Soldier's Story, Part I - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Special Report--

Soldier's Story, Part I

May 3, 2004

Ft. Benning, Ga. -- A year ago, we introduced you to a petite young soldier, Lieutenant Ivy Miller, of the 63rd Engineer Company, who was packing up, headed to Iraq.

What made her stand-out among all the other tough soldiers? She's also a graceful ballerina.

Now she is back from Iraq, and like her fellow soldiers, she has a story to tell.

"I'm 26 and I grew up in Watkinsville, Georgia. I always thought I wanted to go in the military because of the discipline."

"My sister is at Ft. Bragg. She left two weeks after I came back. She just got back last week."

"I left with 36th Engineer Group, we went to Iraq. I changed units while I was over there. Now, I'm with 63rd Engineer Company. I'm accountable for about 25 people. Mostly, my job was supporting the military and the people on the front lines."

"It was hot and dusty, but it was business as usual. Every day, you got into a routine. There were no weekends and no days off, but it wasn't as scary as being here and watching it on TV. On TV they show all the bad things, but you have to remember they are scattered all over Iraq and they just show you all those conglamerated."

"But, when you're over there you don't really, you don't feel like it's knocking at your door, most of the time. Sometimes you here the gunfire and you just have to tell yourself, well, if I'm going to go, I'm going to go. I could step in front of a bus here. [In Georgia.] You just have to live life, just keep going."

"After college I danced semi-professionally. Danced and worked full-time at the same time. Ballet, classical ballet, that's my favorite. It's very similar in the discipline. You have to work hard at both, listen to whoever is in charge and attention to detail is a big thing."

"We knew about an ambush that took place right outside our gate when we first moved into Iraq. We saw the vehicle that had bullet holes all through it and two dead Iraqis in there, but that's as close to it as I really got."

"I feel like I was helping the Army. We did a lot of building, force protection berms, to help protect the Army, our people, who are over there. In the long run it will help them and help keep peace. Hopefully that will come sooner than later."

"It makes me really appreciate what we have here. Just something as simple as going to the store without worrying about putting on your flack vest and making sure you have a weapon. And keeping your eyes open in case somebody is standing there ready to hurt you."

"I feel like I've contributed, and that's a good thing. I'm ready and willing, just tell me when."

First Lt. Ivy Miller is expected to go back to Iraq, either at the end of this year, or the beginning of next year.

  • Soldier's Story, Part I: Ballet to Bullets
  • Soldier's Story, Part II: The Homecoming 
  • Soldier's Story, Part III: Classmate to Comrade
  • Soldier's Story, Part IV: Positives outweigh negatives
  • Soldier's Story, Part V:  Lifesavers
  • posted at 12:10PM by dave.miller@walb.com