We love America so much and are honored to celebrate it this Fourth of July. Yesterday, the Diesel Tech staff spent some time talking to one of our American heroes and diesel specialist Staff Sergeant Ryan Milliken, a Cummins calibration specialist at H&S Performance. Milliken served as an explosive ordinance disposal specialist (EOD) with the Air Force during his many years of active duty. During his active military career, Milliken served tours in Kuwait, Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as special details as an aid to the U.S. Secret Service, with direct support to the president.
Growing up, Milliken spent a lot of time around automotive entertainment.
"I was that barefoot kid running around the local dirt track because my dad raced on the circle tracks," said Milliken. By age 5, not only was he watching his father race on the track, he started his own racing in motocross.
"I came into this business honestly," remarks Milliken. "My whole life has revolved around taking things that aren't supposed to go fast and making them go ridiculously fast."
In 2004, Milliken began his enlistment with the Air Force to serve in the dangerous position of an EOD specialist. During his 8 years of active enlistment, he developed specialized skills with advanced electronics that would one day help shape his civilian career and give him the necessary tools to excel after his military service was over.
Back in 2006, he was driving a Jeep on 39 inch tires with too big of a motor and too big of axels as his daily driver. But a local dyno event set a new destiny in motion.
"I saw 8,000 pound trucks putting out 800-900 horsepower and I was blown away at what they could do," says Milliken. "I went home and pulled up YouTube and watched the BigBadDodge video 25 times in a row."
The next day he headed down to the local Dodge dealership and left with one of the first 6.7 Cummins in town.
"I just started playing with it and I haven't stopped," says Milliken.
Returning to the states as an Air Force reservist in August of 2012, Milliken began work with SunCoast Diesel Transmissions, doing any number of jobs, including various project builds and transmission tuning. Having the necessary education and know-how, he sought other opportunities, which ultimately led him to his career with H&S.
"At H&S, I handle everything that has to do with the coding and the tuning of the Cummins programs including transmissions by Cummins," says Milliken. "I update, implement, change or fix, whatever needs to be done."
There is a connection between his military service and working at H&S.
"I went from blowing up bombs to blowing up trucks," laughs Milliken.
Diesel Tech Magazine would like to thank Ryan Milliken and all of America's young men and women who have willingly given their all to support and defend our great nations freedom. Your continuous hard work and dedication to preserving our liberty and way of life is an inspiration to us all.
"I've been in a lot of bad situations and seen a lot of good friends killed," said Milliken. "So this holiday hits home with me. There is a big price that is paid for all that we have here in America."
Have a safe and memorable Independence Day this year, and remember the veterans that have made this day possible. Thank you, Ryan, for your service and everyone else out there who paid the price to keep this country great.
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