JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-RANDOLPH, Texas – An Air Advisor based here is the 2019 Lance P. Sijan United States 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,” Miller, a command pilot with over 3,900 flying hours in the AC-208, C-208, T-6 Texan II, and C-17 Globemaster, said. “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 AAF 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 AAF 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 in order stand up operations with initial operating capability, as well as jumpstarted the AAF’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.
Air Advising is the operational arm of Air Force Security Cooperation. There are more than 3,800 trained Air Advisors on active duty, and at any given time there are approximately 1,000 Total Force Airmen engaged in the Air Advisor mission around the world. The objective of Air Advising operations and activities is to directly support capacity and capability development of a partner nation’s aviation enterprise in order to meet their national security needs, in support of U.S. interests. For more information on becoming an Air Advisor, visit the Air Force Developmental Special Experiences (DSE) catalog at https://usaf.dps.mil/teams/aetc/dse/SitePages/Home.aspx.