Saturday, March 29, 2008

Army Pfc. Patrick J. Miller

Remember Our Heroes

Army Pfc. Patrick J. Miller, 23, of New Port Richey, Fla.

Pfc. Miller was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 16th Infantry Regiment, 4th Brigade Combat Team, 1st Infantry Division, Fort Riley, Kan.; died March 29, 2008 in Baghdad from wounds sustained when he encountered an improvised explosive device and small arms fire. Also killed was Cpl. Durrell L. Bennett.

Tampa Tribune -- NEW PORT RICHEY - Pfc. P.J. Miller shipped his personal belongings from Iraq to New Port Richey because he was expecting to come home in a few weeks.

The 23-year-old was one of two U.S. Army soldiers killed in Baghdad over the weekend, the Department of Defense announced today.

"He thought we needed to be there," his mother, Kim Miller said. "He thought what we was doing was right and he wanted to defend our country."

It is unclear if P.J. Miller died from a roadside bomb or small-arms fire, the Department of Defense said. He was assigned to the 1st Infantry Division from Fort Riley, Kan.

His father, Patrick Miller, said he has been estranged from his son for six years. His divorce stirred bitterness in the family. On Tuesday, Patrick Miller said he regrets not spending enough time with his son.

"Unfortunately, I didn't get to know him better," Patrick Miller said. "It's a big loss that I have to carry with me."

P.J. Miller was a graduate of Mitchell High School in New Port Richey and earned a degree in biology from the University of South Florida. He aspired to attend graduate school to study genetics.

His parents are making funeral arrangements and said they would not be surprised if hundreds attended the service.

"He was a fantastic human being," Patrick Miller said.

He urged parents to be involved with their children even if problems threaten to keep them apart.

"No matter how difficult scenarios might be, always try in the most positive and productive ways to remain a part of your children's lives," he said.

Army Pfc. Patrick J. Miller was killed in action on 3/29/08.

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