Bradley Miller, a former lieutenant colonel in the Army, was a battalion commander in the 101st Airborne Division at the time of Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin's August 2021 announcement of the military vaccine mandate. Miller refused the vaccine and was subsequently relieved of command in October 2021.
And with that, Miller tells American Family News he decided to resign from the Army after it published a directive in January 2022 stating it would separate unvaccinated soldiers. His service officially came to an end on September 15, 2022. After 19 years, 3 months, and 15 days of service, he still considers it a "no brainer" to have refused the COVID shot.
"I was very well aware of the ramifications my decision would have for my command, my career, and my retirement," he admits. "But in my mind, I was placed in a situation where I had to choose the harder right over the easier wrong."
For Miller, it felt like he was placed in a situation where he had to "either choose the Army or choose the country." He shares he's proud to have chosen his country, adding that "far too many leaders of the military have turned their back on the country."
"[It's] an order of precedence," he says. "No one should align with the Armed Forces over the country, [because] the Armed Forces exist to protect the country – it's not the other way around." He adds: "It also makes no sense to love the military more than the country."
Miller acknowledges his decision came at a cost – and that he knew "full well" what was going to be sacrificed.
"I lost my command, my career, and my retirement," he explains. "I was a battalion commander who was relieved of command. I was placed in a position where I had to resign, so I could no longer progress further in my career. And because I did not make it to 20 years, I lost my retirement pension, as well.
"I left the institution, [and] there's not a day that has gone by where I have ever regretted the decision that I made," Miller shares. "And if I had to make it all over again, I would do the exact same thing.
"It felt like my continued service would have constituted an unspoken endorsement of everything that was going on [surrounding the military vaccine mandate] – and I was not going to have that. My values no longer aligned with the values of the senior leadership of the Department of Defense."
And a result, he states, "I left the military with my integrity intact and my oath to the Constitution unbroken" – adding, for emphasis: "That's far more important."
Beyond the cost
From the very beginning, Miller questioned what he calls "the whole COVID narrative." He explains that the conflicting stories in media and circulating among peers left him very distrusting.
"There seemed to be a lot of information that was not forthcoming with these shots," he notes, pinpointing the use of new technology and the absence of information regarding the long-term effects.
"It made no sense to try to give everyone the shots without any prior testing or any data on long-term effects," he contends. "And as time went on it just seemed very apparent to me that there was some sort of ulterior motive or ultimate agenda at hand.
"So, I never trusted whether the vaccines would ever be safe or would ever do what they were supposed to do. And as a commander, I certainly never wanted to order my troops, who might also be hesitant, to take the vaccine either."
An exemplary leader, a critical loss
Army Chief Warrant Officer Danny Erickson (a pseudonym) tells American Family News that a "unique story" like Miller's has a tremendous impact on service members like himself, countless others, and the nation itself.
"Lt. Col. Miller threw away his pension for his ideals," Erickson points out. "He didn't broadcast it but did it quietly. [To me] Miller's story is about selfless sacrifice, [because] he wasn't going to be a commander who subjected his troops to something while looking for ways to protect himself, and he wasn't going to continue working for an organization whose morals didn't align with his own."
And while the long-term effects of the shots remain a mystery, the effect of Miller's exit is clear, says Erickson.
"Losing soldiers like Lt. Col. Miller will continue to deplete our military of leaders who do the right thing, no matter the cost," he states. "In a business where your job can call you to take someone's life, it's critical we maintain leadership that will take the hard right and not simply toe the line when ordered to do something unethical or illegal."
"Miller is the kind of man that America needs to hear speaking out and modeling what it truly means be an American soldier."
Erickson emphasizes that his views do not reflect the views of the Department of Defense or the Department of the Army.
Neither the Department of Defense nor the Department of the Army returned AFN's requests for comments.