James M. Miller ’45

Col. James M. Miller USAF (RET.) passed away on February 8th, 2015 at age 90.

Col. Miller was born in Baltimore, MD. on July 25, 1924, the second son of three boys born to Guy F. Miller and Margaret F Miller. Due to the untimely death of the father in 1930, the paternal Grandparents had to assist in the young boys upbringing.

James graduated from Walton High School in Defuniak Springs, Fl in 1941 and was attending Davidson College when WWII broke out. At ate 18 he joined the US Army Air Corps as an Aviation Cadet. After pilot training, he was assigned to England to B-17 Aircraft. In WWII he was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross on 5 occasions, The Purple Heart, several Air Medals and the Polish Cross of Valor. Finishing flying combat in Oct. 1944, He was assigned to Shaef-Rear in London until he returned to the United States in April 1945. In 1946,while stationed in Washington DC, he met his beautiful wife to be, Mary Elizabeth Lowther. It was love at first sight! they were married in the National Cathedral on April 13, 1947. In July 1948, a son, James Jr. was born in Waltham, Mass. He was the pride and joy of the Miller Family. In June 1951, a ” Yellow Rose of Texas,” Cynthia Ann was born in Segoin, TX, with a full head of hair! In 1959 he was assigned to the Military Assistance Group in Thailand. This proved to be a most interesting assignment. Bangkok was not the bustling metropolis of the later years. He was particularly pleased when he was presented Honorary Royal Thai Air Force Wings for his service. Tours in California, the Air War College in Alabama, Hawaii and Vietnam followed. He flew 183 missions on the F100 D in Vietnam and was awarded an additional Distinguished Flying Cross for a total of 6 (5 WWII, 1 Vietnam)and 14 Air medals. During his 30 year career he was awarded the Legion of Merit, The Meritorious Service Medal, 2 Army Commendation Medals and other Service awards. He was the assigned to Shaw AFB upon return to the United States.

Retiring to Satellite Beach, Fl in 1972, he enjoyed boating, golf, shrimping and the outdoor life of Florida. He then moved tot he mountains of North Carolina where he spent 20 years a a broker in real estate. He gardened, enjoyed daily walks with his wife and their two large dogs. Health forced him back to the level land of Florida in 2001.

Survivors include his son James Miller(Sandra), his daughter Cynthia Plaia (Robert), five grandchildren William Biegert, Brian Biegert(Natalie), Lauren Plaia, Jennifer McColgan(Jason) and James Miller II and four great grandchildren Brian Biegert, Alexandra Williams, Jadon Williams and Joshua Coufman.

Interment will be in Arlington National Cemetery. Additional services will be held Thursday, February 12 from 5:00- 7:00pm at Beach Funeral Home in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida.