As long as he could remember, he wanted to be a Soldier. He made that dream come true in 1980 when he graduated from the U.S. Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.
Last week, Maj. Gen. Lloyd Miles said goodbye to a military career that spanned 32 years, highlighted by combat leadership at several levels.
Miles, deputy commanding general, I Corps, was honored June 22 on Watkins Field at Joint Base Lewis-McChord during a retirement ceremony punctuated by a gun salute, a pass in review of I Corps Soldiers and an emotional farewell from I Corps Commanding General Lt. Gen. Mike Scaparrotti.
You are the benchmark of what an American officer can and should be, Scaparrotti said. You represent all the greatness in the United States Army and the professionalism we work so hard to instill in each of our Soldiers.
In 1996, Miles was critically injured during a live-fire training exercise while commanding the 1st Battalion, 187th Infantry Regiment in the 101st Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky.
I knew I must have been in bad shape because they were working frantically to stop the bleeding from every part of my body, using their T-shirts, belts and anything they could get their hands on, Miles wrote in a 2002 memoir, Why I Stayed. I was so proud of them; they responded the way they had been trained.
Two years after the accident, Miles led the same Rakkasans on a peace-enforcement mission in Kosovo. He led a brigade to war in 2002, deploying to Iraq in command of 2nd Brigade, 25th Infantry Division from Schofield Barracks, Hawaii.
The thing I am most proud of is having led Soldiers in combat as a brigade commander, Miles said. Probably the biggest honor you can have is to lead young Americans in a difficult environment.
Miles arrived in 2010 at JBLM, where he completed his career serving as the deputy commanding general of I Corps. He also served as the I Corps (Rear) (Provisional) commanding general while the headquarters was deployed to Afghanistan from 2011 until its return last week.
Miles made a point to thank all of those, from general officers to family members, who supported him throughout his career, with special recognition to his wife, Betsy, and 12-year-old son, Nathan.
Only in this great Army can a broken Soldier be given a chance to begin anew, Miles said. I am standing here today because of the love and support I received from so many of you.