Kansas National Guard becomes a family tradition

It’s not unusual for young men to follow their fathers into the family business. That’s what Sgt. 1st Class David C. Miller did in 1990 when he joined the Kansas Army National Guard.

To get a better picture of that decision, we must back up to the military history of Miller’s father, retired Command Sgt. Maj. Robert G. Miller. Robert G. said his father played a large part in the reason he joined the military.

“My dad was active-duty Army during World War II,”  said  Robert G. “He served 32 years in the active duty Army.”

Robert G. served three years active-duty Marine Corps and two years in the Marine Corps Reserve before joining the Missouri Army National Guard in 1978. He transferred to the Kansas Army National Guard in 1980 and served until his retirement in 2007.

Robert G.’s son, Sgt. 1st Class David C. Miller Sr., marketing noncommissioned officer for the KSARNG Recruiting and Retention Battalion, followed in his father’s footsteps when he joined the Kansas Army National Guard in 1990.

As with Robert G.’s decision to join the military, David Sr., credits his father with inspiring him to join the Kansas National Guard.

“I joined because my dad was in,” said David Sr. “He is my mentor and always has been.  He was actually my first 1st sergeant.”

Miller’s brother, Robert A. Miller, also served with both the Army and Air National Guard before retiring in 2011.

With three Kansas National Guard careers to inspire him, it seems only natural that David Sr.’s son, David C. Miller Jr., would join as well, which he did on May 28. However, instead of following the same path taken by his father and grandfather, the younger Miller chose to enlist in the Security Forces of the Kansas Air National Guard’s 190th Air Refueling Wing. The fact that David Jr. joined the Air Guard instead of the Army Guard did not bother Robert G.

“That was his decision,” he said. “I am very proud of him joining the military, carrying on the family tradition. I am very proud of all my boys.”

“I knew I didn’t want to go active duty until after college, so I chose the Guard instead,” said David Jr. “I figured that the Air Guard was a better place for me, personally. My dream in life is to become a pilot.”

In making his decision, David Jr. had the benefit of learning and receiving advice from his father and grandfather.

“I don’t usually do that (give advice) until they get ready to ship,” said Robert G. “Then I will have a talk with him. Basically what I tell them is they always need to be proud of their uniform and it shows in the way they wear it.”

“Even though he makes Air Force jokes, he (David Sr.) still recommended the Air Force as a good branch to go through,” said David Jr.

“He would like to go active duty,” said David Sr., “so my advice was to serve in the National Guard, complete college, and if you still want to go active, go in as an officer or at least have your education completed first.”

Completing that education will be a little easier for David Jr. because joining the National Guard comes with education benefits.

“The benefits were a main selling point,” said David Sr. “I signed over part of my GI bill to him and it wasn’t going to be enough to get him through it all.”

“The educational benefits definitely helped in my decision-making process,” said David Jr. “I know college is very expensive and I would like to come out of college with as little debt as possible. I am hoping to study aerospace engineering at the University of Kansas, as well as go through their Air Force ROTC program.

“I chose security forces just for a job on the enlisted side as I go through college and ROTC,” David Jr. said. “Also, I could easily join a law enforcement field, if I so chose.”

“I’m not sure if he wants to make a career out of the Guard,” said David Sr., “but we shall see what the future holds for him. He has taken the first step – join and go to college.”

“I do hope to make the National Guard into a career for myself,” said David Jr. “I am wanting to spend quite a bit of time in the Air Guard.”

And so begins another chapter in the Miller family National Guard legacy. Perhaps someday there will be yet another chapter written by a future generation.