Captain Jason Miller, a professor and chair of the Military Science department, gives a whole new meaning to the phrase “Coming Home.”
Florida born but Georgia bred, Miller considers himself a native Georgian after moving to Douglasville when he was in the second grade.
After graduating from Douglas County High School, Miller chose to attend Mercer for his undergraduate studies.
Miller graduated from Mercer in 2002 with a degree in history. He was commissioned into the Army as a Second Lieutenant after going through Mercer’s ROTC program.
Currently Miller has served in the Army for nine years and has been deployed four times.
After serving three tours in Iraq and one tour in Afghanistan as platoon and company commander, Miller was able to have the opportunity to come back to his alma mater and teach for the Military Science Department.
“I was lucky to be in a time frame where Mercer had an opening in the Military Science Department and I got to come back and teach at the school that I graduated from,” Miller said.
“As a cadet here I found that teaching was something I wanted to do, and I did a good job at it. My favorite part was teaching my lieutenants as a captain,” Miller said.
Miller knew that after his service he had a lot to teach the cadets at Mercer. “They are going into the Army, and the best way to prepare them for Army duty is to come to a school and teach them where they start,” Miller said.
Miller teaches Military Science 401 and 402, mostly to seniors. “Up to their junior year the ROTC program focuses on tactics, but as seniors the program focuses on officership,” Miller said.
“We want them to have a mindset of ‘here is what is wrong and this is how we fix it.’ We want them to have that mindset and that is what my classes focus on and teach,” Miller said.
As the head of the department Miller tries to emphasize the importance of branching out and getting close with the other faculty and departments.
“My students only spend a small portion of their time with me. They spend most of their time with their other professors. Being a cadet is hard and we need to help them by showing them that school is the most important thing,” Miller said.
“I want to place a higher priority on academics. Our cadets need to maintain a minimum of a 2.0 GPA to keep their scholarships, but that is not enough. That is a pretty low score,” Miller added.
Miller wants to stress that the most important thing his cadets will get out of college is their degree. “That degree will open the door to other opportunities down the road like post-military opportunities or graduate school,” Miller said.
As a commanding officer, Miller wants himself and the other Military Science officers to be more of coaches and mentors to the cadets.
“At times, we present them with a lot of information that they can’t just grasp like a checklist. We are very experience-based and so we take a mentor role, not just with ROTC but with their other classes as well,” Miller said.
“We want to make sure that they go to class and have a happy home life. We like to be very involved in all aspects of their life and that is sometimes hard, but I want them to know they can come to me with anything,” Miller said.
Miller strives to implement his knowledge and experiences into his students’ experiences. “That is hard to do, but ideally they will graduate with a level of maturity that they will need for their career choice,” Miller said.
“The cadets are asked to do more than the average person. At 23, I was leading 20 people to war, so we have to get them prepared,” Miller said.
Miller tries to teach his students to be mentally and physically tough. He also emphasizes that his students need to have a winning mentality.
“In the Army you cannot accept defeat. You have to have a competitive drive to be the best,” Miller said.
Miller’s proudest moment will be when he and the other Military Science officers commission the senior students before their graduation in May.