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Sam Miller III: ScubaBoard's first "Scuba Legend"

Discussion in 'Avenue of the Divers: Scuba Legends & Pioneers' started by The Chairman, Jun 10, 2017.

  1. coldwaterlloyd

    coldwaterlloyd Manta Ray

    Thanks Sam , your contributions are fantastic , cheers
    Trailboss123 likes this.
  2. Kharon

    Kharon Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 200 - 499
    Location: Upstate NY
    Seriously impressive, and (judging from his posts on SB) a wonderful person as well.
    Blueringocto_73 likes this.
  3. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!

    Individually and collectively thank you for the comments

    Did you open and read the NAUI generated pdf file ?

    It is a narrative of the diving history of me and son Sam IV.
    Sam IV began diving over 50 years ago in a bath tub and has never stopped . Sam IV became a NAUI Life instructor (not too many of them around) a PADI instructor and a SSI Pro 5000 He is now the director of ER & Hyperbarics at a local regional hospital.

    All the sisters became divers, two have doctorates-- makes for interesting conversation at Thanksgiving dinner

    Thanks again,

    Sam III
  4. Efka76

    Efka76 Barracuda

    # of Dives: 50 - 99
    Location: Edinburgh, Scotland
    Wow!!!! So impressive story! It is a big honor to have such person in this forum.
  5. aquacat8

    aquacat8 Solo Diver

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Savannah, GA
    Yes! Great article, Love the picture of Sammy!
    Blueringocto_73 likes this.
  6. jonhall

    jonhall Manta Ray

    # of Dives: 100 - 199
    Location: Indianapolis
    Great article. I found out the type of person Sam is when he reached out to me (out of the blue) to share information about one of his ex-students, author Clive Cussler, after I had replied to a thread about Cussler's books. He made a standing offer for me to contact him if I wanted any other info. It was really nice to have a conversation with him.

    Thanks Sam!
  7. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!
    A little of topic but some of you might enjoy this about the history of regulator repair and Sam IV ( in bold) regulator repair course when he was a strapping young boy of 12 who rode his bike to US Divers for the course

    In the beginning there was one company marketing diving equipment in US- Rene Sports, located in the back of a men's clothing store in Los Angels, California. In 1952 the company expanded and the name was changed US Divers, now Aqua lung.

    Original advertisements and "word of mouth" indicated the Aqua lung was good for over 1000 dives with out adjustment or major maintenance, which was the first example of diving's false news.

    Some of the components of the Aqua Lung were French war surplus - either WW1 or WW11, it was never really determined exactly what War. The components that gave most grief was the hoses and the diaphragm,
    The hoses were prone to leak so were replaced with longer US WW11 gas mask hoses. The diaphragm,? A different story. It might have been a component from the Gas-O-gen, war surplus or just poor 1940s manufacturing

    Never the less It seemed we always were breathing wet air (Oh! the Horror - wet air) either from leaking hoses or a microscopic hole or holes in the diaphragm. On occasion the diaphragm. would rupture, generally at the most inopportune time with little or no warning which gave the diver two options either remain on the bottom and attempt to breathe water or head for the California sunshine and fresh air- most all were successful in the later activity.

    It was called "Swallowing the diaphragm."

    It happened to me twice, The last time was the most memorable. I was a body length back in a cave breathing hard and deep after California Lobsters, Suddenly a more than normal amount of water with inhalation. The next breath as pure SoCal Salt water, I got on my on my horse, backed out and did a blow and go to the surface to the then smog free California Air..

    Around that same time a number of things occurred
    US Divers, under Rene & crew discovered some holes in the original US patent for the Aqua Lung which allowed US Divers to improve the breed with the DA model an produce it in the US by B&B,

    My neighbor and friend Rory Page invented and marketed the Hope-Page non return valve

    LA Co UW instruction Certification course was created

    And US Divers hired a repairman, possibly the world's first Aqua Lung (aka SCUBA) full time repairman the late Bill Millman- Lung diving was beginning to emerge as a company

    Only a few repair courses were offered by the manufactures for a number of years, then only to handful of local LA Co UW instructors as a sponsored recertification seminar.

