Marine Lance Cpl. James Blake Miller was back on the front page of the Los Angeles Times this week, almost exactly three years after this photograph made him famous as the “Marlboro Marine” of Fallujah, Iraq. In a lengthy two-part series, the photographer who took that photo, Luis Sinco, described what has happened to Miller since then, from his discharge with post-traumatic stress disorder to his struggles back home in Eastern Kentucky –- including one with his local newspaper, a confrontation in which Sinco was involved.
Handling the attention was never easy for Miller, especially when it came from the Appalachian News-Express in his home Pike County, Sinco explained. An article that ran in the Pikeville daily last year, about Miller’s impending divorce, almost proved too much for him to take, and it prompted Sinco to help Miller seek treatment. That episode is recounted briefly in Sinco’s work, but there’s more to the story. To read a report from the Institute for Rural Journalism and Community Issues, click here.