FORT BENNING, Ga. (WRBL) — Two weeks after returning home from his three-year assignment leading the U.S. war effort in Afghanistan, Army Gen. Scott Miller was at Fort Benning Wednesday afternoon.
He had some unfinished business from the Afghan fight.
His longtime and trusted command sergeant major, Tim Metheny, had gotten out of Afghanistan without what Miller considered a proper sendoff.
Metheny is back in Columbus where he is retiring after more than 34 years in uniform.
“He got out of Afghanistan because of war, politics, the Taliban and the rest of it without us being able to conduct a farewell ceremony,” Miller said to the nearly 100 people in Regimental Hall at the Benning Club. “Good units welcome and farewell people appropriately. … And I knew it was important for me to get up here and see him. And let Fort Benning know what a great job he did.”
Metheny has been by Miller’s side through some of the nation’s most dangerous military missions. And when Miller drew the top general’s spot in Afghanistan three years ago, Metheny was among the first calls he made.
Wednesday, Miller awarded Metheny two medals – the Legion of Merit and the Defense Superior Service medal.
“He said you can drop them off on the front step or send them in the mail and I will add them to the uniform,” Miller said of Metheny’s wishes. “That’s a course of action. But that’s not what we are going to do today. We are going to recognize 30 months of service.”
Metheny spent 30 consecutive months in the Afghan fight. Miller spent 36 before leaving the country earlier this month.
And it was 30 tough months.
“He got to see things that many of you haven’t seen,” Miller said.
The ceremony, which Miller ordered him to attend in communication on Monday, was important to Metheny. And Miller making the drive from Tampa to Columbus was just as important.
“I think you are looking at servant leadership,” Metheny said. “This is a four-star general with the weight of Afghanistan on his shoulders, trying to remove all U.S. and NATO forces from the theater. And less than a week and a half after he returns from Afghanistan instead of taking a break, he drives seven hours to pin an award on me. And that’s a true leader and one who takes care of his soldiers. And it starts with leadership by personal example.”
The ceremony marked an end for Metheny.
“This was closure. It’s tough to finish any job and like I said, we don’t know what history is going to say about our performance. But I am so proud of the soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines, and NATO forces. They fought hard.”