Before he deployed for duty in Vietnam, Covington native and U.S. Army First Lieutenant Gary Lee Miller attended Clifton Forge-Covington Community College, a branch of Virginia Tech that would go on to become Dabney S. Lancaster Community College.
Seriously wounded in battle, Miller, a unit commander, made the ultimate sacrifice when he smothered an enemy grenade with his own body to protect his men. It happened on February 16, 1969. He died just a few weeks shy of his 22ND birthday.
Miller was awarded the military’s highest commendation, the Medal of Honor.
At Dabney Lancaster, Miller’s memory has been honored for years, but his connection to Virginia Tech remained mostly unknown until recently.
Earlier this year, Miller’s name was etched alongside Virginia Tech’s seven other Medal of Honor recipients on a marble monument at the school’s War Memorial Court. And on Friday afternoon, Tech held a solemn ceremony to commemorate Miller’s valor and bravery.
“It’s a sad reminder of the sacrifices that these brave people made, but it enriches the culture of Virginia Tech and adding that story is a phenomenal step forward in students understanding where they came from and why they have the freedoms they have,” Virginia Tech President Tim Sands told WSLS TV.
Each spring, during commencement ceremonies, Dabney Lancaster Community College remembers Miller by conferring an award in his name to an outstanding graduate.
Learn more about Gary Lee Miller’s Medal of Honor here.