Lt. Harry J. Miller, Navigator 

Survived by his four children:  Christine, Kathy, Tom, and Richard

Harry J. Miller was born in Chicago, Illinois on January 17, 1917.  He enlisted as an Aviation Cadet in the Air Corps on December 12, 1941.

 

Eight months after enlisting, on August 31, 1942, Harry married Juliana White in a ceremony conducted by a Catholic priest in Grant County, Washington, most likely the town of Ephrata. Since both Harry and Juliana were from the Chicago area, I wondered why they chose this date and this place for their wedding.  The book,

Snetterton Falcons offers a probable explanation:  

"The 96th Bomb Group actually had a short one month stay in Boise, Idaho where the process began of organizing the unit from a few WWI veterans and some professional soldiers into groups which would be considered teams rather than individuals. But the short stay ended on August 30, 1942, when the air echelon was directed to proceed by rail to Walla Walla, Washington.

Juliana in National Honor Society as a high school junior to the right; can you find her? 

(She is to the right of the teacher in the second row up.)

The group's departure split personnel from their wives.  Lt. Col. Archie Old "called us in and told us that all the wives must go home. His already had.  'We'll have no time for family life during the next few months,' Col. Old had said.  And we didn't."

 

I think, for Harry and Juliana, the message was clear - it was now or never if they were to be married anytime soon.  As a result, the very next day, about two hours from Walla Walla, they were married.  I'm not sure how difficult it was to find a Catholic priest on such short notice, but they did.

After the war, Mr. Miller flew again with the Rum Boogie pilot, James Sanders, this time on commercial flights.  That ended when Mr. Sanders was killed in a crash shortly after take-off from Chicago.  More details on this disaster are available on Captain Sanders' page on this website.

 

Harry and Juliana's love story lasted over 50 years until Harry's death on September 22, 1992.  Juliana died nine years later in 2002.

Lt. Miller's War Adventures

A piece of flak Harry collected; the joke was that he "dug it out of the Bombardier's ass."

Harry Miller Shrapnel silver.jpg

Joking aside, to the right is an example of what flak could do to airplanes.

miller flak damaged plane.jpg

A couple of funny stories about Harry from Joe Hudson's book, Elite Cannon Fodder, published in 1987:

 

"Lts. Spencer and Miller shared a barracks room.  They were not a very tidy pair of housekeepers.  At night all of their clothing, etc., was piled on the table in the center of the room.  Each morning it was shifted to the unmade bunks.  This went on day after day."

"There was an old billy goat that took up quarters near our hut.  We warned Lt. Miller that the goat was going to get him if he didn't quit drinking so much.  One night he came in high as a kite and went to bed.  Someone caught the goat and tied it to Miller's bed.  When he awoke, the goat was standing on all fours in Miller's bed.  Miller reformed."