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Lt. Gen. Robert Miller retires as U.S. Air Force Surgeon General

  • Published
  • By Kira Baldau
  • Air Force Surgeon General Public Affairs

Lt. Gen. Robert Miller, U.S. Air Force Surgeon General, retired from the U.S. Air Force in a ceremony at Joint Base Anacostia-Bolling, Washington, D.C., on June 14, 2024, closing his 39-year career.

General CQ Brown, Jr., Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, presided over the ceremony and described Miller’s career, including his many leadership positions.

“For all of us who enjoy leading - to be in a position of command, to do things to make a difference for people - those are the jobs you cherish, and, particularly at a level where you can actually engage with the Airmen you’re privileged to lead,” said Brown.

Brown also acknowledged Miller’s accomplishments within the Air Force Medical Service, including his final three years as the 24th Surgeon General of the U.S. Air Force and Space Force.

In his role as the Surgeon General, Miller enabled the medical readiness of 44,000 medical assets across 76 military treatment facilities. Among his accomplishments, Miller balanced readiness priorities while providing manpower to support the COVID-19 pandemic response across six continents; helped establish the Air Force Medical Command, which established the first command and control relationship within the Air Force Medical Service; mobilized 400 medics in less than 72 hours for Operation Allies Welcome, assisting Afghans as they safely resettled in the United States; and, enhanced the mission success of approximately 700,000 personnel across the U.S. Air Force and Space Force.

“The work you've done - the impact you had - particularly as you look at our medicine … it’s why we exist,” said Brown. “We exist to fight and win our nation’s wars. At the same time, we want to make sure we're taking care of our service members and their families, and Bob, you’ve done that tremendously over your 39 years. We want to thank you, Laurie, and your entire family for their service and for what they've done.”

Following Brown’s remarks, Miller shared fond memories and learning experiences, starting when he entered active duty in 1985 as a Uniformed Services University of the Health Sciences medical student. After his time at USU, Miller completed pediatric residency at Wright-Patterson Air Force Base, Ohio, as well as a fellowship in developmental-behavioral pediatrics at Madigan Army Medical Center, Joint Base Lewis-McChord, Washington. He is also qualified in aerospace medicine.

During his military service, Miller worked through 16 assignments, with leadership roles as squadron commander, group commander, command surgeon, and director of medical operations before becoming the U.S. Air Force Surgeon General.

Miller thanked his family and friends for their support over the years. He also acknowledged the medics he led as the Surgeon General.

“I wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for all of you,” said Miller. Acknowledging a leadership book he read, he said, “I’m not a ‘self-made man’ and couldn’t do it alone. I’m proud of what you have accomplished over the last three years.”

He encouraged all those in attendance to break their mirrors.

“Spend less time thinking or worrying about yourself and focus on those around you … those you have the pleasure to serve,” he explained.

It’s a concept Miller learned to embrace during his career.

"I’m convinced that you get more satisfaction and happiness by making life better for others and focusing on your family, both at home and at work,” Miller said. “Break your mirrors … and lead with humility.”

Maj. Gen. John J. DeGoes, who served as the U.S. Air Force Deputy Surgeon General under Miller’s tenure, is now performing duties of the U.S. Air Force Surgeon General. On May 14, 2024, President Joe Biden nominated DeGoes to be the next U.S. Air Force Surgeon General. His nomination is pending Senate confirmation.