Exclusive Veteran Interview: Former Green Beret Jeremy Miller

Pushing His Limits In and Out of the Army

Unlike Clint Eastwood’s line in the movie Magnum Force, “a man’s got to know his limitations,” Jeremy Miller has long pushed his own envelope. After high school graduation in 1988 he enlisted in the U.S. Army to become a member of the Army band. Miller soon seized the opportunity and challenge of becoming a Green Beret, in the Special Forces. He was fortunate to make it through selection and the Q-course as an 18E “communications” MOS (job), then language school for Farsi. He was assigned to 5th Special Forces Group and just as soon as he arrived, he was deployed to Somalia and later to Kuwait.

“Even as a kid I always tried my hand in a lot of endeavors, looking to go big, and the opportunity to serve our country as a Green Beret was that” said Miller, 52.

While Special Forces soldiers are crossed-trained in the other MOS’s on the Team, Miller’s primary duties were to oversee all communication training, and supervision and maintenance of communications – including cryptology, satellite, radio and internet.

He left active duty at the end of 1996 and joined A Co 2/20th Special Forces Group, National Guard for two years and exited in 1998. He launched a real estate business and a web development company, along with other entrepreneurial pursuits. In late 2007, he rejoined the fight.

“I still had a lot of buddies serving and wanted to go back and do my part to help them” said Miller, an Indiana native. He was assigned to A Co 2/20th Special Forces Group at the same rank and duties as his previous enlistment. While deployed to Afghanistan in 2009 he soon played an after-the-fact part in two milestones in military history, one of which was made into a book and movie.

The Battle of Ganjgal in September, 2009 saw Taliban fighters ambush American and Afghan forces in a deadly nine-hour battle that resulted in numerous American and Afghan casualties. The defeat was partially blamed on Afghan Army informants and a lack of air support due to the “rules of engagement” protocol of that time. Bravery under a dire situation brought the Medal of Honor to two American soldiers, Army Captain William D. Swenson and Marine Corporal Dakota L. Meyer. Miller and his team arrived just after as part of a clean-up operation, and to search out any remaining Taliban and remaining fighting-age males.

Less than a month later Miller served in another clean-up operation after a deadly battle at American Combat Outpost Keating near the town of Kamdesh in Afghanistan, which was attacked by more than 400 Taliban soldiers. The base was eventually abandoned, but American Staff Sergeants Clinton L. Romesha and Ty M. Carter received the Medal of Honor for their actions. The struggle was depicted in the book “The Outpost: An Untold Story of American Valor” by Jake Tapper in 2012 and “The Outpost” film in 2020, starring Clint Eastwood’s son, Scott Eastwood.

“Our unit wasn’t directly involved in either battle. As fate would have it again, just after the fighting ended, our team along with two other teams and 100 Commandos arrived to clear remaining fighting-age males from the area. We were not set up as their QRF (quick reaction force). It was almost like we were the quick SLOW reaction force – as such we just missed both fights.”

“Going back to serve after a ten-year break in service for me was not about medals or rank, but to serve our country, support my fellow soldiers and just do my part. I did that and then got back out of the service.”

Miller continues to do his duty to support his fellow Green Berets, this time as President of the Special Forces Association Chapter 500 in Indiana, where he oversees programs that provide support to veterans and their families, including transition to civilian life. He attended the Special Forces Association’s Annual Convention in Colorado Springs September 21-25. The Convention was managed by Armed Forces Reunions (AFR), the nation’s leading military event planner for over 30 years. Over 850 veterans, families and friends took part in the festivities, remembrances, and tributes to the fallen.

“The Convention was an exceptional event; we had four living medal of honor recipients, two of which shared their stories. While both a somber and enlightening reunion, there was time for camaraderie, trading stories and honoring those we’ve lost. We also had the privilege of sharing time with generations of Special Forces Association members and looking at how we’ve evolved over the years. Chapter 500 has the pleasure of hosting next year’s Convention in Indianapolis, and of course AFR will be planning that.”

Miller again expanded his boundaries with the launch of Lionfish Cyber Security in 2018. Named after the predatory ocean creature, not unlike today’s computer hackers, the company helps businesses defend themselves in the cyber war. As CEO he relies on communications skills from the army and his entrepreneurial expertise to help clients protect themselves against cybercrime here and abroad. Miller and his staff employ the By-With-Through model he learned in the Special Forces.

“You get to help these businesses stand on their own, like we tried to do for the Afghanistan army, working by-with-and-through them to help protect them from the enemy. The cyber threat is growing every day, not only for businesses but our national security. We have a critical job to tackle.”

