BARKSDALE AFB, LA (KSLA) - Rarely has there been a time when Colonel Michael Miller hasn’t had his eyes on the sky.
"Essentially since the time I was 16 years old I knew what I wanted to do, I wanted to fly in the Air Force," he said.
His biggest source of support? His mother.
"She was 32 years in civil service for to the Air Force and she is really the one that got me interested in the Air Force, exposed me to life in the Air Force, exposed me to what it was like to be a pilot in the Air Force.
However, early in his career Colonel Miller kept his boots on the ground.
"I actually started off as a missileer. I did three years as a minuteman III ICBM Officer in Minot, North Dakota."
From there he went to navigator school and on a track for fighter-bombers.
"I originally flew the B-1 Bomber. For the last 20 years that was the aircraft I got out of flight school, and this is my first time ever find the B-52 in this assignment."
After 24 years of service, Colonel Miller said he's finally landed his favorite assignment serving as a wing commander.
"You cannot only impact the mission, but more importantly the people who execute the mission and it's wonderful to be there every day, to fight the battles for them, to get the resources they need to do their mission and to be the mentor and to be the cheerleader for them to get the job done, it is the best job in the Air Force."
Miller said understanding what it means to serve is what keeps him going every day.
“I joined because I wanted to fly, some people join for education, some people join for a better opportunity in life, some people join because they have family members serving and they want to continue in their footsteps,” he explained. “But somewhere along the line when you put everything into it, and you really devote yourself to what it is you’re doing and trying to be the best you can, all of the sudden service becomes something much bigger than the original reason you joined the Air Force and that becomes a part of your life, becomes part of the way you look at your family, and it really becomes the why you continue to serve.”
His Air Force journey also led him to Monica, his wife of 21 years. The two have three girls.
"One is a freshman in Natchitoches at Northwestern State University, I got a sophomore at Benton High School and I've got a sixth grader at Benton Elementary."
Having been a part of the Shreveport-Bossier community for more than a year now, Miller understands the importance of the civilian-military partnership.
"The community and the men and women at Barksdale, we're in this together and our job is to make this community better than what it was when we got here."
Over the next two years Colonel Miller says his focus will be on readiness.
"Ensuring our forces are ready to fight tonight, whether that is from home or pick up, deploy and fight down range. One of the big areas that we'll be focused on here at Barksdale is the flight from home aspect, the fight tonight from home, so what you going to see is a lot more local exercises," Miller explained.
Assuring families near and far, they can sleep in peace at night.
“They should be rest assured that Barksdale is ready to go to combat and we will be training like that every day while I’m in command here.”