Va. Marine Dies 3 Weeks Before Iraq Tour Was to End

By Allan Lengel
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, January 26, 2006

Sgt. Sean Miles was a tough Marine with a soft heart.

Last summer, just before shoving off for Iraq, Miles phoned his older brother back home in Virginia and asked him to "keep an eye" on his 2 1/2 -year old son, Tyler, in case the unthinkable happened.

"I didn't want to talk about it," said Christopher Miles of Midlothian, where the family had moved in 1990 from New York. "I felt talking about it would jinx it, but it was something he wanted to talk about."

On Tuesday, the unthinkable happened.

Sean Miles, 28, was killed by small-arms fire while conducting combat operations in Karmah, Iraq, just three weeks before he was scheduled to complete his seven-month tour.

He was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 2nd Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division, 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force, based at Camp Lejeune, N.C. Among his decorations were the Navy and Marine Corps Achievement Medal and the Combat Action Ribbon.

Yesterday, family and friends gathered at his home in North Carolina, where his wife, Genevieve, and son had been anxiously awaiting his return. The family chose brother Christopher, 30, the oldest of three siblings, to speak about Sean.

"He was one of those people everyone seemed to know," Miles said. "We keep having people come up to us and say they knew him or say they went to school with him. I can't imagine the number of friends he had. I'm the introvert of the two of us. I'm envious of the lives he touched."

Miles said his brother loved sports and excelled in varsity football at Clover Hill High School in Midlothian, west of Richmond.

"He was the jock of the family," Miles said. "He loved to live and relive those glory days."

After a game, if he had made any outstanding plays, he liked to watch the video. Sometimes, he watched the videos "years after the fact," Miles said.

In 1996, as graduation approached, his brother was set on joining the Marines.

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