Capital tribute: Col. Miller honored during House session

Published 4:06 am Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Local citizens who turned into C-SPAN on Tuesday, Sept. 25, might have recognized a familiar face during the broadcast of the U.S. House of Representatives chamber.

U.S. Rep. Dr. Ralph Abraham (R-La.) took time during that day’s morning session, at approximately 11 a.m., to make a special speech honoring Col. Bobby Miller of Bogalusa. While the congressman spoke, a large photo of Miller in military uniform was displayed on an easel next to Abraham.

Abraham spoke not only about Miller’s military career and achievements, but also his public service for Bogalusa — particularly through serving as chairman for Christmas in the Park and his work with the Venture Scouting program.

Abraham called Miller “a shining example of public service” and said, “we could always use a few more Col. Millers in whatever community we call home.”

“I’m not the type of person who likes to seek publicity,” Miller said. “I was appreciative of the remarks and everything. I was humbled. It wasn’t necessary.

“It’s not about me, it’s about helping young people and helping the community.”

Miller said he was able to watch the live broadcast on C-SPAN when Abraham spoke.

“I knew (Abraham) was going to talk about me, I just wasn’t sure exactly what he was going to say,” he said. “I just feel so humbled.”

Abraham’s speech about Miller was as follows:

“Mr. Speaker, I rise today to honor the life Lt. Col. Robert Miller, a veteran of the Marine Corps from Bogalusa, Louisiana, which I have the privilege to represent.

“Col. Miller went above and beyond to answer the call of service to his nation. He fought in three wars between 1945 and 1973, which included World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. He received three Purple Hearts during his time with the Marines, and some of his war experiences are quite impressive.

“While in Korea, American forces suffered enormous casualties due to bitter cold and frostbite, yet Col. Miller’s platoon did not suffer a single casualty. He was asked later how he protected his men and he shared with them a trick he’d learned from Delos Nobles, a homeless man from back home in Bogalusa.

“Mr. Nobles would line his clothes and shoes with old newspapers to block the cold. Col. Miller and his men asked friends and family to send them as much newspaper as they could get, and the results helped earn him a Battlefield Commission. Maybe fittingly, Col. Miller eventually earned a degree in journalism from the University of Maryland.

“Col. Miller also caught the eye of Marilyn Monroe while serving in Korea. His rifle platoon provided security for her when she visited the DMZ. She arranged a front-row seat for him at her show. She even gave him her phone number and told him to call when he got home from the war. He did, and the two went on to become great friends.

“Following his military service, Col. Miller started what is now known as Venture Scout Crew 313, which specializes on learning survival skills and winning national white water canoe races. That legacy includes 18 national championships in Open Cruisers, 27 national championships in Advanced Aluminums, and 26 national championships in the novice division.

“His scouts also serve as stretcher bearers during medical emergencies at LSU football games. There is a reason some of us joke that our Tigers are more like the Cardiac Cats. His work with youth garnered him national and international leadership awards.

“Col. Miller has stayed active throughout his long life as a member of the local Lions Club and chairman of the Christmas in Cassidy Park in Bogalusa.

“He is a shining example of public service — someone who puts country and community first. We could always use a few more Col. Millers in whatever community we call home, and I thank him for all he has done for Bogalusa and the United States.

“Thank you Mr. Speaker, I yield back.”