Remember that iconic Marine from the time of the Battle for Fallujah? The picture of him smoking a cigarette during a moment of relative calm made the front pages of many newspapers (including the one on the cover of the New York Post to the left) and gave him instant fame as the new “Malboro Man”.
Well it seems that since he’s returned to the United States after his tour of duty he’s had a little trouble adjusting to life outside a war zone. In fact, he’s been honorably discharged for suffering from PTSD, or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Editor & Publisher (hat tip to Raw Story) has the details:
NEW YORK So whatever happened to Lance Cpl. Blake Miller — the U.S. Marine pictured as a kind of war-weary “Marlboro Man” in one of the most widely published iconic images of the Iraq war?
The 2004 photograph by Luis Sinco of the Los Angeles Times showing Miller, face dirty under a helmet, a cigarette dangling from his lips, went around the world and back again, hitting front pages everywhere. Now Miller, of Jonancy, Ky., is a civilian “and is having trouble adjusting to civilian life,” CBS News reports.
Back home, he got married in June, but on duty during the Hurricane Katrina relief effort, Miller suffered from symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and was granted an honorable discharge from the Marines in November.
Miller told CBS this morning, “For the most part, I mean, it was a big adjustment [when I got home] just trying to get in that mindset of being able to just roam, run around without fear of being shot at or where to look for danger. … It’s unexplainable. I mean, just to go from that mindset to being able to walk around freely and just enjoy it.”
He goes on to describe an incident during his duty on the USS Iwo Jima during the Katrina relief effort of reacting to a sailor mimicking the sound of a rocket propelled grenade this way:
“For anybody to duplicate that sound,” Miller said, “they’ve had to hear it. Without even knowing what I’d done until after it was over, I snatched him up, I slammed him against the bulkhead, the wall, and took him to the floor, and I was on top of him.”
Miller told CBS that he’s gone into therapy (good for him!) and that he knows there are many more soldiers who are suffering from PTSD as a result of their Iraq service. He’s to be commended for going public and making a point about his therapy, which is just as heroic a deed as any he did in Iraq. Hopefully the publicity generated by his story, and his interview with CBS, will encourage other service members to seek help for their own afflictions.