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My nephew James is loved and missed so much ♥ he was the sweetest young man♥
Spc. James Lee Miller, a 21-year-old soldier from Yakima, who died in Afghanistan, was remembered at a Wednesday memorial service as a "quiet professional" who was a skilled driver of the eight-wheeled Stryker combat vehicles.
JOINT BASE LEWIS-MCCHORD — Spc. James Lee Miller, a 21-year-old soldier from Yakima, who died in Afghanistan, was remembered at a Wednesday memorial service as a “quiet professional” who was a skilled driver of the eight-wheeled Stryker combat vehicles.
“He took pride in having a vehicle clean and ready to go,” said Sgt. 1st Class Michael Spalding, a fellow soldier in Afghanistan whose written tribute was read at the service.
Spc. Miller died March 29 after an improvised explosive device struck his Stryker vehicle. He was the 35th soldier from the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division to die while serving in Afghanistan. Spc. Miller served in the brigade’s 4th Battalion, 23rd Infantry Regiment.
Spc. Miller grew up in Alaska but moved to Yakima in 2008 and hoped to return to Alaska eventually. He is survived by his wife, Katie; daughter, Peyton; parents Nicholas and Kimberly Miller; and sister, Mandi Hannel. His military honors included the Bronze Star Medal and Purple Heart.
Spc. Miller’s death occurred roughly nine months into a 12-month deployment for the 5th Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division in southern Afghanistan, where NATO forces have been fighting entrenched Taliban forces.
Another major campaign is expected to unfold in the next few months in Kandahar Province where most of the brigade is based.
Capt. Ronaldo Silva, a brigade chaplain based at Lewis-McChord, said that excitement among the soldiers is building about a summer homecoming. He said that a key message for the final three months of deployment is to stay focused and to avoid becoming complacent.