She not only survived a suicide bombing in Afghanistan - she helped save lives during the attack too.
Wednesday night, the Valley hero and Buchanan High School graduate, came home for the first time, since the attack.
U.S. Marine Sergeant Mary Ann Miller says the January bombing took the lives of two of her fellow marines and dozens of innocent Afghans.
More than a dozen family members and friends held signs and greeted her at Fresno Yosemite International Airport.
Sally Miller says she couldn't wait to wrap her arms around her daughter, knowing this moment was almost ripped from her by an explosion.
"It was a matter of seconds, she could've been blown up, it was very hard to take, because I could've lost her," said the emotional mother.
Sgt. Miller says she and her unit were in a busy market, when the blast went off.
"There was a lot of Marines injured, burns, the stuff that I saw there was terrible, nothing could've prepared me for that day, the sights that we saw. What was going through my head was to help anybody that was near," said Sgt. Miller.
She still has scars on her arm and leg from the shrapnel that hit her.
After the dust settled, 71 people were dead or hurt.
Even though she herself was hurt, she sprung into action and took charge when her leader went down.
"My injuries are minor, there's a lot of people that made the ultimate sacrifice that day, we lost two marines, my heart goes out to them, they are the real heroes," said Sgt. Miller.
Not far from her mind, her fellow alumni from Buchanan High in Clovis - the ones who died fighting the war on terror.
Eight students from Buchanan made the ultimate sacrifice and Sgt. Miller knows, she came close.
"My heart goes out to everybody that we lost, and I'm just glad I came back and I can share stories with my family and friends," she said.
Sgt. Miller volunteered for this deployment,
She was part of a group called the Female Engagement team - part of her job was to reach out to women in Afghanistan, and help give them a voice, to encourage them to speak up and get involved.
She was awarded the Purple Heart, with a special recognition for valor.
And this may not be the last time she goes to war.
She says in January, she'll be looking to volunteer for another deployment.
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