Profile in Service: Harry Miller

Harry MillerBy: Fred Apgar

With a career that spanned two branches of service and three wars, Harry Miller exemplifies the value of service to our nation. Miller grew up in Columbus, Ohio, the youngest of six children. To help support his family, he worked halftime while going to school. In 1944, he dropped out high school to enlist in the Army. Miller completed Basic Training at Fort Knox, Kentucky and was assigned to an armored unit. He arrived in Europe in November 1944 and was assigned to the 1st Army, 740th Tank Battalion. Miller joined his unit at New Chateau in the Ardennes and saw immediate combat during the Battle of the Bulge. He was a member of a five-man tank crew assigned to an assault platoon. When the Allies successfully forced the Germans to retreat, Miller was then attached to the 82nd Airborne and fought the Germans across the Siegfried Line, having to overcome numerous tank traps, sniper teams and hardened positions.

Upon crossing the Rhine River, his unit captured thousands of German soldiers who knew the war was about to end. According to some of the captured troops, they preferred to be captured by American forces rather than surrendering to the Russians.

Tanks and Infantrymen of the 82nd Airborne Division, Company G, 740th Tank Battalion, 504th Regiment, push through the snow toward their objective in Belgium.

Tanks and Infantrymen of the 82nd Airborne Division, Company G, 740th Tank Battalion, 504th Regiment, push through the snow toward their objective in Belgium.

Once hostilities ended in May 1945, Miller’s job became that of occupation duty. For the next three years, Miller served as an MP in the 2nd Constabulary Regiment. After a brief visit with family in the United States, Miller continued to serve in occupation duty, but this time it was in Japan. He was assigned to the forward communications center of MacArthur’s Headquarters, a unit in which he would continue to serve for the next five years. When the Korean War started, the communications center, of which Miller was now in charge, was transferred to Korea. After a year of duty in Korea, Miller was reassigned to the Army Security Agency and sent to German, once again. When the Army refused to honor his request to return to Korea, Miller left the Army after 10 years of service. In hopes of being assigned to Korea, he immediately joined the Air Force with no loss in rank.

Miller was assigned to the Air Defense Command, and after serving a two year tour at Stewart Air Force Base in Newburg, New York, Miller then served a remote tour at a radar site in Alaska. This tour of duty was on the DEW (Distance Early Warning) Line, was a system of radar stations in the far northern Arctic regions of Canada, with additional stations along the North Coast and Aleutian Islands of Alaska. The DEW Line was established to detect incoming Soviet bombers during the Cold War and provide early warning of any sea-land-air invasion.

After subsequent assignments back in the states and Germany, Miller was transferred to the Strategic Air Command. During the Vietnam War, Miller was a member of the Joint Targeting Task Force for B-52 operations and was responsible for generating the “Go-Codes” for all B-52 missions. Miller retired from the Air Force in 1966 at the rank of Senior Master Sergeant. After leaving the Air Force, Miller worked as a private investigator for Burns International and then served as Director of Security and Safety at a hospital in Albuquerque, N.M. For many years, Miller was the drummer in a local band that played weekly at the Edmonds Senior Center and at various parties and local events.

In 2012, Miller’s wife of 37 years, Helen, died suddenly. Miller has two sons and resides in a military retirement community in Washington, D.C.

 

 

 

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