Commander’s Highlights

Below is the continued story of Richard Miller’s military life.

I began my career with John Deere where I worked in production control. This is where I met the love of my life and future wife, Janell Klammer who also worked at John Deere. We were married in May of 1977 and lived in Waterloo. We had 3 children, Eric, Kyle, and Amanda.

In 1983 I joined the Navy Reserve and drilled at the Waterloo Reserve Center on Burton Avenue.

 In August 1990 Iraq invaded Kuwait and before the month was out, I was among the first Reserves from Waterloo recalled to active duty for a year in support of Operation Desert Shield/Storm. I received the call that I was being recalled early on a Saturday morning and by Tuesday I was heading to Camp Lejeune Marine Base for mobilization. I was assigned as the Leading Petty Officer working for the Master Chief in charge of Base clinic Operations. I was responsible for the administration of 176 Corpsmen. During this time, we processed over 35,000 Marines, most of which who were reserves that were recalled to active duty. I was released from active duty in the summer of 1991 and returned home to Iowa.

In the fall of 1992, I was sent to Honduras where I spent a brief tour on a jungle base in the interior. The main function of the base was to thwart insurgent activities and also to perform drug interdiction. They called it the “House that Ollie Built” since this is where Oliver North formed the Contras during the Iran Contra affair a few years earlier. I participated in some missions into a few towns and villages where we were able to provide much needed medical care to the villagers. The villages were very isolated and were comprised of stilt huts and dugout canoes as the means of transportation.

In 1993 we moved to Waverly on an acreage a few miles out of town. We loved being out in the country again and live there to this day.

In February of 2003, I was once again recalled to active duty. This time for the Iraqi Freedom campaign. Since I had additional training as a Combat field Medical Technician (which means I am trained to serve with Marines and provide medical care in a combat setting), I flew to New River Marine Air Station in North Carolina and was attached to Marine Wing Support Squadron 471, comprised of 500 Marines. I was the leading Chief of a 26-man Battalion Aid Station. Our mission was to provide medical care for our Marines but also to provide initial care for battlefield casualties and to stabilize the wounded for evacuation to the rear. We were to be part of the Northern invasion into Iraq but at the last-minute Turkey would not let us cross the border, so we were unable to participate. We spent the remainder of the year filling the role as a Rapid Deployment Team, able to respond to a worldwide crisis within 24 hours. I was released from active duty at the end of December and returned home at that time.

In 2007 I retired from the Navy with 28 years of service as a Chief Petty Officer. In 2013 I retired from the Industrial Engineering department at John Deere with 37 years of service.