Team Miles. That’s how Sgt. 1st Class Gary Miles refers to his family. That sense of camaraderie and connectedness is essential for his two daughters, Lydia, 10 and Piper, 7.
“The veterans are deserving of kudos and such, but not a small amount of that – even more probably – should be offered to the families that support them,” Miles said.
Miles and his wife, Bree, have moved six times, and they are getting ready for another one. This time to Kansas.
“Moves are traumatic,” he said. “There’s uncertainty that goes with it that the family has to undergo.”
To lessen the impact on the children, the family works hard to focus on the positive aspects of moving to a new place.
“We talk about the road trip that’s going to happen on the way there,” Bree said. “You know, what do you want to see on the way there?”
Some of the attractions the kids are looking forward to seeing on the way to Kansas, the family’s soon-to-be new home, are the Noah’s Ark attraction in Kentucky and the Creation Museum, which isn’t far from the Ark.
A big concern for Lydia is if the new library in Kansas charges late fees. She appreciates that the Redstone MWR Library doesn’t.
The library is special to the Miles family because it has helped them adjust to Redstone after the move through various programs that provided opportunities for Lydia, who is homeschooled, and Bree to meet new people.
Bree’s advice for military families is to “bloom where you’re planted.”
“Take your time,” she said. “Get your feet wet and then just go for it.”
The area has left such an impression on the family that after Miles retires, they would want to settle down in the South, if not right here near Redstone.
“Northern Alabama, it’s pretty good here,” Miles said. “So, there’s a couple of years until (retirement), but retiring is something I’m looking forward to.”
Miles said some of the best advice he got about how to handle new assignments was to “just kind of preach it and teach it that it’s going to be great and stay optimistic.”
Miles said his family has helped ground him throughout his military career and brought a focus to his work and why he does it.
“As up close and personal as the military is, it is even more so as a married person and a parent,” he said.
Miles deployed to Afghanistan in 2015 and 2016.
“Families, to begin with, uphold civilizations,” he said. “I think civilizations, from time eternal, have sprouted from that family unit. Appreciation and recognition should be given, even more so, to a family who is willing to move a lot and find themselves in difficult circumstances and still stand up under it. That’s no small thing.”
Editor’s note: This is the fifth in a series of articles about military families during Military Family Month.