Parents' Plea For Their Soldier - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

05/23/07 - Nacogdoches

Parents' Plea For Their Soldier

by Donna McCollum

Twenty three year old Sgt Paul Miles joined the National Guard in 2001, right before 9-11.    "He was just kind of a patriotic guy his whole life," said his dad, Curtis Miles. And the kind of guy who would go to Iraq sooner than called. The mother, Shari Miles said,    " Paul's unit wasn't called up. And he said, 'Mom , I volunteered because I don't want some guy who has a wife and kids to have to go, when I'm over here going to college, going to frat parties."

Miles spent 11 months in Iraq. When he returned, he went straight back to Stephen F Austin State University. His mom noticed a change in her son's behavior.  " I saw several different things and I would say something to him about it. 'You know, you can call this 800 number and you can get help through the military', and he didn't want to do that because it would go on his record."

Instead something more serious is on Sgt Miles' record. Last November, Miles was arrested when bomb making materials were found in his apartment. A search revealed an improvised explosive device in the closet of Miles' bedroom. The father's description is much milder.    " They found firecrackers in his apartment. You can hold them in your hand. He would go out in woods to fire them. They want to throw him in prison for ten years and that's wrong."  

But it was enough explosive for federal investigators to determine that miles and his roommate had attached a homemade explosive device to a staute of the Virgin Mary.   A couple of months later, Miles was turned in by his roommate, Carl Timmons after the two had an aggressive argument.

More information was learned. Federal authorities allege Miles threatened to bomb a school. And authorities found drugs in his apartment.    Then there's the cat episode. SFA police suspect miles hung a dead cat from a military science flag pole. His parents say if that is true, the behavior is due to his mental problems, brought on by his service in Iraq."

Curtis Miles said,  " He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder and PTSD" Post Traumatic Syndrome Disorder, a mental disorder seen during war time. Curtis claimed, " Everybody that the government interviewed said Iraq changed him." 

The family says up to these charges, Miles led a picture perfect life. Shari asked, " Would this have happened had he stayed state side and not gone to war?  I really don't think so, he hadn't acted like this before." Curtis described it like this. " We've got a wounded warrior and the fact it's mental wounds, instead of physical ones shouldn't affect the way we treat him."

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