Seaman Timothy Miller began his service in the U.S. Navy in the hopes of combining his studies with his desire to help people.
“I was going to classes at SUNY Plattsburgh but I didn’t feel like I was doing what I really wanted to. It felt like just going through the motions,” he said.
“I have always really enjoyed helping others. I was a student coach for the peewee wrestling team, and became a volunteer coach after I graduated. I wanted to figure out how I could help others and give more meaning to my studies. The Navy provided that for me,” Miller said.
Miller graduated from South Glens Falls High School in 2016 and spent the next two years at SUNY Plattsburgh, studying cybersecurity and business. Miller began looking into a military career after speaking with a recruiter in June 2017.
Following a screening and aptitude testing process, Miller chose special training in information technology for the Navy.
“I left for boot camp Nov. 7, 2018. I chose the Navy because it was the best way to stay with what I knew. It was my best opportunity to continue doing what I liked,” he said.
“I also hope to have a family someday, and the Navy has great resources for families and educational opportunities.”
Miller headed to boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois.
“It’s very cold. And coming from upstate New York and saying that, you know it’s really cold. Boot camp, like anything in the military, is what you make of it. I was lucky to have drill sergeants that really cared about our education. It was still really physical, but they pushed us to learn as well,” he said.
Miller graduated boot camp in January with 71 other recruits. Together, they earned academic honors for their class.
From there, Miller headed off to “A” school at NAS Pensacola Corry Station in Florida.
“I met some great instructors. All they want to do is help out sailors,” he said.
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The first part of his training focused on IT, learning to maintain networks, with components like hard drive space and storage, as well as user access to information.
“By the end of the first part, you feel like you can build your own computer from scratch,” he said.
Miller said the second area of focus was on radio and messaging.
“But it’s more complicated than that. It’s about making sure connections are maintained from place to place, and messages arrive where they need to,” he said.
Miller said messages are often sensitive in nature, so as a result of his training he holds a Top Secret with Sensitive Compartmented Information security clearance.
Miller graduated “A” school in June, finishing second in his class. He went directly to his present post at the Naval Computer and Telecommunication Station on the island of Coronado, just offshore near San Diego, California.
“I am loving every single day. I get excited when I get to go into work. I have to be really careful what I say, but basically my job is to make sure messages get to where they need to. I can’t say too much because of clearance, but it’s very important I do my job well,” he said.
Miller added that the secretive nature of his work is challenging at times.
“You can’t really talk about your work. Information is only shared with your team and the team relieving you so they are aware of what they need to do their job well. I can’t share with my family or sailors about exactly what I do. I have to flip a switch when I leave my workspace. It’s secure for a really good reason, but it’s an adjustment I’ve had to make,” he said.
Miller said he plans to take his military career one step at a time, but for the time being he is very happy where and how he is serving.
“I wanted to help people. I get to help people. Granted, they never know it, but I do get to help people,” he said.