BIDDLE AIR NATIONAL GUARD BASE, Pa. --
If you’ve pulled up to the front gate at Biddle Air National Guard Base in Horsham, Pennsylvania recently, you may have noticed a guard wearing a black patch embroidered with silver Air Assault Wings on his tactical vest.
That’s Sgt. Steven Miller, a native of Churchtown, Pennsylvania, who in addition to serving as an infantryman with the Pennsylvania Army National Guard’s 1st Battalion, 111th Regiment, also works as a security contractor on base.
Miller didn’t always have his eyes set on Air Assault Wings and a career in the Army Guard. He originally had his eyes set on college, never thinking he would ever be associated with the military.
“I told myself I was never going to join the military as a kid," said Miller. "After high school, I wanted to do something that is better and bigger than myself. I wanted to prove to myself that I’m fully capable of doing so much more for my country and my community.”
It was that desire to prove himself while serving his country that led Miller to enlisting in the military.
Though he originally believed the answer to his future was college, Miller said it was not until meeting a PAARNG recruiter that his mindset shifted to becoming a police officer.
“I knew I wanted to go to college,” said Miller. “But, I really didn't have a good way to afford it at the time. I met this Army National Guard recruiter, and he gave me a lot of good information. I thought that was just a really good and perfect fit for me.”
The COVID-19 pandemic was just getting started as Miller finished his initial training for the PAARNG.
“I was placed on orders to go help with the COVID-19 response operation over at the 56th Stryker Brigade Combat Team,” said Miller. “I worked in the tactical operations center…I provided relevant logistics and support to the lower battalions so they could accomplish the mission. I also was swabbing people for COVID tests.”
Pennsylvania Air National Guard Master Sgt. George Roach, 111th Attack Wing Public Affairs Superintendent, talked about Sgt. Miller’s motivation.
“When I first met then Specialist Miller during the COVID-19 response operations and I found out how young he was, I knew he was different than the other kids of that generation that I've been exposed to,” said Roach. “I was like, ‘Who is this kid? What's motivating him? And why is he doing what he's doing?’ Everybody else in that generation was being told to stay at home. They were sheltering in place. And yet, Miller was coming in doing his job.”
Miller spoke on how serving during the COVID-19 response prompted his thoughts about his future in policing.
“I knew in my heart I wanted to be a police officer on the civilian side,” said Miller. “My first team leader in the PAARNG also worked here with the 111th Security Forces Squadron. He told me about an opportunity where I could work and train with security forces.”
Senior Airman Tekalegn Magarahan, an Airman with the 111th SFS, and a coworker of Miller's, described what it is like working with someone who is in the PAARNG.
“He gets to take advantage of both worlds [Army and Air Force],” said Magarahan. “The training he receives from both branches will help him down the road to be a better police officer.”
Miller discussed how the day-to-day duties could sometimes be mundane, but taking life day-by-day promotes success in the long term.
“Sometimes the days are slow but I realize it's for a bigger necessity,” said Miller. “Community policing around the base making sure everyone is alright is a big part of it. Doing something inspiring and motivating others to do what they want to do, whether it's their job here, working out, or whatever people are passionate about. I love this career field and how much it means to me, serving my country, my community and doing all this crazy training that not a lot of people get the opportunity or privilege to do!"