Legends of Diving Articles
Portrait: Dr. Sam Miller, IV, A Diver
by Dr. Sam Miller
© 2010 Dr. Sam Miller
All Rights Reserved.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
When the organization switched to PADI he became a PADI
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
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
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
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
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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