Stand-Out Female: Phoenix Raven

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Danielle Conde
  • 6th Air Mobility Wing public affairs
Sometimes the second job choice turns out to be a better career decision. For one Airman, enlisting in the Air Force as security forces instead of her first choice, Survival, Evasion, Resistance and Escape specialist, lead her to becoming part of an elite team of Airmen known as the Phoenix Ravens.

"Becoming a Phoenix Raven is voluntary," said Tech. Sgt. Antonio Grullon, 6th Security Forces Squadron Phoenix Raven Program manager. "Those who raise their hands are taking a huge step in joining a long list of extraordinary men and women ever since our implementation in 1997."

Phoenix Ravens are entrusted to protect resources, cargo, and personnel by any means necessary in unknown and dangerous locations during missions.

With not even a year in the service, 25-year-old Airman 1st Class Whitney Miller, 6th Security Force Squadron phoenix raven, became the only female to join the Phoenix Raven Program at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida, in six years.

"The selection phase has been known to be psychologically intimidating," said Grullon, who went on to add that Miller's transition into the MacDill program could help promote and encourage additional females within the squadron to join.

Born in Clinton, Iowa, Miller grew up with four older brothers who never cut her any slack.

"Family has always been important to me, but since joining the service their support has been a dominating factor for my success," she said.

After graduating from Augustana College in 2013, Miller entered into the delayed entry program with the intention of becoming a SERE specialist, but she soon realized that the job slots were being filled with enlisted special operations personnel. She made the decision to take a security forces job instead, which sent her to basic military training in February 2014.

"Early in my Air Force career I made becoming a Raven a goal of mine after hearing the stories being shared by one of my tech school instructors," said Miller.

As soon as she had the chance, Miller attended a Pre-Raven course at MacDill, which was an extensive series of physical tryouts.

"MacDill does a superior job of picking candidates to go through a three-week apprentice course," she said.

The apprentice course is held at the Phoenix Raven School located at Joint Base McGuire-Dix-Lakehurst, New Jersey.

The second day of the apprentice course proved to be the turning point in Miller's attitude, work ethic, and drive to become a Raven.

"When I felt I had been broken down and not able to give anymore, I was pushed and motivated to keep going," she said. "I broke my barriers and mentally became stronger."

On Aug. 4, 2014, Miller graduated from the course and was awarded her Phoenix Raven number, 2244. She then returned to MacDill to join her fellow Raven brothers and sisters.

"Miller is a stand-out Airman because she's motivated!" said Grullon. "She came fresh to her first duty station and accepted a bigger challenge in becoming a Phoenix Raven."

He went on to say that she is a strong example for her peers to follow and she is someone he would work with without hesitation.

Miller will be part of the Phoenix Raven Program at MacDill for two years. She looks forward to traveling the world while helping people and giving back.

Editor's note:
Airman 1st Class Miller is the third of five females to be selected to be featured as a stand-out female Airman at MacDill Air Force Base, Florida.