Local Aguanga resident and Navy veteran Randy Miller is known as father and husband who is a soft-spoken, kind and generous family man.
He joined the Navy in 2000, enlisting for the long term. He retired as a 1st Class Petty Officer in 2018.
“My job in the Navy was as a damage controlman, and my primary job was to maintain and repair various life-saving and shipboard firefighting equipment and other damage control equipment,” Miller said. “The most important job I had was training the crew on damage control so that if we had some sort of casualty event on board, we would be able to handle it. There isn’t a fire department at sea.”
Navy damage controlmen work on ship stability, firefighting, fire prevention and chemical, biological and radiological warfare defense. They also instruct personnel in the methods used and repair damage control equipment and systems. The Navy’s damage controlmen are assigned to ships of all types. In a typical 20-year period in the Navy, they spend about 65% of their time at sea and about 35% on shore duty. Upon completing sea tours, damage controlmen will be assigned to shore duty in fleet concentration areas.
Miller was deployed four times during his career, going to sea on various ships.
The first two deployments were aboard the guided-missile destroyer USS O’Kane, patrolling the Persian Gulf. For Miller’s third deployment, he was assigned to the Ticonderoga class guided-missile cruiser USS Lake Erie in the western Pacific. Lastly, he was deployed aboard the USS Lake Champlain, a Ticonderoga-class guided missile cruiser, also in the western Pacific.
It was not all work and no play, however, he said. Blowing off steam from being ship bound for long stretches of time was also part of the sea life.
“When I was on my second deployment, we made a port call into Townsville, Australia, and one of the things I was able to do was to go whitewater rafting,” Miller said. “About half the people on the ship went rafting that day, and I remember having water fights and trying to flip the other rafts over and basically just having a blast. The esprit de corps that we made last to this day.”
Miller met his wife Teresa on the last day of November in 1999. They were married Sept. 15, 2000. Teresa Miller became a Navy wife, holding down the household while her husband was away for months at a time.
“We have four kids and one granddaughter,” Randy Miller said. “Marissa is our oldest at 22 and is married with a baby. I love being a grandpa. Trenton is 20 and is currently living in Florida. Logan is 17 and is a junior at Hamilton High School. Ashlyn is 15 and is a sophomore at Hamilton. I am so proud of my kids – being in the service has kept me away for so long and I really do enjoy spending time with them.”
In 2014, the Millers moved to Lake Riverside Estates. Upon his retirement from the Navy in 2018, Miller is now attending school and spending as much time as he can with his family. He can be seen at high school sporting events cheering on the athletes.
“Overall I enjoyed my time in the service, I saw some amazing places and met so many incredible people,” he said.
Diane Sieker can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.