Babbs in the Woods: Keepin’ the spirits up on the homefront during Operation Warrior Forge

“Mom, Dad … I’m all right,” said our son Alec. When a parent hears those words, you wait for the next sentence with trepidation. He launched into the second sentence that went like this: “But, I’m calling so that you don’t worry when you hear the news.”

Our son is presently at Ft. Lewis in Washington participating in Warrior Forge, the U.S. Army Cadet Command’s flagship training and assessment exercise held each summer. According to the Warrior Forge website, “Every Army ROTC Cadet hoping to pin-on the gold bar of an Army lieutenant must successfully complete Warrior Forge.”

On July 9, a 19-year-old cadet in our son’s platoon went missing during land navigation training during early morning hours. He was found later – dead. You don’t expect for your college kid to go to ROTC summer camp and not return. It’s every parent’s nightmare, and our hearts go out to Daniel Miller’s family.

The Army has not published any more news, other than the initial report and news about a memorial service for Daniel. You can bet there are a lot of parents of cadets watching and waiting to hear what went wrong.

The cadets got their cell phones back on July 10 to make their calls home and we haven’t heard from our son since then. We anxiously await the call on August 2 when he’ll be back in Missouri, on duty at Ft. Leonard Wood, just down the road from us.

Please keep Daniel Miller’s family in your thoughts and prayers, and also all the brave young women and men who are in training this summer for future service to our country.

~Barbara Baird


  • About Barbara Baird

    Publisher/Editor Barbara Baird is a freelance writer in hunting, shooting and outdoor markets. Her bylines are found at several top hunting and shooting publications. She also is a travel writer, and you can follow her at


The Conversation

  • Cadet Camacho says: August 11, 2009 at 10:03 pm

    I too was in the same platoon (11th Reg/Alpha CO/4th Platoon). I will never forget how cold that night was. Yes, we called him Miller Lite because there were 3 Cadet Millers. I remember week one when roll call will be made every morning and the cadre will say: Miller 1, Miller 2, and Miller 3. 2nd SQD who called themselves “Regulators”, gave him the nickname of Miller Lite before everybody else did. I pray that he continues to rest in peace and I pray for his family and wish them recovery. I still feel very bad and will always remember the whole event.

  • andrew_L says: July 30, 2009 at 10:10 pm

    Miller slept across from me, he was second squad, I was first. We called him miller lite because there were three “millers” in our platoon, the others were given similar nicknames. May he rest in peace. Btw, CDT Baird does a great job of keeping morale high.