As the nation celebrated its independence Tuesday, a Minden native was honored with his name placed on the Wall of Honor at Eagle Park on Turner’s Pond.
Brig. Gen. Leonard Miller, this year’s honoree, retired from the U.S. Army after nearly 30 years of service to the nation. Born in Minden on Valentine’s Day in 1941, Miller graduated from the Field Artillery Officer Basic Course at the Army’s artillery and missile school in Fort Sill, Oklahoma in 1964. In September 1964, he became the liaison officer for the Second Battalion, 27th Artillery, Third Armored Division.
Miller was assigned two tours in Germany and two tours in Vietnam, three tours in the Office of Legislative Liaison at the Pentagon and one tour with the Office of Joint Chiefs of Staff at the Pentagon.
“I was privileged to command all calibers of the field artillery tubes in the Army inventory, 105 mm howitzer battalion, 155 mm howitzer battery in Germany,” he said, “and in Vietnam, my battery was a composite 8 inch/175 mm battery.”
Miller graduated from Northwestern State University with degrees in electronic engineering and mathematics in 1964.
He was commissioned through the ROTC program and was commissioned to active duty in June 1964 at Fort Hood, Texas. He spent the next 30 years in the military before retiring in July 1993.
“I never intended to make a career of the military,” he said. “I tried to resign in 1967 and the very next day I got orders for Vietnam. Again, I tried to resign in 1968, and an officer from the personnel center called and congratulated me on the President authorizing an 18-month extension—my next duty station, Fort Benning, Georgia.”
Miller has lived all over the United States including Washington State, Virginia, Texas, New Mexico, Georgia, Oklahoma, Kansas and Louisiana.
For his service, Miller has been awarded several honors: the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster, Defense Meritorious Service Award with two Oak Leaf Clusters, Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Parachutist Badge, the Joint Chiefs of Staff Identification Badge and the Army Staff Identification Badge.
“Medals and awards are not important to me,” he noted. “Just knowing some of the guys whose names are on the Vietnam Memorial Wall is enough to keep memories alive. I must add that the military career is tough and demands a really supportive family.”
He again calls Minden his home, and he has been married to Mona Carolyn Hall Miller over 50 years. They have two children – Doy Michael and Mark Leonard and two granddaughters.
During a ceremony Tuesday evening, members of the American Legion Color Guard changed the flags at Eagle Park on Turner’s Pond. Each flag represents a branch of the U.S. military as well as those killed in action, missing in action and prisoners of war.
Those who served and gave the ultimate sacrifice were also honored.
In addition, the new water fountain on Turner’s Pond was dedicated as the old one was replaced with a new, state-of-the-art fountain.