FORT IRWIN, Calif.— Lt. Col. Richard Miller, commander
of 2nd Battalion, 222nd Field
Artillery, Utah National Guard, will soon be leading his
unit in combat in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom.
In peacetime, batteries of the 2-222nd are
scattered among the cities of Richfield, Beaver, Cedar
City and St. George, Utah. Now mobilized, they have
completed their training at Camp Shelby, Miss., and Fort
Irwin, Calif. After a few days home on leave in Utah
they are now back at Camp Shelby making final
preparations to ship out to Iraq later this month.
Miller, a former Reserve Office Training Corps (ROTC)
professor at Southern Utah University (SUU) in Cedar
City, is taking along a little help in the form of 12
lieutenants who studied under him as cadets in the SUU
Calling themselves—among other things not fit to
print—Miller & Sons, Spawns of Miller, Miller’s
Offspring, and Miller’s Cadets, these lieutenants
recently assigned to the 2-222nd have formed
with their commander a tight-knit group of leaders who
know what to expect from each other and how to handle
any task that may come their way.
As for Miller, he is no stranger to the 2-222nd.
He enlisted as a 13F (Forward Observer) with the Triple
Deuce in 1981. After achieving the rank of specialist he
went to Officer Candidate School (OCS), received his
commission and fulfilled multiple other positions in the
battalion. He did everything to include serving as the
Fire Direction Officer for Bravo Battery, battalion
executive officer, and Service Battery commander.
Miller then spent four years as an associate professor
of military science at SUU. But when he started that
assignment he didn’t just step into an existing program;
he and a few others had to start from scratch.
Photo by Spc. Kelly
Miller concentrates on guidance he is receiving
the 222nd's training missions while at the National
Training Center in Ft. Irwin, Calif.
Recognizing a need for getting additional officers
commissioned for service in the Utah National Guard,
Miller, along with Sgt. Maj. Joseph Spencer and Sgt. 1st
Class Paul Fallon, went to the SUU administration to
propose the launching of a new ROTC program with an
all-National Guard cadre.
“The three of us went to SUU and met with the faculty
and put together the charter with the Utah Guard and the
partnership with the school,” Miller said. “We were the
first [all-National Guard] program to start in Utah. In
fact, I think we were the first or second program in the
nation to do this.”
Miller had 32 cadets the first year, and since then the
number of Soldiers in the program has remained between
35 and 45.
Their university days now a distant memory, Miller’s
lieutenants are adjusting to the realities of preparing
for combat. When asked about what it is like to serve
with Miller and his fellow ROTC graduates in an actual
wartime situation, 2nd Lt. Warren Matlock is
“I’m pretty excited about it. It makes for a tighter
cohesive unit because Lt. Col. Miller knows us,” Matlock
said. “He knows our strengths and weaknesses. It helps
to build a stronger leadership core to help lead the
1st Lt. Phillip K. Ogden was equally generous
in his praise of Lt. Col. Miller as a mentor and
“I don’t think I would have any other person as my
commander for this deployment. It’s been interesting to
see his command philosophy and to see what he’s taught
us and actually see it be put into play,” Ogden said.
“He’s been giving us a great example here and leading
the way for us. I can see that he is just continuing
what he taught us in doing what he is doing now,” he
One of Miller’s more seasoned cadets, six-year Guard
veteran 1st Lt. Christopher L. Smith knows
that his leader will hold his officers to a high
Photo by Spc. Kelly
Lt. Chris Smith, left, and 2nd Lt.
Clayton Anderson rest
before heading out on
next mission at Ft. Irwin, Calif.
Both were ROTC cadets that trained under Miller at
“Lt. Col. Miller is a good guy and a really good
commander. He’s been challenging and he pushes you to
do the best you can. You have to give him 110 percent,”
Miller reciprocates the respect given him by his
lieutenants and is pleased with how much they have grown
“These twelve lieutenants we’ve got in the battalion
have done really well. They did well as cadets too,”
Miller said. “They are able to take those skills and
those things they learned and now apply them to the
battalion. It’s very comforting to know that what we
did as [an ROTC] staff paid off.”
For these lieutenants, their ROTC instruction has long
been complete, but now they are the ones offering
leadership instruction to their Soldiers in the Triple
When I caught up to the 2-222nd at Fort Irwin
recently they were completing some desert-environment
training in ‘The Box’ before heading over to the Middle
East. The Box is a smaller version of the ‘Sand Box,’
which is how Soldiers refer to Iraq and Kuwait.
The conditions in the Box at Fort Irwin were designed to
be very similar to those which Soldiers will face very
soon. They had the heat to deal with and also the dust
and sand that is everywhere and gets into everything.
Living in large 100-man tents, members of the Triple
Deuce showed extreme tan lines on their faces from
wearing Kevlar helmets and sunglasses out in the desert
Photo by Spc. Kelly
Soldiers from the 222nd wait before dusk to receive
fulfill their night missions of patrolling
their mock Iraqi village.
They were trained on
what they would encounter while deployed
Ft. Irwin, Calif. was an excellent training facility
them for the dust and heat they will
experience on a daily basis.
The evenings cooled down enough for Soldiers to try and
recuperate from their missions during the day. They
rested on their cots with the sides of the tents pulled
up to allow air to flow through. Others continued on
with night missions and then tried to rest in the heat
of the day.
As a visitor to the FOB (Forward Operating Base) leaders
of the Triple Deuce scrounged up an extra cot for me to
My plan had been to return to my off-post quarters, but
transportation restrictions prevented me from doing so.
I had no gear with me, so I wrapped up on my cot as best
I could and drifted off to sleep.
As the night progressed, the outside temperature dropped
dozens of degrees. I actually started shivering and
pulled my blouse top over me to get
I awoke later in the night and
realized that someone had covered me with their sleeping
bag. It wasn’t until the next morning that I found out
who my benefactor was. When I questioned the Soldiers
around me I was informed that Lt. Col. Miller himself
had personally tucked me in so that I could sleep.
to say, I am in complete agreement with Miller’s
lieutenants on what kind of leader he is. I was deeply
impressed with this man. He struck me as an individual
who would take care of his Soldiers, and I’m confident
that he will do exactly that for the next year and bring
them home safe.
Photo by Spc. Kelly
Col. Miller, left, with his brother
who is a
sergeant first class in the 222nd.