Franklin D. Miller; Medal of Honor Winner
Franklin D. “Doug” Miller, 55, who earned a Medal of Honor in the Vietnam War by fighting off a daylong attack on his patrol despite his own wounds. Miller also received the Silver Star, two Bronze Stars, the Air Medal and six Purple Hearts. Gen. Henry H. Shelton, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, called him “an icon to what service in the armed forces is about.” Miller was a member of the Special Forces, popularly known as the Green Berets, and spent more than six years in Southeast Asia, rescuing soldiers in downed planes, searching for prisoners of war and doing reconnaissance work in Cambodia and Laos, and serving in combat in Vietnam. President Richard Nixon presented him the Medal of Honor, the nation’s highest award for valor, in 1971 for his actions on Jan. 5, 1970. Miller was leading a seven-man patrol of American soldiers and Montagnard tribesmen in Laos when a booby trap injured five of the men. It also alerted a North Vietnamese reconnaissance patrol, which launched an attack that continued through the day. During the exchange, every man in the patrol was wounded, including Miller, who was shot in the chest. The only man able to continue fighting, Miller held off the 30 North Vietnamese troops until nightfall, when a relief patrol rescued him and two other survivors. After Nixon handed him the medal, the president asked Miller where he would like to be assigned next. The answer was Vietnam, and Miller returned. Miller, who grew up in New Mexico, retired from the Army as a command sergeant major in 1992 and later worked as a benefits counselor with the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Bay Pines, Fla. On June 30 in St. Pete Beach, Fla., of pancreatic cancer.