By 8th TSC Public Affairs OfficeNovember 4, 2016
Sgt. Robert Miller of the 74th EOD Company, 303D Ordnance Battalion, 8th Military Police Brigade, 8th Theater Sustainment Command, U.S. Army Pacific received a Certificate of Special Recognition on behalf of the State of Hawaii by Governor David Ige on 3 November 2016 for his being named the 2016 U.S Army Soldier of the Year.
On the path to being named the top Soldier in the United States Army, Miller won the regional competition within U.S Army Pacific in June, outperforming Soldiers from across Hawaii as well as Alaska, Japan and the Republic of Korea. From Sept. 26 to Oct. 3, 2016 Miller competed against 9 of the Army's finest Warriors representing 10 commands from across the Army in the 2016 Best Warrior Competition at Fort A.P. Hill, Virginia. On 3 Oct. he was named the top U.S Army Soldier and promoted to Sergeant by Chief of Staff of the Army, Gen. Mark A. Milley.
"Throughout the competition, I thought I was doing Ok, but we didn't get to see any of the other competitors compete. So you're basically judging yourself against yourself. I thought I was performing decent. But to see those other guys, the best of the best, you never know how well someone else is doing, so I was totally shocked and honored to be named," said Miller, a Clarksville, Tennessee native.
As part of the annual Best Warrior Competition, the elite competitors tested their Army aptitude by conquering urban warfare simulations, board interviews, physical fitness tests, written exams, and warrior tasks and battle drills relevant to today's operating environment.
"It is an honor and privilege for me to recognize SGT Miller", said Hawaii Governor David Ige. "I want to congratulate SGT Miller for his performance and most importantly for his representation of the State of Hawaii in being named the Best Warrior in the United States Army."
When asked who he attributed his success to the most, the Nation's top Soldier said it has been a supportive collaboration. "That's a collective effort. From the people in my unit, to my family on the mainland, everyone around me has encouraged me, lifted me up when I was thinking 'I don't know if I can do this'. From my platoon sergeant to my first sponsor taking me to these boards…everyone around me has encouraged me. I wouldn't be here without them," Miller said.
The 303rd EOD battalion in which SGT Miller serves as an explosive ordnance disposal specialist is part of the 8th Theater Sustainment Command, the U.S Army's senior logistics command in the Indo-Asia-Pacific region. Having a sustainment Soldier named as the best in our Army is a significant point of pride to the command.
"I am very, very proud of him, and acknowledge this was not easy and that much of that success is a reflection of his leadership. Out of hundreds of thousands of Soldiers, he's #1. I definitely feel a little extra pride that he his logistics" Said Maj. Gen. Susan Davidson, Commanding General of the 8th Theater Sustainment Command.
"It was a huge point of pride to be able to represent well for my EOD brothers and sisters" said Miller. "To show that yes, we can do our jobs well, but that we can also perform our basic Soldier tasks well. That was a big thing for me."
Following his win, the newly promoted noncommissioned officer took some well-deserved leave with his family in various locations across the United States. However, at home, his new title didn't seem to change his status with his older sister and younger brother. "They're never going to think I'm cool, but that's alright," he joked.
"Hopefully this will encourage my family to do what they want to do and chase their dreams too. The Army has opened so many doors for me. My sister even said 'It's so weird to think you're the Soldier of the year, my little brother. She's going to have to get used to it."