Paul Bruce Kappelman – Colonel, United States Army

Colonel Paul Kappelman to Be Inducted into UNL Army ROTC Hall of Fame

WHEN: Tuesday, November 11, 2003, 10 a.m.
WHERE: Auditorium, Nebraska Union, 1400 R St.

Lincoln, Nebraska – November 6, 2003 – Army ROTC at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln will induct Colonel Paul B. Kappelman into its Hall of Fame in a Veterans Day ceremony November 11, 2003, at the Nebraska Union, 1400 R St. The public ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. in the auditorium.

A 1973 graduate of UNL and its ROTC program, Colonel Kappelman served as a Special Forces officer until his death June 7, 2003, in a climbing accident on Bolivia's Mount Illimani.

Originally from Burton, Nebraska, Colonel Kappelman began his career in the Army as a rifle platoon leader, an executive officer of Operation Detachment Alpha in the 19th Special Forces Group, and as commander of Company B, 2nd Battalion in the 7th Special Forces Group in Panama. He later served as a battalion logistics officer, commander of a combat support company (heavy weapons), assistant operations officer for the 82nd Airborne Division, and battalion executive officer for the 7th Special Forces Group at Fort Bragg, North Carolina.

He became a senior adviser for the armed forces in El Salvador, commander of the 1st Psychological Operations Battalion at Fort Bragg, deputy director of psychological operations and civil affairs in the office of the Secretary of Defense and commander of the U.S. Military Group in Bolivia.

Colonel Kappelman received the Defense Superior Service medal, the Bronze Star and the Meritorious Service medal.

Distinguished guests at the induction ceremony will include members of Colonel Kappelman's family, fellow Army officers and UNL faculty and alumni.

Courtesy of The State Journal
Franfort, Kentucky
Friday June 13, 2003

Army Major from here dies climbing Andes

by Beth Crace

A Frankfort, Kentucky, native and decorated Army Major died over the weekend in a mountain climbing accident in Bolivia.

Major Kenneth R. Miller Jr., 40, was climbing in the Andes Mountains Saturday along with another officer and tour guide. The three perished while attempting to climb the 21,000-foot Mount Illimani, officials at the U.S. Embassy in La Paz reported.

Colonel Paul Kappelman and Vincente Perez, a Bolivian national guide, also died. Their bodies were identified late Tuesday, said the Embassy's spokeswoman Melissa Clegg-Tripp.

Miller graduated from Franklin County High School in 1980 and enlisted in the military shortly thereafter. He did a tour in the President's Old Guard and attended Kentucky State University before earning a chemical engineering degree at the Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology in Terre Haute, Indiana.

He was a member of the Army's Special Forces unit and received a master's degree in international relations from Yale University in 2002.

Miller had been living in Bolivia for the past year, where he was assigned to the U.S. Embassy to head the Operations and Advising Unit.

“It's been a very sad time at the embassy,” said Clegg-Tripp. “Both officers leave behind families.”

Minh A. Luong, the executive director of Yale's International Security Studies, was one of Miller's graduate school instructors. Luong said Miller was one of his best students and the two got to be good friends in Miller's 18 months at the university.

Luong said Miller was chosen by his peers to lead his class at graduation as grand marshal and he was one of the top students in the department. He described Miller as a well-liked student at Yale who was able to dispel stereotypes about the U.S. military while there.

“He was patriotic without being ideological,” said Luong.

The ethics and international studies professor said Miller loved his country, and was dedicated to raising awareness about problems in Latin America. He said Miller fought to be assigned to Bolivia.

While at Yale, Miller enrolled in the elite Grand Stategy program and served as an instructor in Yale's Ivy Scholars Program for high school students and teachers, which is held in the summer.

Luong, who had planned to visit Miller in Bolivia to work with the Bolivian government on counter-terrorism efforts, said Miller intended to return to New Haven this summer to work with the Ivy Scholars program again.

“He was really a generous person,” said Luong. “He felt strongly about the power and promise of young people.”

To his friends at home, Miller was seen as a fun-loving adventure seeker.

“He was just a totally unique individual,” said Katie Boyd, who had been friends with Miller since high school. “I don't think he lived his life with too many regrets.”

Boyd said Miller, who was known as “Kenny” to his friends, loved to travel, and last year participated in Pamplona, Spain's “Run with the Bulls.”

She said it was no surprise for the guy who was thought of as “bigger than life” to take the job in Bolivia, where his duties included traveling into the jungle to destroy drug labs.

“That's the hard thing – trying to deal with the shock of it,” Boyd said, of dealing with Miller's death.

Prior to being stationed in Bolivia, Miller served as the commander of the Special Forces detachment in Fort Bragg, North Carolina, where he planned and conducted operations between the U.S., foreign governments and foreign non-governmental agencies.

He was awarded the Army Commendation Medal three times, and the Army Achievement Medal three times. He received numerous honors while a student at Rose-Hulman, including the George T. Marshall Award for the top ROTC cadet in the nation in 1988.

Luong, who also advises the military, said he was told by an official at the U.S. State Department that Miller was in line to become a Lieutenant Colonel. Miller's death, Luong said, ended what likely would have been a bright career, and is a loss to the military and diplomacy.

“His two sons have a lot to be pround of,” said Luong. “He was a good man fighting the good fight.”

Miller was the son of Ken Miller, a KSU employee. His death is the second tragedy for the local university this spring. Philip Taylor, the son of KSU Professor Richard Taylor, died in May from injuries sustained in a freak accidental fall at his residence in Louisville.

In addition to Miller's father, survivors include his wife, Lee Miller; two sons, Thomas Miller and Michael Miller; his mother, Marsha Swain, Frankfort; his stepmother, Judith Miller, Frankfort; a brother, Tom Miller, Frankfort; two sisters, Lauren Miller, Frankfort, and Erica Nichols, Louisville; and a grandmother, Burdell Swain, Frankfort.

A memorial service was to be held today in Bolivia. A local memorial service will be held at a later date.


  • VETERAN SERVICE DATES: 05/19/1973 – 06/07/2003
  • DATE OF BIRTH: 06/26/1951
  • DATE OF DEATH: 06/07/2003
  • DATE OF INTERMENT: 08/15/2003

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