Ladies and Gentleman. It is my honor to introduce to you Command Sergeant Major James Miller.
Greetings Fellow Metal Heads out in 3D In Your Face Land. In honor of Sniper’s birthday I was asked to write an entry for this week’s Hair In The Air blog, so stand up straight and buckle up your chin strap because here it comes.
I will begin by saying…..and I don’t want to shock anyone…. But the bad ass guitar shredding wizard you all have come to know and love, who goes by the name Sniper….. well that’s not his real name.
For those of us that fought and served with him in the Army and in combat, we all knew him as Sergeant Hineline. Sergeant Hineline was one of the best; Flat belly, steely eyed, motivated, physically fit, skilled, tough and ready. Sergeant Hineline was a Paratrooper in the famed 82d Airborne Division.
I was the battalion Command Sergeant Major. In one of my duties……I had the responsibility and the privilege to select and to promote soldiers and to develop leaders. I sat at the helm of the 800 soldiers we had in our battalion and Sergeant Hineline stood apart from his peers.
We made it through a tough rotation in Afghanistan and had barley just made it back home to Ft Bragg when we got the call and were sent straight back into the fire, this time into Iraq. Because we had just got home from Afghanistan, we were short on people, weapons, radios, vehicles…….we were short on everything. We were supposed to be in a refit mode but duty called and we had to go. I needed people I could count on, I needed soldiers I could trust, and I needed leaders.
The proceeding to promote a soldier to the rank of Sergeant requires the soldier to present himself in front of a promotion board of senior enlisted NCOs. In this process the soldier’s records are reviewed, they take a physical fitness test, their equipment is inspected, they qualify with their weapon systems and then finally they appear in front of a board where they are grilled with every kind of military question you can imagine.
I remember Chris Hineline reporting in for his turn at the promotion board to Sergeant. One of the first things you direct the candidate to do upon reporting to the promotion board is to have them address the board and give an oral autobiography of who they are, where they came from, why the serve and what are their goals.
I knew just by looking at him, even before he even said a word that I wanted to recommend him for promotion. I needed his help. He was respected. He could do his job and he had the courage to do it. But I had to keep with protocol and tradition and I had to ask him something to keep it official.
During his autobiography introduction he mentioned that he played music and that he had been in a couple bands and he told me point blank that he was a musician. He was wearing a uniform, flak jacket, war belt with hand grenades and he was carrying a gun. He didn’t look like a musician to me. He looked like a soldier.
So I asked him what kind of music he listened to or played. He said ‘you name it’…. and then he rattled off a few bands; Van Halen, Twisted Sister, Warrant, Poison. As a closet Metal Head myself, I was impressed and I liked his story, his style, his swagger. So I told him, “I am going to ask you just one question, and if you get this question right I will promote you right here on the spot to Sergeant.”
So I asked him this: “What band did Randy Rhodes play for before Ozzy recruited him to play with him when he left Black Sabbath”. Chris’s face lit up and he said very assertively, “Quiet Riot”.
And from that moment then he became known to us as Sergeant Hineline.
Like me, Sniper’s Army’s days are behind him now…. but I say he still serves. During our time in the Army, we thought of ourselves as a force of good. We helped other people, liberated the oppressed and we helped each other. Now Sniper plays in a rock band. He is a musician just like he said back when we were in Iraq. He brings joy to people……. allowing people to listen to his music and to enjoy themselves so they can forget about their troubles, even if it’s just for a little bit. Looking at him now, I beam with pride when I see his 3D In Your Face pics and the people dancing and having fun because of something he has created.
Chris Hineline is a certified American Bad ass that has paid his dues, served his country well and is a good man all around and I am proud to call him my friend.
So Happy Birthday Sniper…. All The Way & Rock n Roll forever!!!
The 3D In Your Face Army