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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Sunday, September 17, 2006

Marine was set to come home

By Will Hoover
Advertiser Staff Writer

A Kane'ohe Marine was killed Thursday in Iraq, the day before his unit began returning home, military officials said yesterday.

Lance Cpl. Ryan A. Miller, 19, of Pearland, Texas, was killed Thursday while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province, Iraq, the Department of Defense said yesterday. Miller, a rifleman assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 3rd Marine Regiment, at Marine Corps Base Hawai'i, was on foot patrol when he was struck by an improvised explosive device near Bawana.

An advance group of about 100 Marines and sailors from Miller's unit and Marine Heavy Helicopter Squadron 463 arrived at the Marine base Friday, following a six-month deployment in Iraq, said 1st Lt. Binford Strickland in Kane'ohe.

"He would have been coming home in the next couple of weeks," said Strickland. "It is sad. And our hearts and prayers are with the family. I mean, it's just a very unfortunate event."

Miller joined the Marine Corps in February of 2005 and reported to Hawai'i in August of that year. He deployed to Iraq in March.

According to a story in the Houston Chronicle, Miller, a third-generation Marine, was planning to follow his parents, Jeannine Maughmer-Miller and Frank Miller, into law enforcement. Both parents retired from the Houston Police Department. His mother was a juvenile investigator for 25 years; his father was in narcotics for 34 years.

Houston Assistant Police Chief Vicki King, who spoke for the family, said Ryan played baseball and attended school in Pearland. "But he was no ordinary kid and this is no ordinary family," she said. "These two dedicated parents pledged their lives to fight the crime that threatens our city. Their son pledged his life to our country. Ryan would have made a fine police officer."

The Miller and King families have known each other for years. Ryan Miller and King's daughter, Katie King, 22, had been friends since they were children, the Chronicle said. Katie King remembered her friend as someone who was a fan of junk food and the Houston Astros. He was also a member of the Fellowship Bible Church in Pearland, and the kind of person who would do anything to help someone, she said.

Miller went to high school in Pearland, a town of around 50,000 people in the Houston-Baytown metro area. He completed secondary schooling as a homeschooler and enlisted after he turned 18.

Miller is survived by his parents; brother, Brandon, 31; and sister, Meghan 22. Funeral services are pending.

Reach Will Hoover at whoover@honoluluadvertiser.com.