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Deputy pins on second star

Published: 01:50PM February 24th, 2011

Ingrid Barrentine

Lt. Gen. Mike Scaparrotti, right, removes the one-star tab from the jacket of Maj. Gen. Lloyd Miles, I Corps DCG, as he prepares to replace it with a two star one during a promotion ceremony Feb. 17 at the American Lake Community Club on JBLM.

He is the second highest ranking official on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, and after being promoted last week, he is part of an even more elite group of general officers.

Deputy Commanding General Maj. Gen. Lloyd Miles was promoted Feb. 17, during a ceremony at American Lake Community Club on JBLM Lewis North. Miles is one of fewer than 100 major generals on active duty in the U.S. Army. Fewer than one-half of 1 percent of commissioned U.S. officers make it into the top echelon, the highest three ranks.

His role and responsiblities in I Corps will remain unchanged, despite his promotion. As deputy, Miles focuses on unit operations and the services provided Soldiers and their families.

The deputy CG will fulfill a critical role when the corps deploys this summer, to take command in the absence of Lt. Gen. Mike Scaparrotti, the I Corps commanding general.

“The last time the Corps deployed, approximately 18,000 of our Soldiers were also deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan,” Miles said. “This time, the I Corps headquarters is deploying, but all of our major units, approximately 35,000 Soldiers, will remain on the installation.”

Miles will continue to guide the training and readiness of I Corps units to prepare for worldwide deployment.

The ceremony was momentous not only for Miles and his family, but because the JBLM community shared in the honor.

“It’s a big day for Soldiers on Joint Base Lewis-McChord, because we know the kind of leader that (Miles) is, and it’s good news for them,” Scaparrotti said.

Miles reported to JBLM last summer, when he assumed duties as deputy commanding general of I Corps and JBLM. He has more than three decades of military experience, after spending his childhood in a military family.

During the promotion ceremony, Miles said his father, a retired command sergeant major, was instrumental in his decision to join the Army. He often listened to his father tell his seven siblings and him stories about the Army, one of which involved the things his dad disliked about the military.

“Cold coffee, wet toilet paper and second lieutenants,” Miles said.

His father used to tell family and friends he needed to leave the Army before Miles graduated from West Point to avoid having to salute him.

“The reality is on that day that I graduated, he was standing there in his uniform, and he was the first noncommissioned officer I saluted,” Miles said. He credited his father for the upbringing that resulted in his becoming a Soldier.

Miles was entrusted with important jobs throughout his military career, most in operations. Those responsibilities provide evidence of Miles’ leadership qualities, Scaparrotti said.

The CG said he routinely looks to Miles for advice on personal and professional matters, who could not be more deserving of his promotion. Of the traits that make him an outstanding officer, Scaparrotti listed his character, intellect, energy and human touch are among the most important.

“In everything he does, he inspires people to get the job done to the highest standards, and I admire that about him,” Scaparrotti said. “This is a calm, expert, professional that just gives you that sense that it’s going to be good, and we’re going to get it right when you’re in a tough (situation).”

Miles has been through tough situations. He spoke at length about Spc. Joseph Herndon, a Soldier Miles admired during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Herndon survived being hit with a rocket propelled grenade that failed to detonate), and narrowly escaped a blast from an IED that killed two and seriously injured the young Soldier. Two Purple Hearts and a couple of months later, Herndon was killed instantly when an insurgent shot him in the head.

“That event has affected me to this day,” Miles said, as he paused to gather himself. “Here it is, the RPG-surviving, IED-surviving Soldier, three Purple Hearts, one tour — and it just tells you the incredible amount of sacrifice that has been going on for long years in this particular war.”

At a time when Miles could easily retire, he vowed that as long as servicemembers continue to “step up to the plate” and serve, he will continue to give his best.

“It is really quite an honor to be standing here today to be recognized for this honor, when really it’s ... Soldiers like Herndon and many of you sitting here that I owe.”

Miles said he had not initially planned to make the Army a career, but after his exposure to good leadership, mentorship and training, he realized his calling.

“For me, a career in the military is not about achieving rank,” Miles said. “It is about heart and honor, and serving the Soldiers that we lead. I feel blessed to be given the opportunity to continue leading young men and women in uniform. It would not have been possible without the support of my family, great military leaders, patient noncommissioned officers and motivated Soldiers.”