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SSgt Yuri Miller

Operation Enduring Freedom

April 6, 2010
Badghis, Afghanistan

Staff Sergeant Yuri Miller

Combat Controller

22nd Special Tactics Squadron

Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington

Staff Sergeant Yuri Miller deployed to Afghanistan for six months in February 2010 as a joint terminal attack controller attached to a U.S. special operations unit supporting the Afghan National Army in the Baghdis Province. On April 6, Sergeant Miller heroically fought enemy insurgents during a harrowing 10-hour firefight. 

After completing a night reconnaissance mission, Sergeant Miller’s patrol came under attack. Rocket-propelled grenades and heavy machine-gun fire from a fortified compound engulfed the patrol. Despite deteriorating weather conditions, small-arms fire, and rocket explosions, Sergeant Miller calmly called for close air support and provided enemy locations to the aircraft above. 

The patrol suffered multiple casualties. To regain the offensive, Sergeant Miller and other patrol members moved into the enemy compound, engaging targets at close range. Fighting heroically, another teammate was injured inside the compound. Sergeant Miller bravely exposed his position and took out the enemy with his grenade launcher, allowing his patrol to evacuate and treat their injured teammate. 

Discovering an extensive tunnel network, the commander realized the potential for further enemy reinforcements was great and he quickly decided to destroy the compound. Again, under heavy fire, Sergeant Miller obtained grid coordinates for each tunnel entrance while simultaneously radioing an Air Force B-1 bomber into position for the attack. 

Despite the bomber’s attack, the team came under heavy fire from enemy reinforcements while performing a battle damage assessment. Sergeant Miller returned fire at the swarming insurgents, intermittently taking pictures of the damage. The enemy continued to arrive – over 200 strong – bringing heavy fire along with them. Recognizing five enemy locations, Sergeant Miller again called the B-1 in for an attack. With Sergeant Miller’s precise coordinates, the bomber eliminated the threat. 

Sergeant Miller’s courageous actions and his ability to control airpower throughout this 10-hour engagement were decisive in killing more than 103 insurgents. Moreover, his valorous efforts singlehandedly saved the lives of 40 fellow service members. For his heroic efforts, he received the Bronze Star with Valor.

Silver Star Medal graphic for Combat Control Acts of Valor

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