Marine Dies in Training excercise
Posted in the Midlothian Forum
#1 Jul 16, 2008
A 29-year-old Midlothian native was among the four people killed when a military helicopter crashed during a training exercise Thursday at a base north of San Diego.
Friends and family gathered at his boyhood home Friday, flipping through scrapbooks and reminiscing about a man they said was an extremely qualified pilot headed for a bright future in the Marines.
Capt. Adam Miller had returned from Iraq in August, family members said, and was set to redeploy there in June. He had previously served in Afghanistan.
His parents, Joe and Sandra Miller, had been planning to buy tickets today to visit him and his wife, Nicole, in San Diego.
Neither was prepared for the phone call they received at 1:30 a.m. Friday.
“He's been through this training mode so many times, that we kind of put aside (worrying about it),” Sandra Miller said.“We were so busy planning this trip to California that we really were kind of high on that.”
“I think our guards were down, but not his,” Joe Miller said.“I think we did because he was back here and out of Iraq.”
The four Marines were killed during a training run at Camp Pendleton.
Flying with Miller were 1st Lt. Michael S. Lawlor, 26, a helicopter pilot from Timonium, Md., and Cpl. Joshua D. Harris, 21, a helicopter crew chief from Holiday, Fla. The name of the fourth Marine was withheld pending notification of relatives.
The Marines were part of a detachment from Marine Light Attack Helicopter Squadron 169, attached to the Marine Medium Helicopter Squadron 166, 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit, I Marine Expeditionary Force.
Miller’s military career started after he earned a bachelor’s degree in aeronautical engineering in 1996 from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It was at college that he met Nicole, his wife of three years and an Aurora native.
Upon graduation, Miller was accepted into the Marines’ officer-training school in Quantico, Va., and became a lieutenant in 1997.
His mother pinned his wings on Miller in 1998. She still wears the necklace with a small wings emblem he gave her after the ceremony.
Miller’s parents said their son had wanted to fly since age 4, perhaps influenced by the “Star Wars” movies.
“He wanted to be Luke Skywalker,” Joe Miller said.“He always wanted to fly.”
On Friday, friends filed in and out of the house. A yellow ribbon was tied around a tree outside. The phone rang constantly. A plate of chocolate chip cookies sat next to framed pictures of Miller as a child.
“This one was taken on our first trip down to Disney World,” said Joe Miller, pointing to a photo of his son grinning ear-to-ear while seated on a plane.“This was taken when the stewardess asked if he wanted to sit up in the cockpit. Look at him, he’s just going:‘Yeaahh!’”
Miller graduated from Oak Forest High School, where he played basketball. But his parents said their son was more of an academic star.
He was a member of a group of friends his parents dubbed “The Brainiacs.”
Miller had dubbed his UH-1 Huey helicopter “Sandy”-- not after his mother, she said, but because it was always full of sand. His parents said the helicopter, which can be used to carry cargo, was outfitted with guns and was used to transport troops.
The Millers will travel to San Diego for a military funeral for all four crash victims. The funeral is expected to be Friday.
The family then plans to bring their son home for a ceremony in Midlothian.
The Millers asked that anyone wanting to give a memorial instead send a care package to military personnel serving overseas.
“Not everyone serving has a family like Adam has,” Sandra Miller said.
#2 Jul 19, 2008
Rest in peace Captain Miller. You will be missed!
#3 Oct 1, 2009
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