    Over 40 years ago Lt Cmdr. Leslie "Tommy" Thompson USN Ret (LA Co UW Instructor ) was hired as the PR of US Divers. Tommy was a diver's diver he had many first - most notable was his lock out under the ice cap in 1947.

    Tommy recognized the need for a repair course for US divers dealers, military personnel and industry leaders so he created and established a free week long 40 hour equipment repair course presented at US Divers in Santa Ana California.

    I was one of the first to enroll and repeated the course for a number years in a row. It was a very complete course, beginning with monkey see -monkey do and repetition, repetition until the break down and reassemble could have probably been performed blindfolded like some of us did with our side arms in the service of our county.

    About 40 years ago my son was 12 years old. Sam IV had been raised in a pioneer diving family surrounded by divers and diving all his life. He had attended summer BSA camp at Catalina Island, had some time on his hands and needed a challenge. I called the then instructor Bryan Miller (a dear friend but not related) and asked if it was possible to enroll 12 years old Sam IV in the repair course? The response was positive so Sam IV packed a lunch jumped on his bike and peddled through the then mild Orange county traffic to US divers and the equipment repair course.

    He returned home the first day excited has I had hoped he would. Over dinner he chatted about his new found companions in the course by first name ( a family no no - adult were to be addressed as Mr. or Miss, but these were his adult classmates and he was a young adult) He was amazed that he had more dives and had been diving longer than any others in the class- but this was 40 years ago and diving was just beginning to migrate past the SoCal borders.

    Every day he returned home with a memento from US Divers, a tee shirt, a sweat shirt, fins, mask and snorkel and finally a youth size wet suit. Apparently the word had got out among the company officials that he was the youngest ever to take the US Divers repair course and they wanted to reward him.

    Several weeks after the completion of the course he received a telephone call from US Divers There was a fellow who would like to meet him - could he drop by tomorrow ?

    As 12 year old adventuresome boys did and I assume still do he took off with out a word to his mother and I to US Divers.

    Waiting at US Divers was Jacques Cousteau who met him, congratulated him on being the youngest ever to complete the company sponsored repair course him and gave him an autographed copy of his latest book. Sam IV was some what impressed .with his new friend Zeek ( JY Cousteau)

    And that was the way it was -- a long time ago from US recreational diving's birth place which has now spread to the hinterlands of the US and the world.

    Sam IV ? He competed his Eagle scout a few years later, became a NAUI (Life) and PADI instructor, ER & Hyperbaric doctor and is now a director of the local regional hospital.

    Sam Miller, III

  8. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!
    Blueringocto_73 and Hank49 like this.
  9. Sam Miller III

