MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. --
The Bronze Star, when awarded for bravery, is the fourth-highest personal award in the U.S. Armed Forces, and only given to stand-out Marines who have demonstrated outstanding courage under extreme circumstances.
Gunnery Sgt. Chad L. Miller, the radio chief with 5th Battalion, 10th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, is one such Marine.
On June 29, 2011, Miller was awarded the Bronze Star with combat distinguishing device for courageous actions in Afghanistan.
According to the award citation, in September 2009, Miller set up an overwatch element for fellow Marines who were conducting a meeting in Ganjgal village in Kunar Province, Afghanistan. When a large group of insurgents attacked the Marines in the village, Miller responded by coordinating lethal suppressive fires, giving away his position to the enemy in the process. Despite receiving a high volume of direct and indirect fire from prepared enemy positions, Miller spotted targets for his machine-gunner and grenadier, both from the Afghan National Army, and also coordinated aerial fires by marking targets. Miller manned the position for six hours until his fellow Marines regained control.
“Your entire career leads you up to maybe a certain instance – one moment that may happen,” said Miller. “The award was for actions that happened out there, but I see it as everything I’ve done to lead up to that day and just pushing myself.”
The award ceremony took place in front of Miller’s wife and kids and service members from his battalion. When the ceremony began, the surrounding audience quieted as Brig. Gen. W. Lee Miller Jr., the acting commanding general for 2nd Marine Division, made his way to the center to present the award to Gunnery Sgt. Miller and thank him for his actions.
After the ceremony, Miller was swarmed by fellow Marines who personally thanked and congratulated him.
“He’s definitely a mentor for all the Marines including staff noncommissioned officers,” said Staff Sgt. Chaz G. McCaslin, the armory chief for the battalion. “He’s someone you can count on as a Marine and a friend. The award is definitely well deserved.”
While modest about his own actions, Miller praised his fellow Marines and said the award was for his team.
“The mission and deployment that I was on – working with other branches just shows how much more elite the Marine Corps is,” said Miller.