Miller’s future goals are to grow Lionfish to serve more firms both in America and globally,  and continue his ardent support of veterans through Indiana Chapter 500. He is also a board member of several non-profit organizations. When not working or volunteering, Miller has had a long passion for pushing himself. In 2017 he did three Ultra Marathons, including running a 240-mile course through MOAB Utah, the MOAB240. After two recent left hip replacements, “I’m in a holding pattern now, but I’ll be back on the trails,” said Miller, who lives with wife Jenelle in Westfield and has two daughters Isabelle and Alayna, both in college. “In all aspects of life, if you set boundaries too low, you’ll probably end up there. I would rather shoot for the stars and if I miss, land on the moon”

By Scott B. McCaskey, Creative Writer for Armed Forces Reunions, Inc. and AFR Tours.

Top Reunion Destination: Savannah

Georgia Queen Riverboat

Rich history and culture, plenty of close military ties, easy to travel to and from, an abundance of activities and group tours available, southern charm, and a quaint waterfront. Savannah has long been a favorite destination for military reunion groups for all these reasons and more.

Historic Downtown

It has always been a city rich in history and culture, and has America’s finest ‘living’ collection of eighteenth and nineteenth century buildings.  Discover Savannah’s garden-like public squares, the crown jewels of General Oglethorpe’s planned city.  Beautiful streets and squares reveal more than 250 years of history, displayed in exquisite ironwork, ancient cobblestones, splendid mansions, and picturesque cottages.  On the waterfront you will discover cobblestone-paved Factors Walk and River Street, where old cotton warehouses have been converted into shops, taverns, restaurants, and museums.  Visit historic Tybee Island, Savannah’s quiet beach community and stop at the Tybee Island Lighthouse and Museum.  Not just for the historian, everyone will enjoy the refreshing ocean breezes while viewing the natural beauty and coastal wildlife. Visit Old Fort Jackson, Georgia’s oldest standing brick fortification and a National Historic Landmark, with cannon firings and daily interactive programs.

Many reunion groups go to Savannah for the tourism and southern beach vibes that make it more vacation-like. It can be easy to forget about your military ties with so much to see and do. Although you can’t name a major base that calls Savannah home, there’s a draw for groups of every branch of service in the area.

Old Fort Jackson

Army veterans? Hunter Army Airfield is in the heart of Savannah and supports the 3rd Infantry Division at nearby Fort Stewart. Hunter Army Airfield features a nearly 12,000-foot-long runway and over 350 acres for aircraft. It’s also home to airmen, coast guardsmen of CG Air Station Savannah, and marines. If you’re planning on a return to old stomping grounds at Fort Stewart, Savannah would be the place to host the reunion.

Speaking of Marines, Savannah is one of the most popular reunion destinations in the country. Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island is just under an hour away where they “Make Marines”. Many times, reunions are about returning to your roots, what a better place to return to than where you were Made A Marine?

Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum

Served in the Air Force? The most famous air force unit ever was activated here in 1942. The Eighth Air Force left Savannah for the United Kingdom in the spring of 1942, where they led the offensive operations against Nazi-occupied Europe. Today, The Mighty Eighth Air Force Museum features over 90,000 sq ft of exhibits, interactive displays, historical artifacts, and a fabulous collection of aviation art. This is a must-see for groups from every branch.

You Navy vets may opt for nearby Charleston when looking for a southern coastal destination. It’s hard to ignore Patriot’s Point and Ft. Sumter. You won’t find a fleet of vessels in Savannah, but what you will find is a rich naval and maritime history that’s hard to top. If you’re looking for a new destination rather than returning to the same handful, Savannah is a perfect one to start with.

There’s something for every reunion group in Savannah. Maybe the most important part about Savannah is with so much tourism available, getting permission from the spouses to attend should be a piece of cake!

Give us a call today to talk about your group’s next reunion, and get the scoop on hotel rates, best times of year to visit, and things to do and see while you’re there. We have robust array of services and offer solutions to groups of all sizes.

If your group is 100 total attendees or less, get started right now by going to www.BookMyReunion.com/Savannah and submit the Get A Proposal form. You will be connected directly to THE best hotels in Savannah for military reunions that also accept AFR’s Risk Free Military Reunion Hotel Contract! This eliminates the financial risk in hotel contracts of Room Attrition and Food & Beverage Minimums. Don’t stress out about meeting your numbers or getting a big penalty after the reunion, work with Armed Forces Reunions, Inc. and get a professional on your side.

