View Full Version : Local Marines Share Experiences That Lead to Vanguard Award

11-14-05, 06:20 AM
Local Marines Share Experiences That Lead to Vanguard Award
November 13, 2005
By Michelle DeGrand

He went from being a hero in the classroom, to a hero on the battlefield. A Boise math teacher turned Marine recently received an award in Washington, D.C.

It's a little-known award given by the Non-Commissioned Officer Association, but it means a great deal to recipient Luke Miller and the men he helped rescue in May. It's called the Military Vanguard Award, and is given to service members who risk their lives on or off-duty to save the life of another person.

Idaho Marine Reservist Sergeant Miller declined an on-camera interview with Local 2 News, but the man who spent what he thought could be the last moments of his life with Miller did want to share the heroism Miller showed that day that made him very deserving of the award.

The Military Vanguard Award is given each year to one service member from every branch of the armed services for a heroic act. The Marines selected Miller, who serves with the Charlie Company 4th Tank Battalion based at Gowen Field.

Sgt. Miller did express his gratitude for the honor in an e-mail to Local 2 News, saying "I am truly honored and humbled by the award and while I appreciate the recognition, I am overwhelmed by it."

His heroic act came on the morning of May 8th. Miller was in a convoy near the Syrian border when a bomb exploded under one of the tanks. Miller ran to the tank, helped lift two injured men to a helicopter, and stayed with fellow Boise Marine Lance Corporal Joe Lowe, who was paralyzed from the waist down, until the chopper could return for him.

Lowe also declined comment on camera, but told us the story from his home in Eagle.

"[Miller] said a prayer with me and I was so scared that I was asking him if I was going to go to Heaven and he was reassuring me that yes, I was," said Cpl. Lowe. But Lowe didn't go to Heaven that day. He fought through the ordeal and made it home, thanks in part, he says, to Miller.

"Having that support there, especially seeing his face down there is what gave me the motivation to try and get out of there," said Lowe.

Now, days after Miller accepted the prestigious award, Lowe says he is forever grateful.

"There's so much I wish that I could do for him and his wife and his family," said Lowe, "I feel forever indebted to them, his parents for raising such a great Christian man and his wife for sticking with him through the pre-deployment and deployment overseas to Iraq. I truly am indebted for the rest of my life."

Lowe is now recovering at his home in Eagle and Miller returned to his job as a Junior High teacher in Boise. He returned home from the Nation's Capital this weekend. He was also nominated for the Bronze Star.