|Press Release/Family Statement
On Thursday, September 14, 2006, the parents of Lance Corporal Ryan Adam Miller received the visit that every family of U.S. servicemen dreads. Three straight-backed, solemn Marine Corps Staff Sergeants brought the news that their son, Ryan, was killed in action near Barwana, Iraq.
The house that they visited was no ordinary home, nor was Ryan an ordinary young man. Ryan may have seemed a regular kid when he played baseball with the Dad’s Club and attended Pearland schools, but he had a special bond with his family and a desire to make a difference in this world. He came by this desire naturally. You see, the parents who answered that door were retired Houston Police officers, who had dedicated their lives and professional careers to defending our city against criminals who threaten our way of life. It is no small wonder that their youngest son, Ryan, would want to make his mark upon the world by placing his life on the line for freedom.
Ryan’s parents taught all of their children the value of God, family, and country – in that order. Ryan’s father, an iconic figure in the Houston Police Department’s Narcotics Division, served our city for over 34 years before retiring. Ryan’s mother, Jeannine Maughmer-Miller, spent the majority of her 25 year career protecting our youngest crime victims as an investigator in the Juvenile Division. She retired, but returned to Juvenile when she learned that the police department needed a few good retired officers – just as her son answered the call for a few good men.
Ryan’s parents supported their son’s decision to serve, celebrating the fact that he followed in his grandfather and father’s history of service in the Marine Corps. As a third-generation Marine, Ryan completed his Boot Camp training at Marine Corps Recruit Depot Parris Island on May 13, 2005, earning the rank of private first-class. He was promoted to Lance Corporal in December 2005 and deployed to Iraq in March 2006. Ryan was due to return to the United States within the next two weeks.
Ryan will return home sometime next week. He will receive a hero’s welcome by family, friends, and a grateful nation. He may never join the ranks of the Houston Police Department as he planned, but he is a member of our family in blue. His sacrifice will not be forgotten, nor given in vain. For he who lays down his life for another will be embraced in heaven and live in our hearts forever.
In the spirit of giving, that Ryan, his parents, his sister Meaghan, and brother, Brandon embody, the family asks that all expressions of condolence made in Ryan’s honor to help brother Marines injured in the line of duty.
All donations should be made to the Semper Fi fund at semperfifund.org.
Fallen Marine 'would have made a fine police officer'
Pearland teen wanted to follow in parents' path as an HPD officer
By JENNIFER LEAHY
Copyright 2006 Houston Chronicle
A third generation Marine, Ryan Adam Miller planned to join the Houston Police Department after serving his country and follow in the footsteps of his parents.
But just a few weeks shy of the completion of his tour in Iraq, the 19-year-old from Pearland was killed in action near Bawana, Iraq.
"He followed his dad into the Marines, and planned to wear his mother's badge when he joined the police department," said a longtime friend and neighbor, Katie King.
Miller's parents, Jeannine Maughmer-Miller and Frank Miller, who are retired from the department, learned Thursday of his death, the news delivered by three Marines.
The Millers could not be reached for comment. Assistant Police Chief Vicki King, acting as a spokesman for the family, said, "Ryan would have made a fine police officer."
"Ryan may have seemed to be a regular kid when he played baseball and attended school in Pearland. But he was no ordinary kid and this is no ordinary family," said Vicki King, Katie's mother. "These two dedicated parents pledged their lives to fight the crime that threatens our city. Their son pledged his life to our country."
Miller attended Pearland High School, but finished secondary school as a homeschooler so that he could enlist shortly after his 18th birthday.
King has known Miller since he was a child. The two families often vacationed together and shared many close moments.
"One thing I will never forget about Ryan is that he is the only person I know who would go to a Mexican restaurant and order a hamburger — plain with only ketchup," King said.
Her daughter will miss him at her November wedding.
"He was like a little brother to me," said Katie King, 22, who is an only child. "When we were about 10, he kicked me in the face when he was wearing cleats. I never let him live that down."
Ryan Miller was the youngest of his siblings, survived by an older brother, Brandon, 31, and a sister, Meghan, 22.
Meghan will serve as a bridesmaid at the wedding. Both families were hoping the Marine would be able to attend the ceremony.
"He was supposed to be home in a few weeks," said Katie King, adding that Ryan, who was deployed to Iraq in March, had not yet decided whether he would re-enlist. Being considered for police work was still a few years away.
Maughmer-Miller was a juvenile investigator for 25 years, and her husband worked in narcotics for more than 34 years. Vicki King said both had considered returning, he as an instructor and she as a returning retired officer.
When Maughmer-Miller was diagnosed with breast cancer years ago, Vicki King said, the two youngest Miller children stayed with her family.
"I have a little girl, so little boys were kind of a mystery. After a few days I noticed that Ryan was starting to smell. When I asked him when the last time he had showered he just shrugged," said King, who attended Miller's Marine Corps graduation in May 2005. "He grew up into such an outstanding person."
Miller, who was known for his love of junk food — especially Skittles — was a member of Fellowship Bible Church in Pearland and an avid Astros fan.
"He really was a great guy," said Katie King. "He really would do anything to help someone."
The details of his death are unclear. Funeral arrangements are pending.
King has begun making her plans for the final salute to the young Marine.
"I am going to Sam's to buy a 3-pound bag of Skittles to bury with him," she said.
The family asks that remembrances be given to the Semper Fi Fund, which provides financial assistance to wounded Marines and their families.
"That's what Ryan would want," Vicki King said, "to keep helping others."