Camp Mackall - Range 37 - Memorial

Range becomes lasting Memorial

Thursday, January 10, 2002

On Thanksgiving two years ago, Doug Miller was visiting with about 300 Special Forces candidates at Camp Mackall. He was dressed casually and not wearing his Medal of Honor around his neck.

Contributed photo/U.S. Special Operations Command
Maj. Gen. William G. Boykin presents an American Flag to Joshua Miller in honor of his father, Command Sgt. Maj. Franklin D. Miller.

‘‘The word spread rapidly who he was, what he had done, and it was a hard time just breaking away,’’ Maj. Gen. Kenneth R. Bowra said. ‘‘The soldiers were just attached to him, listening to him talking about the training.’’

On Saturday, Fort Bragg paid a permanent tribute to the Special Forces soldier who received the nation’s highest military honor.

Fort Bragg rededicated Range 37 in memory of Miller, who died in July 2000 at age 55.

The ceremony took place on the 32nd anniversary of the event for which he received the Medal of Honor. He was decorated for valor for his actions on Jan. 5, 1970, during a special operations patrol behind enemy lines in Laos, just across the border from Ben Het, South Vietnam.

Although he was seriously wounded, Miller single-handedly repelled enemy attacks until he and his soldiers were rescued from enemy-controlled jungle, the citation says. Miller recalled in a 1998 interview that it felt like being the only target with 100 people shooting at him.

Miller was born in Elizabeth City and grew up in New Mexico. He retired from the Army in 1991 as a command sergeant major, lived in St. Pete Beach and was a benefits counselor for the Department of Veterans Affairs.

‘‘Doug Miller was, even after his retirement, very, very interested in the training of our soldiers,’’ Bowra said. ‘‘Doug would take time to come out, to talk to our soldiers, to mentor, to teach.’’

photo MIller

Bowra is former commander of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School. Bowra is assigned to NATO as assistant chief of staff for operations and Allied Forces, North Europe, in the Netherlands.

The range, at MacRidge and Lamont roads, is used by Company D of the 2nd Battalion of the 1st Special Warfare Training Group of the John F. Kennedy Special Warfare Center and School.

Company D has used the range since 1992. It was known as the MacRidge Triangle Compound.

This compound contains classrooms, instruction and work areas, an arms room, an ammunition storage point, a weight room, offices, and student barracks.

Range 37 covers more than 100 acres and has live-fire training facilities as well as training areas for advanced marksmanship; explosive, ballistic and mechanical breaching; and rappelling.

Company D trains more than 300 special operations soldiers annually.