 

Charley Dey

charley@afri.com

757-625-6401

Top Reunion Destination: Dallas

We have waited a long time to write this article. There’s no other city that has been requested more in over 30 years, that we have had to steer groups away from, then Dallas. Since we started in 1988 military reunion groups have been asking us “what do you have in Dallas?”. It checks off all the important marks for a good reunion city: centrally located from anywhere in the country, tons of airfare to Dallas at reasonable costs, easy transportation, great group tour options and activities, and has good hotel rates available. But what about the hosptiatlity room?? To AFR, having a large hospitality room in the hotel’s function space, where you have enough room to spread out with round tables for seating for all attendees, tables for memorabilia, AND the ability to provide your own snacks, beverages, and alcohol to self-serve – is THE KEY to a successful reunion. Almost all reunion groups require this from their host hotel, so AFR has never suggested cities where this is not available. For almost 35 years, Dallas was one of those cities. There have simply never been hotels willing to allow the hospitality room reunions want- Until now.

Sixth Floor Museum

At Armed Forces Reunions, Inc., we are booking military reunions all over the country year-round. We have a constant pulse on what hotels in what cities not only allow the hospitality room you want, but meet all the other “reunion-friendly” hotel conditions: low rates for veterans, discounts on banquet menus and hotel restaurants, conveniently located for transportation, free meeting space, low or no risk to your association, waived deposits, and offering a long list of complimentary items from sleeping rooms to AV. And of course, the city should have great group tour options, some ties to the military, and be convenient to travel to. We’re constantly doing the due-diligence necessary, so when you call us, you can be sure you’re getting the best and most up to date options and knowledge.

Cavanaugh Flight Museum

It will be hard to beat Dallas now there are a couple hotels that can accommodate your hospitality room. Once we get your hotel settled, there is so much to do and see between Dallas and Fort Worth to plan for your group. A few days could be spent exploring downtown Dallas alone, whether it’s in Historic West End District or Dealy Plaza where you’ll find Dallas’ #1 visitor attraction – The Sixth Floor Museum. It’s located in the former Texas School Depository and showcases the life, death, and legacy of President John F. Kennedy. A short drive away is Fort Worth, or “Cowtown”. You could describe it as Dallas’ wild west counterpart. A must-see for any group here is the Fort Worth Stockyards. They have authentic Old West shops and restaurants, wild west shows, rodeos, and concerts all year at the Cowtown Coliseum, and don’t miss the daily Longhorn Cattle Drive through the middle of town! If you feel like venturing further outside of DFW, plan a group trip up to the Cavanaugh Flight Museum to see one of the largest private collections of war birds from WWII to Vietnam eras, and make a stop in Grapevine on your way back. Historic Grapevine gives your group a great opportunity for lunch and shopping in the dozens of antique shops, boutique, and restaurants on Main Street. Most of the art, wine, and music festivals in the DFW area are held in Grapevine.

Whether you’re a DFW local volunteer for your group, your group’s chair every year, or been tasked by your chair to research hotels in the area – give us a call today and we’ll guide you directly to THE best hotels in the Dallas area for a military reunion.

If your group is 100 total attendees or less, get started now by visiting www.BookMyReunion.com/Dallas and submit the Get A Proposal form, our hotel partners that accept AFR’s Risk Free Military Reunion Hotel Contract will connect with you directly within a few business days. Using AFR’s hotel contract will eliminate the Room Attrition clause and Food & Beverage Minimum, which is the financial risk with hotel contracts. Don’t stress about having a big penalty for not meeting your numbers for rooms and meals, get the nation’s leading military reunion planner on your side and just worry about having a good time.

 

Charley Dey

charley@afri.com

757-625-6401

20th Anniversary of Iraq Reunions

Two F-15 Eagles deploy flares after receiving fuel from a KC-135 Stratotanker in support of Operation Inherent Resolve over Iraq

2023 is going to be a very important year for all military reunion associations and groups, and all veterans for that matter. Whether you’re the reunion chair for your group or a veteran looking to join an association or start one of your own – Armed Forces Reunions, Inc. is glad to help make your next reunion the best yet, or your first reunion one to remember. Each generation of American veterans before you, starting with the Greatest Generation, have relied on our expertise and buying power to make sure that anyone who wants to attend can afford to attend, and that the attendees leave begging you to start planning the next one.

4th ID soldiers conduct a live-fire mortar exercise at Al Asad Air Base

Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of our troops being deployed to Iraq. You don’t have to ask a reunion association what the biggest challenge they are facing is, the answer is almost always the same: getting the next generation of veterans involved to carry on your association, your reunions, and your brotherhood. So many associations have units that are still active or were active during the War on Terror, and these young veterans have a huge appetite to attend reunions or even to start reunion groups of their own. There has not been a better opportunity before to get this generation involved in your association, and this is the best opportunity you will have for a while.

