An air advisor based at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph is the 2019 Lance P. Sijan U.S. Air Force Leadership Award winner in the senior officer category.
Lt. Col. Carl Miller, now the deputy chief of the special missions division at Headquarters, Air Education and Training Command, won the award for his achievements while deployed to Kabul, Afghanistan, leading the execution of a $1.5 billion security assistance program as commander of the 538th Air Expeditionary Advisory Squadron.
The 538th AEAS is a total force, joint and combined combat air advisory team of highly experienced aircrew who advised the Afghan air force in C-130 Hercules, A-29 Super Tucano, AC-208 Combat Caravan, C-208 Caravan, MD-530 Cayuse Warrior and Mi-17 helicopter flight operations, squadron management, leadership development and long-term planning.
“This was my second year as an advisor in the area and already had some pre-established trust, which really helped me further build those relationships with the AAF,” said Miller, a command pilot. “The opportunity to lead and serve with such a dynamic organization, working shoulder to shoulder with the Afghan people, is truly the greatest honor of my career.”
In his role, Miller advised the entire Afghan air force Kabul Wing operations group, including six major weapons systems, 86 aircraft, six squadrons and 201 aircrew members.
“I am most proud of how far our Afghan partners advanced their combat airpower capability in such a short amount of time,” Miller said. “Whether it was executing formation airdrop for the first time, standing up a new intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance and strike platform, or delivering election materials across the country to facilitate a record voter turnout for Afghanistan. The Afghan air force is growing more capable and professional by the day.”
Additionally, Miller led the program execution and fielding of ten AC-208 aircraft, a $250 million security assistance program, providing the first organic Afghan air force ISR and low-yield, precision-strike capability.
“Standing up the AC-208 program really was a major win for the AAF,” Miller said. “Helping to provide this ISR capability was a game-changer.”
Under Miller’s direction, the unit also navigated an AC-208 training stand-down in the United States by relocating training to Afghanistan to stand up operations with initial operating capability, and jump-started the Afghan air force’s first combat airdrop missions.
“None of those incredible accomplishments would be possible without the many years of sustained effort by our Total Force Airmen, joint, coalition and contract advisors,” Miller said.