AC prepares to hand over responsibility
May 1, 2009
- Though his nearly 30-year career has taken him from Fort Carson, Colo., to Germany and Egypt, Miles said Fort Benning is one of the best ins
- During a training exercise in 1996 a grenade explosion landed Miles in Walter Reed Army Medical Center for a year.
- Miles, the fifth of eight children whose father was an Army sergeant major who served 32 years on active duty
When asked who has inspired him during the nearly two years he has served as Fort Benning's assistant commandant, BG Lloyd "Milo" Miles doesn't point to examples of history book legends or decorated generals - he finds inspiration within the barracks of Sand Hill.
"The quality of the young leaders and the commitment of the young Soldiers we have coming into the military today is inspiring," he said. "Their commitment and focus is probably greater than we've ever seen at Fort Benning, so it's very humbling when you meet them."
Miles, the fifth of eight children whose father was an Army sergeant major who served 32 years on active duty, said 'stay humble' is the advice he gives to young officers.
"When you come from a group that large, you have a tendency to be humble," he said. "I think it's extremely important because there's no school system anywhere that's going to prepare them fully for the responsibilities of the job they're about to do. They have to have humility in order to be able to turn to someone and say, 'I'm not sure about this, can you explain this to me''"
During a training exercise in 1996, weeks after assuming command of 1st Battalion (Airborne), 187th Infantry Regiment, at Fort Campbell, Ky., a grenade explosion landed Miles in Walter Reed Army Medical Center for a year. He had to give up command and the injury led to the amputation of his left leg below the knee.
Today he wears a prosthetic leg and can walk, run and perform his duties. But he keeps a reminder of his yearlong recovery - a strip of cloth taped to the inside of his prosthetic with the inscription "Just one more step for me, Colonel." It's a reminder of the veterans in the amputee ward who cheered for Miles as he practiced laps on his new prosthetic leg.
"Every time I would come by, they would shout out encouragement - 'Do one more lap, Colonel!'" he said. "It's a reminder not only of my desire to keep going, but of the great support I got from those veterans."
Miles took command of 1st Battalion (Airborne) for a second time after his recovery.
"I was very fortunate there was a lot of great support from family and friends and also from the military, going all the way up to the chief of staff of the Army," he said. "That's really what helped me - my great circle of friends and family - not anything I did on my own."
Other assignments include deploying to Kosovo for the peacekeeping mission and in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. Before coming to Fort Benning in September 2007, he served as executive officer to the chief of staff of the Army.
Though his nearly 30-year career has taken him from Fort Carson, Colo., to Germany and Egypt, Miles said Fort Benning is one of the best installations he has lived on.
"The quality of life here is probably the best I've seen in the military," he said. "My family and I have been able to do things here that we haven't been able to do in other places, like extreme dirt biking, fishing and camping at Kings Pond and Uchee Creek.
"If you're bored at Fort Benning, you're just not trying."
Miles said his time at Fort Benning has prepared him to lead the Joint Headquarters Army Advisory Training Team in Iraq, where he will be responsible for training Iraqi soldiers.
"Since we have a large training facility at Fort Benning, what we do here is directly transferable to what we're trying to develop in the Iraqi military as well," he said. "The way I look at it, it's not training Iraqi soldiers or American Soldiers; it's training soldiers."
And training Soldiers is what Miles said is his greatest accomplishment at Fort Benning.
"For our Soldiers to be able to better train, that's really what it's all about," he said.
"Being able to move that ball down the field a little bit at a time has been the thing I'm most proud of."
Miles has worked to improve quality of life on Fort Benning by supporting programs such as the Soldier and Family Assistance Center. He was the guest speaker at the center's grand opening in January 2008.
"I knew firsthand how frustrating it was for these Soldiers and family members to have to travel all over an installation to find answers," he said.
Miles hands over responsibility to COL Bryan R. Owens May 11.