Austin Miller – from Delta Force operator to 4-star General

Delta Force operators provide personal security for General Austin Miller; During his arrival to Kunduz Province, Afghanistan, 2019
Delta Force operators provide personal security for General Austin Miller; During his arrival to Kunduz Province, Afghanistan, 2019 (Photo: XY)

Austin Miller is an American 4-star general and legendary Delta Force captain who led Delta Force operators during Operation Gothic Serpent (Battle of Mogadishu). Austin Miller was portrayed in the Hollywood-blockbuster Black Hawk Down. Among that, he was among the first to enter Afghanistan in post 9/11 operations.

Today, Miller holds command of U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan (Resolute Support Mission). On a few occasions, he was the first commanding officer of the Joint Special Operations Command.

On October 18, 2018, Austin Miller was in the room at the governor’s compound in southern Kandahar when a Taliban gunman shot Abdul Raziq. Miller was not harmed, but drew his sidearm during the shooting, waited until the wounded were attended, and flew out with the casualties afterward, which included Brigadier General Jeffrey Smiley.

Early Life of Austin Miller

But, let’s go to the beginning. Austin Scott Miller was born in Honolulu, Hawaii on May 15, 1961. Directly after high school, he went to the United States Military Academy where he graduated in 1983. His first assignment was as an infantry officer in the United States Army.

Military Service

Shortly after he settled as an infantry officer, Miller attended Ranger School. Upon graduation, he was assigned a platoon in 3rd Battalion, 325th Infantry (Airborne), 82nd Airborne Division. Afterward, Austin Miller moved to 75th Ranger Regiment where he served as a platoon leader with A Company, 2nd Battalion (Ranger). He served in 75th Ranger Regiment from January 1986 to May 1987.

General Austin Miller brandishing Glock pistol at his hip
In this picture, Austin Miller, the 4-star general, appears to be carrying a Glock in a hip holster with a threaded barrel, and what looks like a red dot sight mounted on the slide. From the picture, it’s difficult to determine the model of the gun. (Photo: XY)

Austin Miller completed Infantry Officer Advanced Course in June 1989 and was assigned to South Korea as a Company Commander with 5th Battalion, 20th Infantry (Mechanized), 2nd Infantry Division, Eighth United States Army. Later he was an instructor at the Special Operations Division School of the Americas at Fort Benning Georgia.

Delta Force Selection

In 1992, Miller attended the Delta selection course and upon its completion was assigned to 1st Special Forces Operational Detachment – Delta (1st SFOD-D), or Delta Force at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In the next years, he moved through ranks and held numerous leadership positions including squadron operations officer, troop commander, selection and training commander, A Squadron commander, as well as deputy commander and a commanding officer from 2005 to 2007.

Miller participated in numerous combat operations during Operation Gothic Serpent in Somalia, Operation Joint Endeavor in Bosnia, Operation Enduring Freedom in Afghanistan and Operation Iraqi Freedom. In October 1993, Austin Miller was the ground force commander during the Battle of Mogadishu while Lieutenant Colonel Gary L. Harrell held operational command of C Squadron, 1st SFOD-D.

The events of that day had become portrayed in Ridley Scott’s Black Hawk Down.

High-ranking positions

  • Deputy Director for Special Operations, J-37, The Joint Staff, Washington, D.C (2008 to 2009)
  • Special assistant to the Director of the Joint Improvised Explosive Device Defeat Organization in Arlington, Virginia (September 2011 to August 2012)
  • a special assistant to the deputy commanding general, United States Special Operations Command in Washington D.C. (August 2012 to June 2013)
  • commanding general of the Combined Forces Special Operations Component Command in Afghanistan, or CFSOCC-A (June 2013 – June 2014)
  • the commanding general of the United States Army Maneuver Center of Excellence at Fort Benning (2014 – 2016)
  • the commanding general of the Joint Special Operations Command (2016 – 2018)
  • command of United States Forces — Afghanistan and the Resolute Support mission (2018 – present)

He is a graduate of the United States Army Command and General Staff College, the United States Marine Corps War College, and the Joint and Combined Warfighting School.

Awards and recommendations

Austin Miller’s awards and recommendations include the Distinguished Service Medal, the Defense Superior Service Medal, the Legion of Merit, the Bronze Star with combat ‘V’ device, and the Purple Heart.

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