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Face of Defense: Soldier Finds Comfort in Heavy Metal Music

By Army Sgt. Russell Toof 99th Regional Support Command

READING, Pa., Feb. 13, 2017 — “When people are surprised to hear that I’m in a metal band, it’s when I talk after hearing me sing; it’s, ‘How did that come out of you?”’ said Staff Sgt. Brad Miller, an Army Reservist.

Miller joined the active-duty Army in 1994, and spent four years as an intelligence analyst before getting out. His passion for music led him to become the lead singer of a local band after returning here in 1998.

Dabbling in Bands

“I was one of seven people to audition for the band -- the second to go -- and they cancelled the others after I sang for them,” he said. “I’ve been dabbling in bands since high school. It was never about making money; it was about having fun, having a release.”

Twelve years after being released from active duty, Miller switched his military occupational specialty and joined the 99th Regional Support Command’s 326th Mobile Public Affairs Detachment in 2010.

“I lost my job and needed some source of income until I got back on my feet, but I’ve subsequently had a lot of fun in this unit,” said Miller, a Williamsport, Pennsylvania, native.

The Army Reserve has about three dozen public affairs units stationed throughout the United States. The soldiers in these units attend journalism school at Fort Meade, Maryland, where they learn skills such as photography, videography, news story and feature writing, publication layout and design, radio broadcasting and on-camera interview techniques, all using the latest industry-standard software. 

Miller admitted there’s been a surprising link between the skills he has developed through the Army and his music.

“I’ve made some promotional videos for the band on my own time utilizing the skills I gained in the Army Reserve,” he explained. “I’m a print journalist, but I’ve gotten video production training at Fort Meade, so I didn’t have to hire someone to do the work for me.”

Although Miller’s musical focus was never on reaching commercial success, his band played with well-known acts and has been played on SiriusXM’s ‘Liquid Metal.’

“Jose Mangin has played us; when you talk about metal on Sirius, everyone knows Jose,” he said.

One day, everyone may know Miller as well, either as the singer in a metal band, or perhaps as a disc jockey or journalist covering the music scene thanks to his public affairs training in the Army Reserve.