Language selection


Task Commander’s Responsibility

Heroes Remember

Task Commander’s Responsibility

As their overall commander it was my job and my staff’s job to tell ships where to go and what to do. It was the individual captain of the ship to do it, to go there and be there and do what they were told to do. If they had to escort a ship through the Persian Gulf because we needed an escort to take a big container ship through to land the amphibious forces equipment off of Saudi Arabia that’s what they would do and that’s what the task group staff organized; told what each ship, where to go and for how long and what to do and arranged when to get it re-fuelled and put a schedule out. We had, because we didn’t have computer systems of today, we had lots of state boards all over the operation centre in the operation’s room in Athabaskan that would say here are all the merchant ships, here’s what they’re carrying, here’s where they are going, here’s who is going to have to escort them from this point to this point, here are the escorts and then the on watch people on my staff and the ship would actually monitor to make sure all of that was happening. And then we had to know what air traffic was going to happen in the four United States aircraft carriers their air tasking order that they put out on a rolling basis was about that thick; the size of a huge book and that was just, you know, one or two days’ worth of when airplanes were going to be flying. And if any airplane was not flying in the right place at the right time, they were under a weapon system that would be looking at them, that could fire any second. And that was, I think, one of the scary parts I think for all of us was that a weapon system would go off and hit the wrong target and we had lots of opportunities for that to happen because some of the aircraft, the Saudi Arabia Air Force had were the same aircraft as the Iraqis had, you had to really look at what the markings were on the tail before you actually, you may be watching them, but you didn’t want to shoot at them if they were part of your group, not part of the other group so all of these things had to be taken into account of how the whole thing was organized.

Vice Admiral Miller shares the responsibilities he played on board the ship and the types of duties the task force organized.

Duncan “Dusty” Miller

Born in the United Kingdom, Duncan “Dusty” Miller immigrated to Canada in 1954. At the age of 15 and having a strong desire to join the military, Mr. Miller went to the recruiting centre but could not be accepted until 16 years of age. He then attended Bishop’s University in Lennoxville. During his career, Mr. Miller rose to the rank of Vice Admiral where he became the Naval Task Commander aboard HMCS Athabaskan during the Persian Gulf War. Vice Admiral Miller later retired from the military and now resides in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

Meta Data
Veterans Affairs Canada
February 26, 2016
Person Interviewed:
Duncan “Dusty” Miller
War, Conflict or Mission:
Canadian Armed Forces
Persian Gulf
Gulf War
HMCS Athabascan

Copyright / Permission to Reproduce

Related Videos

Date modified: