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Brothers in battle set to row across Atlantic Ocean to bring awareness to veterans mental health

The all-Air Force and Security Forces team will row in a 20-foot row boat, 3,000 miles across the Atlantic completely unassisted.
Fight Oar Die
Posted at 5:39 PM, Sep 06, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-07 12:45:37-04

CLARENCE, N.Y. (WKBW) — A local veteran has his sights set on an ambitious journey.

Chad Miller and his team is training to row across the Atlantic Ocean.

These four guys; Chad, Nick, Will and Tommy, have set their sights on a goal to help veterans who are struggling with their mental health.

They have known each other while serving different roles in Iraq, in 2008, along with serving on base, at Seymour Johnson AFB.

Miller told Pheben Kassahin via Zoom on Tuesday, "We're real big advocates when it comes to veterans' mental health. It's kind of been a passion of mine ever since I separated and seen my own transition and my own struggles."

They are hoping to set an example to other veterans who are struggling by "pushing their limits".

The all-Air Force and Security Forces team will row in a 20-foot row boat, 3,000 miles across the Atlantic completely unassisted.

Their trip is from the Carolinas to the Canary Islands.

Miller said, "We did some training at the Buffalo Scholastic Association with Hilary and those guys. Then, February, May, June and July we were trained on Lake Superior in Wisconsin, in Duluth. We have to log 120 hours on the water, with the boat."

The retired Air Force veteran, of Clarence, served in the Air Force from 2006 to 2012, in North Carolina, at Seymour Johnson AFB.

He went into the reserves until 2019, moved to Buffalo and then went back into being active in Niagara Falls, until the summer of 2022.

Miller explained, "Within the last five years, we've seen a couple dozen suicides within our career field alone because it's a very harsh career field. We get a different notification about once a month, for a different suicide within our career field."

For the last 12 years, veteran suicide rates have been consistently higher than non-veterans, since 2005 to 2018, according to the 2021 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report.

However, the report also stated there were 399 fewer veteran suicides in 2019, than in 2018.

Along with raising funds and awareness, Miller and his team hope to inspire veterans to "Live their lives instead of taking them."

Miller said, "With our team, we've decided to change the dynamic of Fight Oar Die's mission to inspiring veterans to go out and row their own oceans, whether it be getting off the couch, going to do something, finding their purpose."

Forty teams will be competing in the event, which is scheduled for Dec. 12.

In the meantime, the group of four is working to understand their roles as they'll be rowing in 12-hour intervals.

The group is trying to surpass the world record of 50 days, 11 hours and 8 minutes.

Miller and team will be competing in the "Talisker Whisky Atlantic Challenge Race".

This will be the first time an all-Air Force veteran team will be entered to compete.