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Hardly a person in America has not heard of Private Jessica Lynch. But if it weren’t for the heroic efforts of a much less known soldier, Lynch would have been a statistic – killed in action -- instead of the subject of headlines, a movie and a book. Mike Wallace interviews Pfc. Patrick Miller, awarded a Silver Star for action that saved the life of Lynch and several others near her, in a report to be broadcast on 60 MINUTES Sunday, Nov. 9 (7:00-8:00 PM, ET/PT) on the CBS Television Network.
Re: OIF Ex-POW Receives Silver Star

From: POW-MIA InterNetwork

Date: July 12, 2003

"Local POW awarded Silver Star

For the first time, the Army offers a glimpse of Pfc. Patrick Miller's heroism during the attack and his captivity.

BY JOE RODRIGUEZ The Wichita Eagle

Pfc. Patrick Miller stood his ground in battle with a malfunctioning weapon, feeding bullets into it by hand to protect two wounded comrades. Even after he was captured, he foiled his captors' attempts to get his radio frequency codes.

For such actions, recounted in a release by the U.S. Army, Miller, a Valley Center native, was awarded the Silver Star -- the third-highest military award for heroism in combat.

Miller, 23, also received a Purple Heart and Prisoner of War medals July 2 during an Independence Day celebration at Fort Bliss, Texas.

"I'm not real worried about awards," Miller said Friday from his home at Fort Bliss in El Paso, Texas. "The way I look at it, I did my job."

Miller spent three weeks as a prisoner of war in Iraq with four other prisoners before Marines rescued them April 13.

In presenting the awards, the U.S. Army for the first time offered a glimpse into Miller's actions after his unit came under attack near An Nasiriyah in Iraq.

The Army release said Miller jumped from his vehicle and began firing on a mortar position that he believed was about to open fire on his convoy.

After he was captured, he was repeatedly questioned about radio frequencies that were written on pieces of paper inside his helmet.

"Thinking on his feet, Pfc. Miller told his captors that they were prices for water pumps," the release said. "Disgusted, the captors threw frequencies and his helmet into the fire."

Miller said Friday that he had read, but could not comment on, a report describing the attack on his unit. The report was leaked this week to the El Paso Times. According to the report, Miller may have killed as many as nine Iraqi fighters before he was captured.

The report also said that human error, stress and fatigue contributed to the attack on the 507th Maintenance Company, the death of 11 U.S. soldiers, and that the 33 soldiers "fought the best they could until there was no longer a means to resist."

It said a navigational error caused the 507th to come under enemy fire and that the ambush lasted 60 to 90 minutes.

Miller was driving with Pfc. Brandon Sloan and Sgt. James Riley when enemy fire struck and killed Sloan and disabled their truck, according to the report.

The report said Miller fired at the Iraqis several times before being surrounded and captured.

Reach Joe Rodriguez at 268-6644 or"


"Kansan earns Silver Star for bravery in Iraq ambush
The Associated Press

Saturday, July 12, 2003

Wichita — Pfc. Patrick Miller has been awarded the Silver Star for his efforts during a fatal ambush in southern Iraq that ended with 11 U.S. soldiers killed and six captured.

Miller, 23, of Valley Center, may have killed as many as nine Iraqi fighters before he and the five other soldiers were taken captive by the Iraqis, a U.S. Army report says.

The report also says that mistakes and malfunctions led the Army's 507th Maintenance Co. into the ambush on March 23 -- the third day of the war.

More than three dozen medals have been awarded to soldiers in the ambush, including Bronze Stars, Purple Hearts and Prisoner of War Medals, officials said. Miller was the only one to receive the Silver Star, which is awarded for bravery in combat.

The report assigns no individual blame but it makes clear that trouble began when the unit's commander, Capt. Troy King, took the wrong route. That mistake put his convoy of 33 soldiers in 18 vehicles on a path to tragedy.

It said the unprecedented speed of the U.S. ground advance from assault positions in northern Kuwait was a contributing factor because it overextended the 507th support convoy's communications.

Of 33 people and 18 vehicles ambushed, only 16 soldiers in eight vehicles got away, the report said. Two soldiers in the convoy were from the 3rd Forward Support Battalion and are among the 11 killed. It was the deadliest day of the Iraq war for U.S. forces.

Miller was released with four other POWs April 13.
AP Photo
Former prisoner of war Patrick Miller, of Wichita, has been honored with the Silver Star for bravery during an ambush in Iraq. Miller, a member of the 507th Maintenance Company from Fort Bliss, Texas, threw the ceremonial first pitch Thursday at a Texas League baseball game in El Paso, Texas.

Copyright © 2003 The Lawrence Journal-World"

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