Inter-Lakes students hear from local soldier in Afghanistan during Vet Day program

MEREDITH — Students and guests at the Inter-Lakes Elementary School Veteran's Day program got to hear first hand Friday morning from a soldier from their community who is currently serving in Afghanistan.
Second Lt. Erik Miller, the son of I-LES 4th grade teacher Wanda Miller, took part in a video teleconference in which he answered questions from students about his daily routine in Afghanistan and what the weather is like in that remote, mountainous country.
A 2008 graduate of Inter-Lakes High School, Miller graduated from Texas A&M University in 2012 and told the students he is an intelligence officer and leads a platoon of 21 soldiers who gather information about enemy activities in order to predict where they will attack next.
He said that some of the information which is gathered helps Allied forces know when and where roadside bombs will be placed.
Miller, whose father Robert is a Vietnam veteran, says that he usually works 15 hours a day and is up at 5 a.m. to start his day with an hour-long workout.
''It's really, really hot here or blistering cold and very dry. It's a harsh environment. But the standard of living in the area controlled by American forces has grown a lot in recent years,'' says Miller.
He told the students that he decided to join the Army after an 9th grade Spanish class and that he is happy that he chose the Army because it provided him with leadership opportunities that were not available in other branches of the service.
Also speaking at the program, which featured patriotic songs performed by the elementary school band and chorus, were Griggs-Wyatt Post American Legion Commander Robert Kennelly and Master Sgt. Elliott Finn, both of whom served in the Korean War.
Kennelly talked about World War II and described how the war began for America with the attack on Pearl Harbor and saw Japanese forces in the Pacific rapidly capture American and British bases in the Philippines and Malaya.
Kennelly recounted how President Franklin Roosevelt ordered the famed Doolittle raid on Tokyo in 1942 using B-24 bombers launched from an American aircraft carrier, which led to a decision by the Japanese to try and take Midway Island and push the American fleet even further away from Japan and the islands it was capturing,
He said that the American aircraft carriers were able to launch a strike in early June of 1942 which destroyed three of the four Japanese aircraft carriers in a five minute attack (a fourth was sunk the next day), ending the Japanese attack and forcing their invasion fleet to retreat.
''It took three more years to end the war, but after that battle the Japanese never again were able to take the offensive,'' said Kennelly.