FORT SNELLING, Minn. –
“I’ve wanted to do this for so long,” said 17-year-old Spc. Moriah Miller, a newly enlisted musician with the 204th Army Band at Ft. Snelling, Minn.
On Dec. 8, 2022, Miller raised her right hand and took the oath of enlistment into the U.S. Army Reserve. Upon completion of 10 weeks of Basic Combat Training and 10 weeks of Advanced Individual Training this summer, Miller will return home to Minnesota and the 204th Army Band, where her mother, Staff Sgt. Becky Meyer, also a musician with the 204th, currently serves.
“It’s really cool to continue the family legacy,” said Miller.
Back in 1998, a young 16-year-old Meyer heard the 451st Army Band (which has since been redesignated as the 204th) perform at an open house and never looked back.
“I fell in love with it the moment I heard the band,” said Meyer. “I remember turning around and telling my dad, ‘I’m going to do this.’”
A few months later, Meyer auditioned, passed, and eventually enlisted in 2000.
“The reason I joined was because I thought it was cool,” said Meyer. “But the reason I stay is the relationships. It’s the Soldiers I serve with and the community I get to represent. Whether it’s service members currently deployed overseas or retired war veterans who don’t necessarily have a voice, we have that voice through music. And I love being able to tell their stories.”
During most of her more than 20 years of service, Meyer has been under the leadership of Command Chief Warrant Officer Daniel Eckhoff, staff band officer of the U.S. Army Reserve Command (previously the commander of the 451st and Meyer’s initial auditioner and assessor). “I was her commander from 2000 until 2017,” said Eckhoff. “And during that time, a lot of life happened.”
In 2005, the 451st spent part of their summer training at Fort A.P. Hill in Virginia. The weather was hot and humid, and Meyer was pregnant with Miller.
“I’ve been concerned with [Moriah] since that time,” said Eckhoff. “Months before she was born, I was worried about her welfare. And ever since then, I’ve been that crazy uncle.”
“Moriah has been at drill with me all throughout the last 17 years, at family support missions and at concerts in the communities,” said Meyer. “It’s been really cool to watch her grow up in the band. It seemed very natural [when she decided to join]. It’s been a dream of hers for a really long time.”
Miller wanted to honor Eckhoff for his enduring mentorship to both her and her mother, so she invited him to conduct her oath of enlistment. “I’m so proud of her,” said Eckhoff. “Now, she’s grown up, she’s become an adult, and she’s following in her mom’s footsteps. It’s just incredible to see the next generation picking up the ball.”
“I’ve always wanted to serve my country,” said Miller. “And I’m so excited [to do it with my mom].”