Two Heroes, Two Wars, One Memory
Bedinger was born to Henry Bedinger and Mary Slagle near
Bedinger saw his first action on
Bedinger was given the choice of joining the British army or being interred on a
rotting prison ship anchored in
of going home, the 15-year-old returned to
months later at the Battle of Brandywine, on
to Major, Daniel Bedington married Sarah Rutherford in Apr. 1791, ten years
after his heroic participation in the
From private to major, a survivor with the guts to return to battle again and again, a hero among heroes, and yet you probably never heard of Daniel Bedinger before today.
Miller was a 23-year-old welder living in
Mar. 23, twenty members of the 507th were ambushed
by civilian-clothed Iraqi forces near An Nasiriyah,
jumped out of his truck and took cover behind it. He fired several bursts of
automatic fire at a mortar position that he believed was about to open fire on
his convoy, but then his weapon jammed. Miller continued firing, feeding rounds
into the chamber by hand, providing a layer of protective fire to keep his
wounded comrades alive. He continued firing until it became obvious that further
resistance would result in all their deaths. According to Miller, there “ …
were too many of them to use bayonets.” Miller killed nine Iraqis before his
Iraqi captors found slips of paper in his helmet that actually were the
communication frequencies for his and other units. The demanded to know what the
numbers represented. Miller immediately answered that they were just prices for
water pumps, after which his captors threw both his helmet and the slips of
paper into their fire.
and his comrades were held captive for three weeks before they were rescued by a
company of marines on Apr. 13.
Army handed out over three dozen medals to members ambushed that day. Miller was
awarded a Purple Heart, A Prisoner of War Medal, and a Silver Star for bravery
has told reporters that he is not sure why he was singled out for this third
is now assigned to the 2nd Transportation Co., 68th Corps Support Battalion,
43rd Area Support Group, in
Miller and Bedinger each came from humble origins, each joined up for mundane, non-political, non-heroic reasons, and each rose to the challenge. When called upon by accident of time and place, what Miller and Bedinger have in common is uncommon valor.
ideals of Thomas Jefferson and Tom Paine were victorious only because of
soldier, Col. Joshua Lawrence Chamberlain, told his troops before the Battle of
Gettysburg in 1863, “This
is a different kind of Army. ... We’re an Army going out to set other men
free.” Because of soldiers like Daniel Bedinger and Patrick Miller –
222 years and seven major wars apart – the U.S. Army continues to enjoy
a rich legacy of ordinary American soldiers rising to the challenge of battle,
in ways that should inspire us all.