MARINE CORPS BASE CAMP LEJEUNE, N.C. -- Marines from 8th Marine Regiment, 2nd Marine Division gathered in front of the regiment’s headquarters as four Bronze Stars were awarded May 19.
Lt. Col. Richard O. Miles Jr., executive officer for Regimental Combat Team 8, 2nd Marine Division, received his award for meritorious achievement in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom from February 2005 to February 2006 in Fallujah, Iraq.
The Bronze Star is given for valor and meritorious service and is the nation’s fourth highest distinction.
“As the executive officer I see and hear almost everything that goes on. I know how hard these Marines work and I know the fact that I’m being recognized is not really about me… it’s about those Marines,” said Miles, a Fort Smith, Arkansas, native, and graduate of Southside High School.
Miles is a graduate of Washington University, St. Louis and received his law degree from the University of Michigan.
Miles planned, coordinated and led the Regimental Headquarters’ advance party into Iraq and exercised oversight of relief-in-place activities with the outgoing regimental combat team.
Throughout the deployment to Iraq, Miles established himself as the source of resident knowledge and experience covering multiple facets of the regiment’s combat operations. He was able to give perspective to younger officers and regimental staff for what it is like for a regiment to operate in a combat zone.
Miles crafted and implemented the regiment’s plans for governance and economics, representing the regimental commander at various forums that brought together local leaders for discussions that advanced the city of Fallujah towards local control.
The regiment had to rebuild the civic infrastructure in the city of Fallujah. At times when the regimental commander was unavailable Miles would stand in his place in meetings with city leaders.
“I knew enough of the local leaders where they were satisfied that they could talk to me if the regimental commander was unavailable. They felt confident that I would get their message back to the commander,” Miles said.
The personal relationships Miles developed with the Fallujah mayor, clerics and the tribal sheikhs proved instrumental in communicating their military perspective and resolving potentially divisive issues.
Miles played a key role in coordinating all electoral commission activities and associated media coverage for both historic events as the regiment’s central point of contact for all external agencies during the Constitutional Referendum and subsequent National Elections
“These Marines did a great job,” said Maj. Gen. Richard A. Huck, the 2nd Marine Division Commanding General, who presented the awards. “I’m proud of each and every one of these them.”
After two years full of hard work with the regiment, Miles is scheduled to continue his pursuit of excellence by becoming the executive officer at Marine Barracks 8th and I in August.