We expose them and move on.

william frank grist:

Great site I am glad to see it in operation. William Frank Grist SF

U.S. Naval Aircrewman (90-95):

He's also a registered sex offender....and a scum bag.

U.S. Naval Aircrewman (90-95):

I think this is well known by this point - but for added extra bonus actually is a REAL registered sex offender. This guy is a danger to the community in a multitude of ways & he shows no shame or remorse & he's also a real d-bag. He needs to get locked up.

Brian M Whitney:

Is he still getting 100% disability or was he ever? Whats the deal with this story?

Don Canaday:

Every time some faker claiming to be SF gets in trouble or acts up, it can reflect badly on us in the media. Another reason to point them out when they present themselves.

DZKLAY62:

Wow! I am stupefied that a sex offender would expose himself to so much attention and expect the truth to not come out...

DZKLAY62:

I refuse to believe any SF or Operator would wear that bow tie, just saying.

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