This page is a tribute to the late Zachariah Robert Miller from Sandy Lake, (Mercer County) Pennsylvania. This is a part of West Point Parents Club of Western Pennsylvania. A 2002 United States Military Academy graduate and U.S. Army Second Lieutenant, Zac Miller's achievements and person were nothing short of tremendous. This page is dedicated to Zac Miller and will be a work in progress. Without a doubt, he is among the best of the best! It is hoped that anyone who has the desire to attend West Point, reads this and will perhaps use Lt. Miller as a role model.
Zac Miller in the United States Military Academy dress white uniform.
Second Lieutenant Zachariah R. "Zac" Miller, age 22, of Stoneboro,
PA (Sandy Lake Township) was found dead at 8:00 P.M., Monday,
July 1, 2002, while on a land navigation exercise at Fort Benning, Georgia. He was born June 19, 1980, in Franklin, PA, to Keith R. and Rosalyn A. Miller.
A 1998 graduate of Lakeview High School, he was valedictorian of his class and served as Student Council President. He was active in the concert band and captained the football, basketball, and track teams. He attended Grove City College as a special student beginning at age thirteen and was also selected to attend the PA Governor's School for the Sciences in 1997.
Zac and his West Point roommates after the graduation parade, May 31, 2002
Left - Ryan J. Johnson
He was always community oriented and in high school served as chairman for the Lakeview chapter of the Shenango Valley Foundation "Students for Charity". At West Point, he was a volunteer for Special Olympics and the Big Brothers/Big Sisters program.
He was a member of the Sandy Lake Presbyterian Church where he served as Assistant Sunday School Superintendent, a youth group leader, and member of the youth group.
Zac Miller in the United States Military Academy formal dress gray uniform.
An honors graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point, he received his diploma on June 1st from President George W. Bush. He earned a Bachelor of Science degree in mathematics and computer science and was named West Point's top graduate in math, computer science and the basic sciences. At graduation, he was also commissioned as a second lieutenant in the United States Army and branched Infantry. In addition, he served as secretary for West Point's Bicentennial Class of 2002, was captain of the Army Rugby Team and received the 2002 Rugby Scholar/Athlete Award.
Zac and rugby seniors on graduation day, June 1, 2002
During the summer of 2000, he graduated from the U.S. Army Airborne School in Fort Benning and also served as a platoon leader for the Air Defense Artillery unit in Wackernheim, Germany. Last summer he completed an internship in Baku, Azerbaijan, where he worked with refugee children and counseled local citizens concerning human rights abuses.
He was selected as a Truman Scholar in 2001 and that December, a recipient of a prestigious Rhodes Scholarship. He was scheduled to leave in October for Oxford University in England where he was to study politics, philosophy, and economics. Between Ranger School and his departure for England, Zac was to serve an internship in Washington, DC with Senator Arlen Specter of Pennsylvania.
|Zac and the Miller family at the USMA
graduation banquet on May 31, 2002
parents-Keith and Rosalyn
Zac Miller believed in living life to its fullest and always excelled at doing his best. He enjoyed traveling, reading, and sports, especially rugby. He wanted to make a difference in the world and hoped to make it a better place.
Farewell to a true 'leader of character'
by William J. Lennox, Jr.
Lieutenant General, US Army
Superintendent, United States Military Academy
West Point, NY
The toughest thing a commander does is say farewell to one of his soldiers. In 31 years of active duty, this hasn't changed. It tears my heart out.
When it is a young soldier, I always ask 'why?' Why when there was so much life before him, before he really had a chance to live. I ask the same question with Zac. Why?
He was an exemplary cadet -- the best. A Rhodes and Truman scholar, a distinguished grad and what he was most proud of -- a captain of the Rugby team. But these achievements don't really capture Zac.
Zac was bright, personable, charismatic and caring. He was a leader of character. He grasped at every opportunity, but had time for everyone.
When I spoke to the Chief of Staff of the Army the morning following Zac's death, I told him that Zac had the potential to be chief. He was that kind of officer.
But when I think of Zac, I don't think of potential. Potential is overrated. When I think of Zac, I think of what he accomplished. He changed people's lives. In fact, in his short life, he did more than most of us do in a much longer life. He worked with Big Brothers, PALS, Special Olympics, Students for Charity, was an assistant Sunday School superintendent, a church Youth Group leader, a member of the elementary school's speaker program, a computer consultant for Lakeview Little League and a G. Turner Craig Community Park volunteer.
Zac was proud to be a soldier, proud to be an Infantryman and proud to be going to Ranger school. He was charismatic and personable. He was a soldier and a leader. He influenced hundreds of his classmates, subordinates, superiors and of course, young people.
Potential is nothing. Living is everything and Zac lived. All of us are better people because we knew him. I can truly say I am proud to have been a soldier with Zac Miller.
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