James Blake Miller
|James Blake Miller|
The "Marlboro Marine" photo of Miller, by Luis Sinco.
|Birth name||James Blake Miller|
July 10, 1984 |
Pike County, Kentucky
|Service/branch||United States Marine Corps|
|Years of service||2002–2005|
|Unit||8th Marine Regiment|
James Blake Miller (born July 10, 1984 in Pike County, Kentucky) is a United States Marine Corps veteran of the Iraq War, who fought in the Second Battle of Fallujah and was dubbed the "Marlboro Man" in addition to the "Marlboro Marine", after an iconic, close-up photograph of him with a cigarette was published in newspapers in the United States in 2004.
Miller suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after the war.
Miller grew up in Jonancy, Kentucky. He became an ordained minister. Not interested in working in the coal mines, Miller joined the United States Marine Corps with the intention to eventually work in law enforcement.
Second Battle of Fallujah
Miller was part of Charlie Company of the 1st Battalion, 8th Marine Regiment, a unit which took part in the Second Battle of Fallujah in November 2004. Los Angeles Times photographer Luis Sinco took a photo of 20-year-old Miller leaning against a wall, smoking a cigarette. In explaining the photograph, Sinco said that "His expression caught my eye. To me, it said: terrified, exhausted, and glad just to be alive. I recognized that look because that's how I felt too."
Sinco's photograph of Miller was published in many newspapers. CBS Evening News anchor Dan Rather singled out the photo for its excellence, and turned the then-unidentified Marine into a celebrity. Sinco was told to find the Marine for a follow-up story and tracked down Miller four days later in an auditorium near Fallujah's civic center. Miller was embarrassed about the photo's notoriety, but shared information with Sinco. The two would remain friends thereafter.
After his identity was made public, people sent him care packages, including lots of cigarettes; President George W. Bush sent cigars, candy and memorabilia from the White House. The forward command center soon featured a large blowup of the photo. The Commanding General of the 1st Marine Division, Richard F. Natonski, made a special trip to see Miller, to Miller's surprise. The general shook Miller's hand and let him know that, because Americans had "connected" with his photo, and nobody wanted to see him wounded or dead, he was offered a trip home. Miller turned down the offer because he did not want to leave his comrades behind.