The White House awarded Army Staff Sgt. Robert Miller his posthumous Medal of Honor Wednesday afternoon, in front of a crowd a government leaders and Miller's family and friends. But in his remarks President Barack Obama also singled out the men Miller saved for their bravery in bringing their fallen comrade back home.
Miller was killed during a combat reconnaissance patrol near Gowardesh, Afghanistan, in January 2008. When his team was pinned down by enemy fire in a pre-dawn ambush, Miller ran into the fight to draw pressure off of his men, allowing them to reach cover. His bravery eventually cost him his life, and his men fought for nearly two hours to recovery and remove his body from the battlefield.
"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," Obama said. "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.
"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."
After the ceremony, Miller's parents offered the following brief statements to the press about thier son:
Maureen Miller: We are very proud and grateful that Rob showed such courage, and we are very humbled to receive his Medal of Honor. We want everyone to know he loved what he was doing, he was good at what he was doing, and he believed he was working for a good cause. We know there are other parents who have dealt with loss, and there are others who have not received the recognition they truly deserve. We appreciate their service and sacrifices, and hope more will be recognized.
Phil Miller: We believe voluntary service is both honorable and necessary for the success of the country. Rob was very patriotic, and appreciated the freedoms we enjoy, but he knew they could be taken away from us. As a child Rob was full of energy and constantly on the go, and he enjoyed learning new things. He showed all of us what Americans are capable of doing if given the opportunity. May God bless this country, and the men and women who serve and protect the United States of America.