Local soldier killed in Afghanistan

January 28, 2008 9:09:52 PM PST
An Illinois soldier has been killed in Afghanistan.Army Staff Sergeant Robert Miller was shot during a firefight in a town near the Pakistan border Friday. He graduated from Wheaton North High School in 2002.

The teachers remember him as a strong student and also a good athlete. He was a member of the gymnastics team who qualified for state his senior year. And those who knew him say it was a terrible loss.

Miller loved gymnastics. He was captain of the Wheaton North High School state qualifying team. His coaches remained close with him since and remember his strong leadership quality.

"He's a phenomenal leader, he was not only a leader in what he did, but also the things he said. He really set a standard for, for our program," said coach Chad Downie.

Miller spent hours practicing at a private Wheaton gym, often staying until they closed. He grew up in Wheaton and graduated from wheaton north before going to college at Iowa for a year. But then he dropped out and decided to join the Army in 2003.

He received numerous commendations as a member of the elite Special Forces unit. He was also a green beret. He never talked much about the military in high school, but when his coach saw him last, that had changed.

"He was passionate about what he was doing in Afghanistan. He loved his job there, loved being in the military. He was intense and passionate about what he was doing," said Downie.

Miller's parents and siblings moved to Florida years ago, but the manager of the facility that he worked out in said he was such a responsible kid, he was the only high school kid she trusted with the keys to the gym. She said it is a great loss for the Army and for the entire country.

You can read more about this story in Tuesday's Daily Herald.

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