    Sam Miller III Scuba Legend Scuba Legend

    # of Dives: 5,000 - ∞
    Location: CALIFORNIA: Where recreational diving began!

    NAUI article


    Two Generations: Two NAUI Leaders
    I n our world of scuba, there are many divers, but there are relatively few "capital D" Divers. Multigenerational Diver families are fewer still. The Cousteau family is one. The Sam Miller family is another. The father, Samuel Miller III (NAUI A27) made his first scuba dive in 1951. The son, Samuel Miller IV (NAUI 13227) made his first scuba "dive" in the bathtub when he was 2 years old. Miller III's acquaintance with the underwater world began in 1943 when an eye infection from his local YMCA pool in Indiana forced him to wear swim goggles, and he discovered he could see underwater. He managed to acquire a mask and a pair of Churchill fins and became an avid snorkeler in area lakes. The early 1950s brought him to California, where he immediately made the transfer from fresh water to the Pacific Ocean. One of the attractions of the ocean was spearfishing and bringing home dinner. He made his first scuba dive on Memorial Day 1951 in Divers Cove, Laguna Beach, California. ''We had no diving instruction till1954," Miller III said. "In those days, every time you put your head underwater, it was a new experience .... When you bought your diving equipment, you got a little pamphlet of about six or eight pages that you read, and that was the sum total of instruction." There was no real buddy diving either. It was "same ocean, same day'' buddymanship. Once in the water, each diver did what he wanted. After serving in the U.S. Air Force in Korea, he returned to Southern California and diving. The sport was burgeoning; its main attraction remained spearfishing. The ocean was teeming with life, and you could easily harvest a dinner oflobster, abalone or fish, often simply wading in from the beach. Diving brought together Miller III and his wife, Betty, who was also a diver. Their four children - daughters Roni, Randi, and Keni, and son, Sam IV - could easily go down to the ocean and catch dinner. They sometimes grew tired of the seafood delicacies that they or their father brought home and pleaded for hot dogs "like the other kids."
    Once the whole family became qualified divers, Catalina Island became a favorite offshore diving destination for them. Miller III began teaching scuba at the Long Beach YMCA in 1956. Los Angeles County established its Underwater Instructor Certification Program in the mid-1950s, and Miller III attended a course and became a certified instructor. When NAUI was established in 1960, he became a NAUI Instructor (NAUI A27), and he spent 28 years actively teaching people to dive. His enthusiasm and increasing knowledge of diving made him a recognized expert in the field. He has authored numerous articles for diving magazines and websites, developed instructional programs, been a lecturer at conferences, a newspaper columnist, consultant for equipment manufacturers, expert witness and even diving safety officer for Cousteau's deep submersible Denise. He has assembled what is probably the most complete private collection of recreational diving books, periodicals and ephemera in the world. Miller III has estimated that in his more than six decades of diving, he has made over 8,000 dives all around the world, many of them with his wife and son. At 86 years old, his adventure with all things ocean continues. In the next generation,

    Samuel Miller IV, was a diver almost from birth. Having first mastered bathtub diving as a toddler-the regulator had a long hose and the cylinder was on the bathroom floor-he graduated to the family pool at age 4 using a MSA cylinder with homemade backpack. At 5 years old, he was in the Pacific Ocean. "Not too deep and not far from shore, but he was underwater, and in his own mind, he was a diver," said his father. Miller IV had a lot of encouragement from his family and also from family friends who were diving luminaries themselves. The photo shows "Sammy Miller" on his sixth birthday getting ready for a dive with Dr. Charlie Brown, NAUI's medical adviser, with whom Miller IV dived many times. Brown was interested in learning how a young child adapted to diving.
    By the time he reached his lOth birthday, Miller IV had logged more than 100 open-water dives, and that year, he completed the Los Angeles County and NAUI Scuba Diver courses, although he was too young to be certified. During the summer of his 12th birthday, he was accepted and successfully completed a 40-hour US Divers equipment repair course. At age 18, he became the youngest person listed in Who's Who of Scuba Diving. In SoCal diving circles, Miller IV was considered a top hunter and freediving spearfisher. When he turned 18, he was accepted for provisional membership in the Long Beach Neptunes Spearfishing Club, and then into full membership. In his spare time, Miller IV designed, fabricated and sold custom-built teakwood spearguns. His guns had a custom-length balance bar measured to the user's arm length and a handle that was shaped from a mold of the owner's gloved hand in the shooting position. During college, he served on weekends as a deckhand on the dive charter boat Golden Doubloon.
    In 1991, Miller IV became a NAUI Instructor (NAUI 13227) and taught scuba at one of the Southern California dive shops. He won a scholarship to the Catalina Chamber course, completed their internship and became a qualified chamber technician. While waiting to enter medical school, he began technical mixed gas diving with his friend Jeff Bozanic, making deep technical dives on a regular basis off the California coast. After completing medical school in Pomona, California, and an emergency room residency in Kingman, Arizona, he won a fellowship in hyperbaric diving medicine at University of San Diego Medical Center. At the end of the fellowship in 2008, he accepted a position at Marion Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria, California, where he is currently their director of ER/Hyperbaric Medicine. Miller III summed up much of the feelings of him and his family: "The ocean provides bountiful gifts. It's a recreational area to protect for all present and future generations. Everybody should be able to enjoy it. Every time I went diving,
    jonhall likes this.

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