FIRE BASE FIDDLERS GREEN, HELMAND PROVINCE, AFGHANISTAN
FIRE BASE FIDDLERS GREEN, Helmand province, Afghanistan – In 2008, a Newhall, Calif., native had a dream job in Hollywood’s entertainment industry. He worked as a color assistant, editing video footage for “Desperate Housewives” and was even able to meet the cast. He loved his job and saw it as something he could do long-term. Unfortunately, things change.
Lance Cpl. Jacob Miller of 1st Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, did not think he would be deployed to Afghanistan three short years later. These days, he guides Marines through patrols in the desert, very different from his previous job working in a dark editing room.
Miller would adjust exposure, reduce glare, eliminate “hairs” on the screen and fix any other imperfections before giving the video to a head colorist for review.
“It was five days a week,” said Miller. “I worked the graveyard shift – Hollywood never sleeps so somebody’s got to be working all the time.”
One of Miller’s most memorable experiences from this job was getting to meet the stars of “Desperate Housewives” during a “wrap party” after the season finale.
“Everyone who worked on the show was there, from the lowest guy who brought coffee, to the biggest guy, Marc Cherry, the director and creator. It was pretty cool seeing everyone after watching them every night on TV. I don’t really get star struck, but it was cool.
“I got to meet Nicolette Sheridan, Teri Hatcher, Eva Longoria – I met all the guys too, but I don’t remember their names,” he admitted with a smile. “I (best) remember meeting Eva Longoria because she was really nice. She was really down to earth and kissed me on the cheek. That shocked me because she was probably the biggest name there – she was cool.”
Miller also worked on several films and other television programs during the same timeframe. He scored work on films such as “Jackass Number Two,” “300” and “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” while his television work included several episodes of “Rob & Big” and the pilot season of “Sons of Anarchy.”
Unfortunately, Miller felt obligated to resign during the 2007–2008 Writers Guild of America strike after learning he was about to be laid off.
“At the time, I was still the newest guy in my job, and they’re not going to let go of the guy with the most experience,” said Miller. “I was told I was going to be let go, so I took it upon myself to put in my two weeks’ (notice).”
Miller left the job he loved and wanted to do long-term, yet he did not get downtrodden. He decided to join the Marine Corps instead, something he wanted to do in the past, but had put off until then.
“I was going to join the Marine Corps right after high school in 2005, but I got this job instead,” said Miller. “I was excited because my stepdad was in the Marines back when Jimmy Carter was president – he instilled that motivation in me to join.”
The 24-year-old Miller is currently a fireteam leader with Headquarters Battery, 1/12. He uses the knowledge he gained in the workplace and his life experience to lead his Marines. His leaders have also taken notice of his performance, and his hard work and dedication earned him his recent promotion to his current rank Sept. 1.
“He’s motivated, very mature,” said Belmont, Calif., native Sgt. Roberto Rayon, Miller’s squad leader. I think his experience in the workforce prior to coming here made him a little more mature than the normal lance corporal because he wasn’t 18, 19 – he was 23. He (was) a team leader as a private first class, so that shows a lot of his character.”
Miller said he would like to return to Hollywood as a color assistant after he gets out of the Marine Corps in 2013 and plans on applying the lessons he has learned in the Marines to help him.
“In the Marines, they teach you not to (do anything half-heartedly),” said Miller. “When you’re put in charge of people in the Marine Corps, that leadership experience is going to put you that much further ahead of everyone else in the civilian world.”
Editor’s note: First Battalion, 12th Marine Regiment, is currently assigned to 2nd Marine Division (Forward), which heads Task Force Leatherneck. The task force serves as the ground combat element of Regional Command (Southwest) and works in partnership with the Afghan National Security Force and the Government of the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan to conduct counterinsurgency operations. The unit is dedicated to securing the Afghan people, defeating insurgent forces and enabling ANSF assumption of security responsibilities within its area of operations in order to support the expansion of stability, development and legitimate governance.
||FIRE BASE FIDDLERS GREEN, HELMAND PROVINCE, AF
This work, Newhall native trades Hollywood for Helmand, by Cpl Tommy Bellegarde, identified by DVIDS, is free of known copyright restrictions under U.S. copyright law.