Major Patrick Miller remembers his ROTC days at Bonaventure

By Jacob McCollum

[Image courtesy of]

Even heroes remember their roots.

Major Patrick Miller visited MSII and MSIII cadets from Seneca Battalion before their lab this week to talk about his past experiences as an Army Officer and a member of the Medical Corps.

Miller, a ROTC graduate of St. Bonaventure in 2003, was shot at close range during the shootings at Fort Hood on April second last year.  Despite his wound, Miller continued to move others to safety and called 911 while the shooting was still in progress.

After the shooting, the two-time Iraq War veteran received substantial media attention, met the Army’s highest ranking officer and was awarded the Meritous Service medal.


He has since fully recovered from the .45 caliber bullet fired into his abdomen from only a couple feet away.

And yet, he has not forgotten his old ROTC battalion.

During the forty five minute meeting with Seneca Battalion cadets, Miller told them what to expect once they graduated and arrived at their units as Second Lieutenants.

“Don’t show up thinking you know everything,” he said.  “If you have a question, ask.”

“You’re all peers… help each other out,” he said, describing the importance of cadets pulling together and supporting each other even after their time with ROTC is over.  He still keeps in contact with most of his graduating class.

After his talk he answered the cadets’ questions – including what motivated him through all of his exploits.

“9/11,” he replied instantly.  “I was a MSIII then…we watched that on TV.” He also cited his love of being a soldier and country as well as his brothers in arms that returned from combat with severe wounds. “I’m not missing a limb, I don’t have a TBI [traumatic brain injury]… I have to go on and kick ass at my job because I know people who can’t.”

At the end of the talk Lieutenant Colonel Zehnder presented Miller the Seneca Battalion challenge coin and thanked him for remembering the battalion that started his path to the Army.

“This is not an ‘old guy,'” Zehnder said to the cadets. “You’ve heard some of what he has had to say from your cadre before. Now you’re hearing it from a Bonnie.”

Miller’s love for the Army continues despite the trials he has gone through in combat and back at home.

“It’s the only thing I know and I couldn’t imagine doing anything else.”

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