A fond farewell: Brig. Gen. Evan Miller preps for assignment in Hawaii

  • Published
  • By Amber Baillie
  • Academy Public Affairs
Throughout Brig. Gen. Evan Miller's Air Force career, he's always set an alarm clock for work --until he arrived here last summer.

For the past year, while helping reshape the Academy's decreasing budget under stringent federal constraints, restoring the airmanship program and writing the initial draft of the Academy's Essence document, Miller, a Class of '88 Academy graduate, said it's been easy waking up every day as the Academy's vice superintendent because of the special energy, mission and challenges here.

Due to his April promotion to brigadier general, Miller will head to Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, next month to serve as the Pacific Air Forces' logistics, installations and mission support director.

"Every day here has been different but fun," he said. "Having so many distinct mission elements has made the job really interesting and more challenging than I thought it would be. If the job were easy, the Academy wouldn't need me. I certainly needed this place. It shaped me when I was a young cadet, and this assignment has renewed my enthusiasm for the Air Force and what we do at the Academy."

Miller said he's enjoyed watching cadets compete in athletics, perform in parades, think through problems and lead their peers.

"The opportunities here are such powerful enablers of leaders," he said. "Some of our more unique opportunities give cadets an intangible confidence that can't be taught in a classroom. When you couple that with the incredible education cadets receive, outstanding military training and familiarization to our Air Force missions, we begin to see the cadets' leadership potential emerge.

"The Pathways to Excellence initiative builds on that idea as it recognizes that cadets develop differently and each cadet follows a different path through USAFA," Miller said. "The initiative, when fully realized, will help each cadet take advantage of their own strengths to make them even better, more-prepared officers when they graduate."

The best aspect about serving at the Academy is the wide range of opportunities, Miller said.

"I've been able to witness young men and women develop into great officers," he said. "I wouldn't trade that for the world. There is no other place in the Air Force where I can attend Field Day (an annual basic cadet competition) and watch young men and women who want to serve their country giving everything they can for their teammates, whether it's running a race, carrying a log or pulling a rope. The character and enthusiasm here are amazing."

Miller said his experience at the Academy now, compared to 30 years ago, is remarkably different.

"When I was a cadet, I was solely focused my squadron responsibilities," he said. "My job now has grown into thinking about what people need, handling logistics and supporting our institutional vision for the future. Now I see everything that happens behind the scenes. I'm very impressed. I see how hard people work and it's inspiring how we come together and work to execute our mission."

Miller said he's been able to appreciate the outdoors in Colorado by hiking Stanley Canyon with his family and completing a 100-kilometer bike ride with his brother, retired Lt. Gen. Chris Miller, a Class of '80 Academy graduate and editor-in-chief of the Journal of Character and Leadership Integration.

"We won the over-30 intermural basketball championship," Brig. Gen. Miller said. "I was able to compete in a Front Range volleyball championship and do some skiing. It's been a great year."

One of his favorite spots is the overlook on Northgate Boulevard, which he said provides a captivating view of the athletic fields.

"One of the reasons I came to the Academy is because I went to a soccer camp here," Miller said. "I've always thought the athletic fields are great because they represent that proverbial 'green field.' I stop there when I bike around the Academy because it's a place that inspired me. Now it inspires me more because I see every Mission Element of the Academy, and that motivates me to work even harder to make the Academy better for the Air Force."

Academy Superintendent Lt. Gen. Michelle D. Johnson said Miller has been a "spectacular" vice superintendent.

"Despite being here only one year, he has provided a lasting impact around USAFA," she said. "He has worked tirelessly to organize our processes and stepped up to serve as our institution champion, successfully posturing USAFA to participate in the Headquarters Air Force corporate budgeting process. This effect alone helps stabilize our institution during volatile budget times, and I expect this will benefit us for many years to come. He, his family and his leadership will truly be missed."

Miller said he's excited for a new adventure, but will miss serving here.

"General Johnson is setting a great pace and vision for the Academy which will transform it into something better," he said. "Whether it's cyberspace, how we utilize space assets or remotely piloted aircraft, the Air Force is changing. Our needs are changing. One thing remains constant: we'll always need great officers and great problem solvers. The superintendent has a number of important initiatives to make the Academy stronger, better and more effective at producing excellent Air Force leaders."

Miller's last day at the Academy is July 25. Col. Douglas K. Lamberth will serve as the Academy's next vice superintendent.