Local News

Comrades remember Fort Bragg Medal of Honor recipient

Posted October 1, 2010 5:13 p.m. EDT
Updated October 6, 2010 6:49 p.m. EDT

— Friends and comrades of a fallen Fort Bragg soldier who will be honored with a posthumous Medal of Honor next week said he was the true embodiment of a Green Beret.

Staff Sgt. Robert J. Miller, 24, sacrificed his own life to save the lives of his comrades and 15 Afghanistan National Army soldiers during a Jan. 25, 2008, reconnaissance mission, according to a news release from Special Operations Command. He fended off fire from Taliban insurgents in the village of Barikowt, near the Pakistani border, to allow his team to fall back to a safe position.

"He took out the most casualty-producing weapons immediately, which definitely gave us the upper hand right off the bat," Staff Sgt. Nicholas McGarry said. "Then, he continued to keep himself out there and tell everybody to bound back, knowing the danger that was happening."

Miller's teammates said others would have died had he not taken action.

Maj. Robert Cusick recalled that January day as being full of chaos.

"There's no real way to describe what we encountered that day other than being in the middle of Fourth of July fireworks," Cusick said Thursday.

The Medal of Honor is awarded to a member of the armed forces for heroism above and beyond the call of duty while engaged in combat. The meritorious conduct must involve great personal bravery or self-sacrifice so conspicuous as to clearly distinguish the individual above his or her comrades and must have involved risk of life.

A native of Harrisburg, Pa., Miller enlisted in the Army in August 2003 as a Special Forces candidate, and he became a Green Beret in 2005. He served as a weapons sergeant in Alpha Company, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne).

Miller is survived by his parents, Phil and Maureen Miller, three brothers and four sisters. His parents will join President Barack Obama at the White House for the Medal of Honor ceremony next Wednesday.