David Taylor Miller
Private First Class, United States Army
Department of Defense
Office of the Assistant Secretary of Defense (Public Affairs)
IMMEDIATE RELEASE No. 529-10
DOD Identifies Army Casualties
The Department of Defense announced today the death of two soldiers who were supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.
They died June 21, 2010, at Lar Sholtan Village, Afghanistan, from wounds suffered when a suicide bomber attacked their unit. They were assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 327th Infantry Regiment, 1st Brigade Combat Team, 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault), Fort Campbell, Kentucky.
Private First Class David T. Miller, 19, of Wilton, New York
Specialist Andrew R. Looney, 22, of Owasso, Oklahoma
For more information, the media may contact the Fort Campbell public affairs office at 270-798-3025.
23 June 2010:
A Saratoga County mother is remembering her son, killed in action in Afghanistan earlier this week.David Taylor Miller, 19, a 2009 Saratoga Springs High School graduate known to friends and family as Taylor, died in a suicide bombing in Kunar Province on Monday.
His mother says her son's short life was a life well spent.
Leslie Miller was proud of her son Taylor on the June day in 2009 when he graduated from Saratoga Springs High School, and she's just as proud on a June day in 2010 two days after she learned her son lost his life in Afghanistan.
“He was the son and the child that every parent would hope they had,” says Leslie Forbert Miller. “He was the friend that everyone would want to have. He put everybody else first.”
Leslie Miller's life changed Tuesday morning when two soldiers from Fort Drum rang her doorbell to deliver the awful news.
She says Taylor had only been in Afghanistan for six weeks.
Leslie said, “Northern province was supposed to be a quieter place. Things were happening further south, and we were excited about that, and he was the designated marksman which also we thought meant that he'd be back more guarding what other people were doing.”
Preparing to head to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware to recover her son's body, wearing a necklace and earrings he sent her from Afghanistan for mother's day, Leslie says Taylor - born on Veteran's Day 1990 - always put everyone else first, but was inspired by the army to make his own life better.
He told her in their last conversation on Sunday that he was thinking about getting a psychology degree when he left the Army.
“Taylor was, he was a student of people and he was a student of history and just understanding, and like I say, if the world could find a way to be more like that, and share that information, I think it would be a huge legacy for Taylor to leave,” says Leslie.
Within the next week, Taylor will be buried
at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia, closer to where he grew up
in Amherst, Virginia, and coincidentally on the former estate of Confederate
General Robert E. Lee, who Leslie says Taylor was related to.
SARATOGA SPRINGS, New York — Funeral services for 19-year-old Private First Class David Taylor Miller will be held at Arlington National Cemetery later this week, according to his mother, Leslie Forbert Miller.
Private Miller, who went by his middle name, “Taylor,” was a 2009 graduate of Saratoga Springs High School. He was killed in a suicide bomb blast in Afghanistan Monday while serving with the 101st Airborne Division of the U.S. Army.
As a sophomore in high school, he moved to the city from Amherst, Virginia, and played varsity football for two years before joining the Army after graduation last summer, family members said.
Leslie Miller remembered her son Wednesday while en route to Dover, Delaware, to meet his body as it arrived on U.S. soil.
“He was just the most fabulous person anyone would want as a son or a child or a husband. Anything you could want in a person,” she said.
In addition to a military service in Arlington, a memorial service for family and friends will be held in Saratoga later this summer. More specific information will be available at a later date, Leslie Miller added.
“Like I’ve been telling everyone, if you want to remember Taylor, if you want to honor Taylor, go out and do good things and honor your fellow man,” she said.
Leslie Miller added that she hopes to prepare a student scholarship in his name.
“Something good has to come of something bad,” she said.
She also expressed her thanks to the community for the outpouring of support in the form of phone calls, e-mails, Facebook messages and text messages since Tuesday.
“I’ve been in Saratoga five years, and this is just the best community,” she said. “People are so quick to offer help and there are so many resources in the town. I can only say that Saratoga is what Taylor was — so caring and so kind.”
Saratoga Springs City School District Superintendent Dr. Janice White said a moment of silence will be held at today’s 9 a.m. graduation ceremony and at the 7:30 p.m. Board of Education meeting.
Counselors were at the high school Wednesday and will be available for the next few days if students or families need help, she said.
Private Miller will be laid to rest in Arlington
National Cemetery with full military honors at 1 PM on Wednesday, 28 July
29 July 2010:
Private First Class David Taylor Miller, who was killed in a suicide bomb attack while serving with the U.S. Army in northern Afghanistan in June, was buried Wednesday at Arlington National Cemetery.
Known as "Taylor" to friends and family, the 19-year-old joined the Army after graduating from Saratoga Springs High School in 2009. He had been in Afghanistan for about two months when the fatal blast occurred, killing Miller and another soldier in the 101st Airborne Division, Specialist Andrew R. Looney, 22, of Owasso, Oklahome.
Miller had moved from Amherst, Virginia, to Wilton with his mother, Leslie Forbert Miller, in 2007. At Saratoga, he played varsity football and excelled in his studies.
His father, Jesse Miller, estimated that more than 200 people attended the service in 90-degree heat Wednesday afternoon to pay their respects. Congressman Scott Murphy and Defense Secretary Robert Gates were among the guests, as well as two soldiers who were injured in the same bomb blast that killed Miller.
Also attending were an elementary school teacher and a Boy Scout leader who knew Miller as a boy in Amherst.
Friends and relatives from Saratoga Springs traveled by car, train and plane to Arlington, according to Leslie Forbert Miller.
"It was a really nice mix of people," she said. "It was a beautiful service and Taylor would approve."
Jesse Miller drove from his home in the Madison Heights suburb of Lynchburg, Virginia, about four hours away.
"It was quite a crowd," he said. "It was humbling because we had people from Saratoga, people from Amherst and from all over Virginia."
Accompanied by soldiers from the Old Guard, Miller’s casket was carried to the burial site in a horse-drawn caisson while family members walked behind it. The graveside service with full military honors was conducted by the Rev. William C. Crites, minister at the Church of the Epiphany in Amherst, Virginia, where Miller attended in his youth. Then, Miller was laid to rest near veterans who served in World War II and the Iraq, Afghanistan and Korean wars.
Earlier this month, memorial services were held at the Church of the Epiphany and at the Presbyterian New England Congregational UCC Church in Saratoga Springs.
Miller, who earned the Purple Heart and Bronze Star medals, among others, was honored by the Military Order of the Purple Heart last Friday, when his father joined other veterans at a weekly "Support Our Troops" rally at Monument Terrace in Lynchburg, Virginia.
Jesse Miller said his own military history had a significant influence on his son’s decision to join the Army — he served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1964 to 1968, but never saw combat. Instead, he was stationed in Washington, D.C., and played in the military band, often at the funerals of comrades in Arlington National Cemetery.
"I never dreamed that I would be attending one of these things as a participant," he said following the service Wednesday.
He recalled his son as a youngster who marched around the house in his dad’s old Marine uniform and boots.
But like any parent, he was worried when his son announced he was joining the Army.
"I don’t think any parent says, ‘Sure, go ahead,’ because you know what the outcome could be, which is what happened to Taylor," Jesse Miller said. "But he did very well in the Army. He was a good soldier. He gave his life for our beloved country and that’s the highest thing there is."
MILLER, DAVID TAYLOR
Posted: 26 June 2010 Updated: 29 July 2010 Updated: 7 August 2010 Updated: 14 October 2010
Photos By Eileen Horan, October 2010
Photos By Eileen Horan, July 2010