CAMP LEATHERNECK, Afghanistan --
Typical mornings for officers and senior enlisted staff members with 1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward) headquarters begin with an operations and intelligence briefing given to the commanding general and his staff. The service members gather to brief the commanding general about daily activities and ongoing operations throughout Helmand Province, Afghanistan.
On the morning of June 2, Brig. Gen. John J. Broadmeadow, Commanding General,1st Marine Logistics Group (Forward), scanned the room and asked why the intelligence portion of the brief was always led by a young lance corporal.
“He said, ‘Something needs to change about this,’ and right there on the spot he called ‘attention to orders,’ and I was meritoriously promoted to corporal,” said Cpl. John Miller, intelligence analyst with G-2, Headquarters and Services Company, 1st MLG (Fwd).
Miller, a 19-year-old Cottage Grove, Minn. native, spends every morning providing Brig. Gen. Broadmeadow with significant activity updates and other intelligence information that affects the group. His hard work as an intelligence analyst helped him to become meritoriously promoted.
While typically promotions are held in prearranged formations, the command decided to surprise Miller when he received the meritorious promotion.
“It felt really good to know that my hard work was recognized by the general, but it also made me feel good to know that something I did must have helped him to think I should be promoted,” said Miller. “It was a shock, and I felt really honored. I have been working incredibly hard out here.”
Just two years ago, Miller enlisted in the Marine Corps’ delayed entry program. Although he originally wanted to join the infantry field, his parents, who both served in the military, talked him into signing up in the intelligence field.
“I was only 17, so my parents had to sign for me to join,” said Miller. “Even if [intelligence] turned out to be something I didn’t want to do, it would set me up for a career in the future.”
While his parents were in the Navy, Miller had his own reasons for joining the Marine Corps.
“I wanted to serve my country,” said Miller. “I wanted to be the best, and I didn’t want to settle for less.”
Miller is approaching halfway mark of his current yearlong deployment in Afghanistan. He said he is looking forward to his leave time when he can go home to visit friends and family for two weeks.
“I can’t wait to see my girlfriend,” said Miller. “I think it’s been a lot harder on her than it has on me. Our families back home worry about us, but sometimes we’re so mission-focused out here it’s easy to lose track of time.”
Miller said he helps to pass the time going to the gym when not at work processing intelligence to pass to the commanding general.
“It has a lot of ups and downs,” said Miller. “Deployment is stressful, but it’s something that I love to do. It’s not fun missing home, but I’m helping the greater cause and doing what is necessary.”