Legends of Diving Articles


Portrait: Dr. Sam Miller, IV, A Diver
by Dr. Sam Miller
© 2010 Dr. Sam Miller
All Rights Reserved.

Every parent should be proud of their children -- I certainly am of my son Dr. Sam IV, who is a diver...

Sam was born into a pioneer Orange County, California diving family. He began his diving career as a toddler at a little over 2 years old in the bath tub sucking on a modified regulator which was attached to a Scuba tank on the bath room floor, by 4 in a shallow "Do-boy" pool at 5 into the family

pool and the Pacific Ocean. His initial open water dives were not to deep or too far from the beach, but he was underwater and he was a diver in his mind. He rapidly progressed in his diving skills and grew in stature. Prior to reaching his 10 birthday he had logged 100+ open water dives, on his 12 birth day he dove to 130 (oops! depth gauge was in error was to have been 100 feet).

At age ten he successfully completed the very difficult and demanding LA County and
NAUI basic

Dr. Sam Miller, IV

SCUBA course taught by Mr. Ron Merker, Outstanding LA county Instructor of the Year, holder of three spear fishing records, and recipient of DEMA's "Reaching Out' award.

At the ripe old age of 11 he also made his first dive in a Mark V helmet, the KM and Swindel hard hats at the Commercial Diving Center (CDC) in Wilmington, California -- he was large for his age-- the ole dad had connections with CDC staff and of course his dad fibbed a bit about his age.

During the summer of his 12th birthday he was accepted and successfully completed the US Divers Equipment repair course under Bryan Miller, now the east coast (and Ohio) US Divers sales representative. Because of his youth and excitement for diving he became a favorite of John Cronin, the then US Divers president and founder of PADI who presented him with a new set of equipment and several US Divers shirts. A few weeks later JY Cousteau sent him a personally autographed book

In high school he was an outstanding student, campus leader and athlete. He was active in his church and scouting and became an assistant scout master of his troop and rose to the rank of Eagle Scout.

His high school biology classes required a human performance experiment. Sam IV chose SCUBA diving fin performance. He contacted all of the manufactures who provided him with cases of fins to test. He went about developing a performance testing machine and establishing test criteria. He enlisted his youthful diving buddies and dad as test subjects. The fin that had the greatest overall performance was the Winoka "Planar" which had been designed by his father's former student Herb Van der pol. His 15 page evaluation report was given the grade of A+.

Concurrently he was active in SoCal diving circles; by his peers was considered a top hunter and spear fisherman ( free diving.) When he turned 18 he applied and after 18 months as a provisional member was accepted as a full member of the famous Long Beach Neptunes Spear fishing club, the second oldest and most restrictive membership diving club in US

His talents and contributions were recognized when at age 18 he became the youngest diver listed in "Who's who of SCUBA Diving" published by the Academy of Marine Science and Underwater Research.

At Long Beach State (LBS) College he studied graduated with a degree in Micro-biology. During his tenure at LBS he was an associate investigator for a professional paper on "Oil consuming bacteria."

During his college weekends he was also deck hand on the dive charter boat "Golden Doubloon." This is the dive boat originally owned by the former California resident and world renowned treasure hunter, Mel Fisher, but then owned and operated by the well known Southern California charter boat skipper, Captain Greg Elliot.

In his "spare time" he designed and fabricated and sold custom wood teak spear guns. His guns had three unique features that set them aside as a truly custom weapon; a deep V track that offered minimal contact with the arrow, a custom length balance bar measured to the users arm length and a handle that was developed from a mold of the owners gloved hand in the shooting position . His ingenuity and skill as a custom spear gun maker was acknowledged by his friend the late E. R. Cross in his monthly Skin Diver Magazine column.

After receiving his BS and prior to entering medical school he was employed for a short time by large national pharmacological firm as a microbiologist. He set the national Microbiology board and was awarded the title of "Professional Microbiologist."

He began his diving career with 2 hose regulators. Over the years has amassed a rather presentable collection of these antiques. Therefore, it was logical that he become a charter member and active in the Historical Diving Society when it was established over 10 years ago.

He became a NAUI (Life) Instructor and taught SCUBA at one of the largest southern California dive shops. His NAUI instructor trainer was one of the best known southern California NAUI instructors but even the best courses never fully developed an effective instructor . To insure he would develop into a top instructor his initial classes were monitored and later critiqued by some of the outstanding instructors of the area. He rapidly advanced as a top instructor

When the organization switched to PADI he became a PADI instructor

While employed as a SCUBA Instructor he convinced the corporate authorities of the company to donate 24 complete SCUBA units to established one of, if not the first, SCUBA Boy Scout troops in the US. He became and acted as a hands on scout master until he entered medical school

As a NAUI instructor he was eligible for the NAUI scholarship for the 2 week long Catalina chamber course-- he applied and won the scholarship. He completed the internship and became chamber qualified technician . Several years later during the annual Catalina "Chamber Days" there were two diving accidents; one fatal and one embolism which became a fatality. For the embolism he was the inside treating diving technician and made a 14 hour chamber ride - the longest ride in the history of the Catalina chamber.

While waiting to enter Medical school he began Tec- Mixed Gas diving with his good friend Jeff Bozanic making mixed gas technical dives to 300 and 400 feet on a regular basis off the California coast.

He enter Medical school and was immediately elected student body President and held the position for all three years of schooling.

He interned in Dayton, Ohio and was appointed Chief intern--after one winter he discovered he was "a man of the west" so he returned to west for 4 year ER residency in Kingman Arizona.

During his last year in residency he was advised by his hospital director that there was a vacancy for a fellowship in Hyperbaric - Diving Medicine at University of San Diego Medical center. He applied.

He was personally informed by the director of the Hyperbaric -Diving Medicine department that he had been granted the fellowship. The director indicated the hospital had never had any applicant as qualified as Dr. Sam IV--He had the most experience, knowledge and best over all qualifications of any applicant that had ever applied or was currently in the program..

He has successfully completed his ER residency, moved to San Diego and began his Hyperbaric - Diving medicine fellow ship which will be completed in July 2008.

He was recognized by the prestigious SCUBA Schools International Platinum Pro 5000 dives award in May 2007and received the award in October 2007 in ceremonies at DEMA in Orlando, Florida. Life long friend and famous author Clive Cussler presented him with his latest book personally inscribed by both himself and his son Dirk Cussler to commemorate the occasion.

Dr. Sam IV and his father Dr. Sam III are only the third father/ son to be so honored in the 15 year history of the prestigious Pro 5000 award.

His professional paper "Anemia Case Series" has been accepted and will be presented at the Undersea Hyperbaric Medical Society annual scientific conference at Salt Lake City in June 2008

He will be at Portage Quarry in August for the third annual "Legends of diving" and will be available to discuss individually and collectively the latest in hyperbaric medicine

Dr. Sam IV is an exemplary human and a outstanding veteran diver who has distinguished him self in his professional life and in his leisure activity of recreational diving.

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© 2010 Dr. Sam Miller
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