The USC Black Alumni Association (USC BAA) seeks to raise $10,000 to support the USC BAA Myles D. Redd Penix Annual Scholarship. The purpose of this scholarship is to honor Myles' life and legacy by awarding committed USC BAA Scholars with tuition assistance to complete their studies at USC.
Myles David Penix (aka Myles D. Redd), born at Fort McClellan, Alabama in June 1988 to parents who both served in the United States Army, was raised in Southern California. After graduating from high school, he attended community college then went on to serve in the Navy. He later joined the Army where he served until his untimely death in March 2016.
Myles eagerly worked in the church from the age of seven through his late teens, participating as an usher, helping to prepare the communion trays, and completing any other tasks when called upon. As Myles moved from childhood and adolescence through his teen years and then to early adulthood, he was a voracious reader, searching for the answers to his many questions about life, the universe and his purpose.
As a teenager, Myles experienced the events surrounding September 11, 2001 and he was immediately drawn to the military as he desired to serve his county. As he matured, he often spoke about utilizing the energy of his youth to make a difference in his community. He was extremely disheartened with the events surrounding the death of Trayvon Martin, but continued to believe that there was power in knowledge and education. Over the years, his reading list included books focused on self-help; philosophy; the black experience; mythology; military history; and fitness. Essentially, no topic was out of bounds.
- Roy Redd, Myles’ cousin who is now a paramedic, writer, and speaker, said he expanded his reading list after discovering that he could not recommend any books to Myles because he had already read them all.
In his mid-teens, when inquiring on what books he should add to his reading list, Myles took his mother up on her suggestion that he read Claude Brown’s, “Manchild in the Promised Land.” After reading it a second time he thanked her for opening his world up to this literary work of art and emphasized that the autobiographical novel was his favorite book ever. Already gifted with the ability to tell stories, for the first time Myles now considered a profession that would also call upon this unique writing skills.
The economy suffered greatly for several years after Myles graduated from high school (2006). While many of his peers struggled with their desire to serve a country that they often felt treated them as second-class citizens, Myles found a balance between his dedication to his community and service to his country. Myles, intelligent and thoughtful, refused to be labelled or boxed in by expectations. About a year and a half after graduating from high school, Myles became a Navy Seabee, serving for two years, then following a two-year break, he enlisted in the Army.
Myles was a hard-working Navy sailor and he excelled in the Army. He was a soldier who led by example and inspired those around him. From his deployment to Iraq with the Navy early in his career, to his leadership in the U.S. Army with Fort Bragg’s elite Pathfinder unit, to his commitment to his education and devotion to his family and friends, Myles strove to be his best, motivating and encouraging others to find their own path for success.
- When Myles was 15 or 16 years old he kindly told his mother that he would not be around forever and that she should “get a life” so she took his advice, joined a running club and spent the next several years running marathons, which enriched her life then and continues to do so today.
Throughout his life, Myles continued his education and even completed classes online when he was deployed to Afghanistan. Before he was murdered, Myles planned to leave the military at the end of his enlistment term (he only needed to serve another year on active duty). He endeavored to return to Southern California, raise his son, complete his undergraduate education and subsequently obtain a Master’s Degree in Business Administration at USC.
Myles’ thirst for knowledge drove him and he would be pleased to know that others have the opportunity to fulfill their educational goals as a result of the impact he left on those who crossed his path during his short life.
Myles’ military awards and decorations include the Army Commendation Medal, Army Achievement Medal, Army Good Conduct Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Afghanistan Campaign Medal with Two Campaign Stars, Iraq Campaign Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Army Service Ribbon, Overseas Service Ribbon, NATO Medal, and the Air Assault Badge.
Please contribute and support, at any level, to the USC BAA Myles D. Penix Annual Scholarship Fund.
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Myles D. Penix is featured in this article while he was deployed in Afghanistan serving as a Combat Search and Rescue Team Leader. http://www.fayobserver.com/8e515d6c-e74f-5f44-8557-d289881a910e.html
Sgt. Myles Penix is featured in this article where the Pathfinders secure land and lead helicopters and soldiers: https://www.fayobserver.com/a9bc0e10-ab84-11e5-ab4d-c3021b45bf26.html
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