James Blake Miller

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James Blake Miller
James Blake Miller as Marlboro Marine.jpg
The "Marlboro Marine" photo of Miller, by Luis Sinco.
Birth name James Blake Miller
Nickname(s) Marlboro Marine
Born (1984-07-10) July 10, 1984 (age 29)
Pike County, Kentucky
Allegiance  United States
Service/branch United States Marine Corps
Years of service 2002–2005
Unit 8th Marine Regiment
Battles/wars

Iraq War

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.[1]

Miller suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder after the war.

Early years[edit]

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.[1]

Iraq War[edit]

Second Battle of Fallujah[edit]

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."[1]

Marlboro Marine[edit]

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.[1]

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.[1]

The photograph was nominated by Slate in 2011 for a list of "New Classics", products of the culture since 2000 that will withstand the test of time.[2]

Post-War[edit]

After his tour, Miller returned to Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. He was married in June 2005.[3] In November 2005, Miller was medically discharged from the Marine Corps.[1]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c d e f Luis Sinco, Two lives blurred together by a photo, Los Angeles Times, November 11, 2007.
  2. ^ Heather Murphy (2011-11-06). "The New Classics". Slate. Retrieved 2011-11-07. 
  3. ^ Luis Sinco, Rescue operation aims to save a wounded warrior, Los Angeles Times, November 12, 2007.

External links[edit]