Grafenwöhr honors soldier killed in training accident
April 22, 2008
GRAFENWÖHR, Germany — Spc. Seth Allen Miller dreamed of becoming a professional athlete. Shortly before his death in a training accident at Grafenwöhr last Monday, the 2nd Platoon, 23rd Ordnance Company soldier told his mother he’d fulfilled that dream.
According to a statement from Miller’s mother, Joy Tamberlin Costa — read at a memorial service Monday in Grafenwöhr’s Tower Theater — the young soldier rated the Army as the world’s greatest pro sports team.
The 27-year-old, who was born in Visalia, Calif., dreamed of becoming a professional athlete since his first game of football in grade school, his mother said.
“He was headed to be a middle linebacker for some fortunate college. …” she said. Then he was stabbed protecting a friend, and his professional sports dreams were put on hold, she said.
But after he joined the Army and came to Germany, which was his first duty station, to serve with the 23rd, Miller called his mother and said, “I’m in the world’s greatest pro sports team,” she said.
The family regards the training incident, in which Miller was crushed between two palletized loading systems, as a terrible accident, she said.
Soldiers from the 23rd had tears in their eyes during the memorial, which featured a photograph of Miller with the school-age wrestlers he helped coach at the garrison.
The 23rd Ordnance Company commander, Capt. Jerome Barnard, said he never saw Miller without a smile, even when his commander was talking about something serious.
He was always a step ahead of other soldiers when it came to sports, music, movies or video games, he said.
He was also a step ahead when it came to soldiering. For example, Miller qualified “expert” on his first try after he was assigned the M-249 machine gun, Barnard said.
“When things got tough (at work), he didn’t get angry or stressed. He remained calm and brought stability to the group,” he said.
Miller would have wanted his comrades to soldier on and prevent similar accidents from happening to others, Barnard said.
“I think he would want us to smile for the life he lived and the fun we had with him,” he said.
Miller is survived by his mother, father David Gordon Miller, brothers Jeremy and Marty and twin sister, Michaela.
The Army is investigating the cause of the accident, an official said.