Wright-Patt commander reflects on Afghanistan, offers encouragement

Col. Patrick Miller, 88th Air Base Wing and installation commander, conducts a quarterly commander’s call July 22 at the Wright-Patterson Club. The hybrid event included a number of Airmen in attendance while many watched it streamed online. U.S. Air Force photo by R.J. Oriez

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Col. Patrick Miller, 88th Air Base Wing and installation commander, conducts a quarterly commander’s call July 22 at the Wright-Patterson Club. The hybrid event included a number of Airmen in attendance while many watched it streamed online. U.S. Air Force photo by R.J. Oriez

‘If you ever need somebody to call, if you can’t find a wingman right away, I’m your guy.’

Wright-Patterson Air Force Base commander Col. Patrick Miller offered Airmen and families words of encouragement in a personal aside during a Facebook town hall Wednesday afternoon.

Most of the social meeting video was devoted to the base’s shift to health protection condition “bravo+” from condition “bravo,” reflecting worsening COVID-19 numbers in Ohio and the Dayton area.

ExploreWith COVID worsening, Wright-Patt shifts to health condition ‘bravo+’

But near the end of the town hall, Miller turned to the situation in Afghanistan, where Taliban forces have largely conquered a nation where American troops and their allies served for nearly two decades. Many have criticized the Biden administration and top military leaders for the chaotic departure of American forces.

“We’ve lost friends,” Miller said. “I’ve lost teammates. These are trying times, to see what’s playing out in Afghanistan.”

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Col. Patrick Miller, 88th Air Base Wing and installation commander, discusses adjustments to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s COVID-19 operating environment during a virtual town hall and situation update Aug. 4. U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO/CHRISTOPHER WARNER

Col. Patrick Miller, 88th Air Base Wing and installation commander, discusses adjustments to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s COVID-19 operating environment during a virtual town hall and situation update Aug. 4. U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO/CHRISTOPHER WARNER

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Col. Patrick Miller, 88th Air Base Wing and installation commander, discusses adjustments to Wright-Patterson Air Force Base’s COVID-19 operating environment during a virtual town hall and situation update Aug. 4. U.S. AIR FORCE PHOTO/CHRISTOPHER WARNER

He added: “But all we can rely on is the fact that what we did when we were in country was the right thing to do at the time. We served honorably, and we saved lives.”

“There is no doubt, as we served in Afghanistan, we saved lives,” the colonel emphasized. “We prevented tragedies from happening over the course of the time we were in Afghanistan.

“To see how it’s playing out now, I know there are lots of questions,” he said. “And that adds in to the stress of increasing health protection condition levels — questioning and wondering, ‘Hey, was it worth it in Afghanistan?’”

Said Miller: “I will tell you, it was worth it.”

Miller, Wright-Patterson installation commander and commander of the 88th Air Base Wing, encouraged listeners to talk with someone “if they need help.”

“Let us be your wingman; know that we’re here by your side,” he said. “And when you need us to throw you over our shoulder and carry you on, we’re going to do that, too. We’re in this together.”

He also told listeners: “Know that I am there for you. If you ever need somebody to call, if you can’t find a wingman right away, I’m your guy.”

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