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Central Ohio Remembers Marine Killed In Iraq Combat

Central Ohio this week will again remember a Marine who gave his life in Iraq. Lance Corporal Ryan Miller,21, of Gahanna was killed while conducting combat operations in Anbar Province, near Baghdad, on September 3rd. A mass and burial is scheduled Thursday.

Lance Corporal Miller was rifleman assigned to the Second Marine expeditionary Force at Camp LeJeune, North Carolina. His father, Ed Miller, was quick to remember Ryan. "smart, laid-back, unlike myself and thought of things through before he did them, even at a young age." Says Ed Miller.

In the fall of 2003, seven months after the start of the War in Iraq, and four months after his graduation from Saint Francis DeSales High School, Ryan Miller told his parents of his future plans. He wanted to join the marines with two of his high school buddies. "We said: Ryan, why do you want to join the Marine Corps. He said: Dad, there's no negatives here. He said: Its going to make me a better person give me more self-confidence, better self esteem. I'm going to come back a better person. "

In fact, Ryan Miller went to Iraq and returned. He was deployed near the Syrian-Iraqi border for seven months and then returned to Camp LeJeune. When he called his Gahanna home to tell of his second deployment, Ed Miller says Ryan informed him he would be closer to Baghdad. "He clearly told Mary and I and our daughter, Tara, that he was going to a very volatile area this route, this time, that basically it was an area untouched. Obviously, we were very concerned but he always said: Dad, I'll be O-K. Don't worry about me, I'll be O-K." Miller adds that his son would never say a bad word about anybody, that's just the way he was.

At Saint Francis Desales High school on Karl Road, Principal Dan Garrick remembers Ryan as not one to quickly take a bow. Garrick says news of Ryan Miller's death in Iraq has prompted discussion and community reflection. "Its kind of ironic that in an educational institution you talk about the elders of the building, the teachers if you will, being the one's that instill the lessons into our young people. The reality is there are oftentimes just as many lessons we learn from our young people." Says Garrick Garrick says one of the lessons taught is current events are also personal."It brings that into a perspective that we perhaps up to this point have maybe taken a bit for granted, that the war is very real. It has gone from the Middle East to our backyard and from that standpoint there can be no more powerful statement for our young people that war is in fact brutal, and that it is unforgiving and it does cost life." Says Garrick.

Ryan MIller's father, Ed, says of his son. "He had everything all planned. I mean, that was one of the last things that he said when I talked to him when he called from Iraq was he said: Dad, here's my plan, talking about his financial situation when he got out and everything. He was so organized, even being over there in combat he was still telling everything he was going to be doing when he got out and how he was going to handle it and everything. We're just so proud of him." Says Ed Miller

Lance Corporal Ryan Miller will be buried in Resurrection Cenetary in north Columbus with military honors.

Tom Borgerding WOSU News.