From the Frontlines: Airman 1st Class Joshua Miller

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Montse Ramirez
  • 509th Bomb Wing Public Affairs
The explosive ordnance disposal career field places technicians in dangerous situations in which they safely handle live explosives on a daily basis. One Whiteman Airman performed such tasks in order to protect his fellow servicemembers and the Iraqi people.

Airman 1st Class Joshua Miller, 509th Civil Engineer Squadron explosive ordnance, disposal technician left this Air Force Global Strike Command Base from Sather Air Base, Iraq from January to August.

Master Sgt. Michael Shumate, 509th CES superintendent of EOD flight, said EOD operators perform a variety of mission both inside and outside the wire. Inside the wire; they are responsible for base recovery operations, training base populace and providing valuable evidence to the intelligence community to assist with targeting bomb makers. Outside the wire; they perform route clearance, improvised explosive device response, post blast analysis and cache clearance.

"I did everything from rendering safe IED's and collecting evidence to doing post- blast analysis," said Airman Miller. "I also disposed of more than 22,000 hazardous items totaling more than 9,700 pounds of explosives."

Airman Miller said he was attached to the U.S. Army's 4-2 Strike Brigade and also worked in partnership with the 6th Iraqi Army Bomb Disposal Company, teaching them robotics and techniques.

He said his deployment was unlike his mission here. Most of the work he did was outside of the wire, making his missions riskier.

Airman Miller's missions helped bring safety to not only other military members but also Iraqis. Airman Miller said he was deployed during the presidential elections, so during the voting process he worked over 48 hours straight, ensuring all areas were safe.

"Our job is to save lives, whether it is on-base from a rocket attack or outside the wire taking care of the dangerous road side bombs or caches," said Airman Miller. "By taking care of the explosives we mitigate the hazard to both the civilian population and coalition forces."

By removing hazards created by unexploded ordnance Airman Miller was able to transform dangerous situations into safe ones, saving many lives along the way.
He said he was on the last Air Force EOD combat rotation in Iraq, as part of the drawback phase.

Sergeant Shumate said Airman Miller is a great troop and is glad he returned.
"He is a solid performer," Sergeant Shumate said. "He consistently produces high quality work with minimal supervision. I know he will continue to do great things for his career field."

"I was happy to be back and see my wife, family and friends," Airman Miller said. "I missed them so much."