HomeNewsArticle Display

Team Buckley's new coach

Col. David N. Miller Jr. assumed command of the 460th Space Wing during a change-of-command ceremony Aug. 12, 2016, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Since then, Miller continues to guide Team Buckley to a path of success through his top priorities of professionalism, discipline and readiness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Samantha Meadors/ Released)

Col. David N. Miller Jr. assumed command of the 460th Space Wing during a change-of-command ceremony Aug. 12, 2016, on Buckley Air Force Base, Colo. Since then, Miller continues to guide Team Buckley to a path of success through his top priorities of professionalism, discipline and readiness. (U.S. Air Force photo by Senior Airman Samantha Meadors/ Released)


The opposing team dominates them time after time. Standing there watching their opponent continuously beat them in the pole-vault event is their only option, being that they haven’t the slightest idea of what they’re doing. The only knowledge of pole vaulting the team has is from the videos they watch because the school lacks a coach.

This is how Col. David N. Miller Jr., 460th Space Wing commander, spent his time on his high school’s track team, where he learned the importance of what it means to be part of a team.

Although they weren’t close to being the best, they ultimately learned one of their greatest life lessons through the struggle. They learned that it doesn’t require winning everything every time to become a successful team; it only required maximum effort.

Win or lose, their only intention was to show up to every track meet and perform better than they ever had before and to go home with a new personal best each time.

“Everyone enjoys the highs of winning,” said the commander. “But in my experience, it’s when you compete at a high level and you lose, but your team does better than they ever had in the past, that you really appreciate the value of being on that team.”

This mindset has followed Miller through his entire life. In fact, from the beginning of his military career, he made it a goal to bring the same attitude to all assignments.

“I remember thinking when I joined the Air Force ‘I may not be the best Airman out there, but I know this is a team that will always reward and take care of someone who does their best,’” said Miller. “I’ve found that to be true in every single assignment, and I’ve tried to instill that culture in every leadership position I’ve been in. I don’t expect everyone to be the best every day; that’s unachievable. However, I ask everyone to give their personal best every day.”

Now with 23 years of service in the U.S. Air Force, Miller understands there comes a point in your career when it’s no longer about you, but about focusing on the Airmen and helping them improve both themselves and the mission.

The time has come for Miller to hang up his cleats and coach his team to success.

“I’m not so much a doer anymore,” said Miller. “When I was younger, I was a doer. Now, when you get to this point in your career, your focus should be on making sure your team has guidance, resources, support, motivation and discipline.”

After spending two decades in leadership positions as a commissioned officer, Miller has an understanding of the necessities it will take to guide Team Buckley toward a path of success.

However, it hasn’t only been his military experiences that have formed Miller into an exceptional leader.

During his childhood, Miller’s parents were divorced. Growing up in a single-parent household in Newburgh, New York, Miller and his siblings watched their mother work tirelessly to provide the best life possible for them. Due to this, they were exposed to many challenges and struggles from a young age.

Having his mother, a New York teacher, as a strong role model in his early life helped form his understanding of what it means to be a successful leader.

“I began to notice how strong of a leader my mom was and how fabulous the environment I grew up in really was,” said Miller. “It really shaped how I view things as a leader. What I mean by that is, as a leader, my sole responsibility is to try to give people the tools they need in order to succeed.”

With all his great accomplishments, Miller will be the first to admit that none of them could’ve been possible without having a strong team beside him.

“I’ve always had influential people who gave me the rope to run, but pushed me to be the best me,” said the New York native. “I highly encourage my supervisors to act the same way. Whether an Airman is in trouble or they’re performing exceptionally, we need to be there for our Airmen to support them always, but push them to succeed beyond even their own projections.”

As Miller continues to contribute nothing but his best to Team Buckley, he keeps in mind his only goal; to make Buckley Air Force Base a stronger team than it was upon his arrival.

USAF Comments Policy
If you wish to comment, use the text box below. AF reserves the right to modify this policy at any time.

This is a moderated forum. That means all comments will be reviewed before posting. In addition, we expect that participants will treat each other, as well as our agency and our employees, with respect. We will not post comments that contain abusive or vulgar language, spam, hate speech, personal attacks, violate EEO policy, are offensive to other or similar content. We will not post comments that are spam, are clearly "off topic", promote services or products, infringe copyright protected material, or contain any links that don't contribute to the discussion. Comments that make unsupported accusations will also not be posted. The AF and the AF alone will make a determination as to which comments will be posted. Any references to commercial entities, products, services, or other non-governmental organizations or individuals that remain on the site are provided solely for the information of individuals using this page. These references are not intended to reflect the opinion of the AF, DoD, the United States, or its officers or employees concerning the significance, priority, or importance to be given the referenced entity, product, service, or organization. Such references are not an official or personal endorsement of any product, person, or service, and may not be quoted or reproduced for the purpose of stating or implying AF endorsement or approval of any product, person, or service.

Any comments that report criminal activity including: suicidal behaviour or sexual assault will be reported to appropriate authorities including OSI. This forum is not:

  • This forum is not to be used to report criminal activity. If you have information for law enforcement, please contact OSI or your local police agency.
  • Do not submit unsolicited proposals, or other business ideas or inquiries to this forum. This site is not to be used for contracting or commercial business.
  • This forum may not be used for the submission of any claim, demand, informal or formal complaint, or any other form of legal and/or administrative notice or process, or for the exhaustion of any legal and/or administrative remedy.

AF does not guarantee or warrant that any information posted by individuals on this forum is correct, and disclaims any liability for any loss or damage resulting from reliance on any such information. AF may not be able to verify, does not warrant or guarantee, and assumes no liability for anything posted on this website by any other person. AF does not endorse, support or otherwise promote any private or commercial entity or the information, products or services contained on those websites that may be reached through links on our website.

Members of the media are asked to send questions to the public affairs through their normal channels and to refrain from submitting questions here as comments. Reporter questions will not be posted. We recognize that the Web is a 24/7 medium, and your comments are welcome at any time. However, given the need to manage federal resources, moderating and posting of comments will occur during regular business hours Monday through Friday. Comments submitted after hours or on weekends will be read and posted as early as possible; in most cases, this means the next business day.

For the benefit of robust discussion, we ask that comments remain "on-topic." This means that comments will be posted only as it relates to the topic that is being discussed within the blog post. The views expressed on the site by non-federal commentators do not necessarily reflect the official views of the AF or the Federal Government.

To protect your own privacy and the privacy of others, please do not include personally identifiable information, such as name, Social Security number, DoD ID number, OSI Case number, phone numbers or email addresses in the body of your comment. If you do voluntarily include personally identifiable information in your comment, such as your name, that comment may or may not be posted on the page. If your comment is posted, your name will not be redacted or removed. In no circumstances will comments be posted that contain Social Security numbers, DoD ID numbers, OSI case numbers, addresses, email address or phone numbers. The default for the posting of comments is "anonymous", but if you opt not to, any information, including your login name, may be displayed on our site.

Thank you for taking the time to read this comment policy. We encourage your participation in our discussion and look forward to an active exchange of ideas.