Our suggestion to any reunion association for 2023 is to make the ‘20th Anniversary of Iraq’ your reunion theme and make a big effort to have younger veterans attend. Armed Forces Reunions, Inc. has planned many reunions centered around such a theme of anniversaries or dates significant to a particular unit in our almost 35 years of reunion planning. The ones that immediately come to mind are the reunions we planned around the 60th Anniversary of the Korean War. We had the Korean War Veterans Association, Korean Ex-POW Association, and the 196th Light Infantry Brigade in DC all at the same time. We bused thousands of veterans to and from the Mall for memorial services, and even President Obama was speaking. Another would be the Centennial Celebration of Marine Air for the Marine Corps Aviation Association also in DC. There are too many others to mention here, but the point is that when reunion associations are looking to hold their biggest and baddest reunion – they come to Armed Forces Reunions, Inc. to get the results delivered.

101st Airborne Division soldiers fire M777 Howitzer at Qayyarah West Airfield

If you’re a veteran of Iraq and looking to attend your unit’s reunion for the first time, google “ ‘your unit name’ reunion” and you should find it if there is one. You can also find reunion listings online at www.legion.org/reunions, as well as a few other websites that list reunions that can be found easily. If you don’t see a reunion group for your unit – start one! It’s not as complicated as you think, and every reunion association alive today was started by a veteran or a few veterans like yourself that just wanted to get back together with their brothers and sisters from service. It’s much easier today than it was decades ago when we got started. The internet has made everything so easy and accessible; reunion groups today start with simply a Facebook page. Invite the veterans from your unit you know, have them invite the ones they know, and so on. You’ll be amazed what will happen when you all get in one place again.

Once you have a good amount of people in your group, give us a call to talk about the next steps. Also check out our blogs How to Start a Military Reunion Group and How to Plan A Military Reunion for more tips and best practices as you get started.

At Armed Forces Reunions, Inc. we take great pride in serving this nation’s veterans. We’re a small, family owned and operated business that has a deep understanding of veterans and the needs of veteran groups. Whether you jumped out of planes, flew aircraft, fired artillery, sped tanks through the desert, were boots on the ground in close combat, handled communications, logistics, or changed tires – your service matters and won’t be forgotten.

 

Charley Dey

757-625-6401

charley@afri.com

Top Reunion Destination: Washington, D.C.

Endless Reasons to Visit the Nation’s Capitol

Reunion at WWII Memorial

Most military reunion groups have visited our Nation’s Capital at some point, and many have visited multiple times for good reason.  Armed Forces Reunions, Inc. has planned so many reunions and major events in Washington DC since 1988 it is hard to count them all. In 2014 we hosted the Korean War Veterans Association and the Korean War Ex-POW Association for the 60th Korean War anniversary celebrations on the Mall.  That was quite a feat with the complete lockdown of the Mall due to President Obama’s presence at the Korean War Memorial, requiring multiple meetings with White House Secret Security.  Thankfully the Mall opened back up to the public later that same day as we moved in over 1,000 vets and family members for the 196th Light Infantry Brigade’s memorial service at the Vietnam Memorial.

In 2012 we planned the Centennial Celebration of Marine Corps Aviation, in conjunction with an event we have long planned – the Marine Corps Aviation Association’s Annual Symposium. We have already booked the Americal Division reunion for 2023 in order to visit the new National Museum of the US Army, and we have gotten requests from many smaller groups to do the same. The year after the World War II Memorial opened, we hosted 18 reunions in DC from 50 to 2,000 attendees – that was the peak year in our thirty-plus years of planning reunions in DC.

Next year is a special and important one for all reunion groups. 2023 is the 20th anniversary of the War in Iraq, our first troops deployed to Iraq in March of 2003. If there is one common goal all reunion associations have in common after the pandemic – it’s to recruit the next generation of young veterans so your association lives on and continues holding reunions. It’s hard to think of a better opportunity to do this than a 20th Anniversary of Iraq Reunion in DC.

No matter what branch of the service your group is from, let AFR guide you to the perfect reunion in our Nation’s Capital. Give us a call today to talk about your initial plans and how to set up the most successful reunion your association has held yet.

If your group is 100 attendees or less, get started by going to BookMyReunion.com/Washington-DC and submit the Get A Proposal form. THE best hotels in the DC area for a military reunion will reach out directly to you within a few days. We have partnered with them all for over 30 years and each of these hotels accept AFR’s Risk Free Military Reunion Hotel Contract, with No Room Attrition or Food & Beverage Minimums! Get the best for your members while protecting your association from unnecessary risk in the hotel contract, and just make your life easier! There’s no need to work through a Convention or Visitors Bureau and get 10 or more proposals. Hit the Easy Button and work with The National Reunion Bureau – Armed Forces Reunions, Inc.

Charley Dey

charley@afri.com

757-625-6401