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SAN DIEGO - Rear Adm. Cedric Pringle, commander of Expeditionary Strike Group 3, awarded Religious Program Specialist Seaman David Miller, assigned to the amphibious assault ship USS Bonhomme Richard (LHD 6), the Navy and Marine Corps Commendation Medal, April 26, for his heroic actions in disarming a woman with a weapon.
Miller was attending a church service Easter Sunday at Mt. Everest Academy in San Diego when a woman went up on stage, holding a gun in one hand and a young child in another. Miller, along with a few other men, was able to tackle and disarm the woman and take the child to safety.
“I’m glad I was able to do something, said Miller. “It was just lucky that everything ended up orchestrated the way it did.”
“It is rare that I have an opportunity to award an act of heroism like this,” said Pringle. “Happening only hours after the recent attack in Sri Lanka, the world took notice of this event and of Seaman Miller’s bravery. His act of faith, in spite of fear, has made a global impact and is a shining example of our Navy’s commitment to protect and defend.”
Miller said it was by chance that he ended up at the church that day. It was only a few minutes after he arrived when the incident took place.
“I originally wasn’t planning on going to the service,” said Miller. “I thought I would be volunteering all day but I had to leave early and I had the opportunity to go to church. It was a matter of two minutes. Had I gotten there any later then it would have already happened.”
"What RPSN Miller did was truly heroic,” said Capt. Rich LeBron, Bonhomme Richard’s commanding officer. “This is a prime example of what I always work to instill in my team, being 'Ready Now! Ready Always!' It's what I expect from all my Sailors. As military members, we are charged with protecting and defending, so I would hope that any Sailor placed in a situation like this would be able to make a solid assessment and make the safest and best decision possible. We are extremely proud of RPSN Miller and glad to see him recognized for his tremendous actions."
Miller said he is very grateful to have received the commendation medal and credits his actions and mindset to his Navy training.
“The attitude that has been instilled since boot camp is that we need to be prepared for whatever happens,” said Miller. “We are serving the country whether we are on liberty, or we are on the ship, or we are deployed, and this is our job. That idea has been instilled since day one, Capt. LeBron always tells the crew, ‘Ready Now! Ready Always!’ and I think that mindset was a big influence on what I did.”