Edgar C. Miller was born on March 8, 1920, on a ranch north of New Underwood, South Dakota. His parents homesteaded this area in 1881, building a large following from Tennessee. Edgar attended grade school and high school in New Underwood. In March of 1942, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, he passed his aviation cadet examinations and enlisted in the U.S. Army Reserves, but had to wait until September before entering training at San Antonio, Texas. He qualified for pilot's training, and went through Bonham, TX, Greenville, TX, and Ellington Field, Houston, TX, where he graduated in August, 1943 (Class 43-H), as a 2nd Lt. He went through B-17 training at Pyote, TX, Alexandria, LA, and Grand Island, NE, and arrived in England in December, 1943.
His crew was assigned to the 360th Bomb Squadron, 303rd Bomb Group, the "Hell's Angels" Group operating out of Molesworth, England, where he flew the first of 30 missions on February 2, 1944, nine of which were to heavily defended Berlin, Germany. Ed flew 17 missions as co-pilot and the last 13 missions as pilot. His last mission was on June 2, 1944, and he left Molesworth to return to the U.S., on D-Day. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Clusters, and the Presidential Unit Citation.
Ed's first assignment in the U.S. was as Adjutant for the Flying Training Station at Marfa, TX. Here he pulled off the greatest "coup-de-maitre" of his career, when he married his sweetheart, Jill Wilson, whom he had met at Bonham, while taking Primary Training.
In 1946, Ed flew with the Air Transport Command Ferry Division, stationed at Long Beach, CA, flying B-25s, B-26s, A-26s, and P-38s, before transferring to Hamilton Field, CA, to fly C-54 transprt aircraft to Hawaii, Guam, Phillipines, Okinawa, China and Japan. He was promoted to Captain in 1947, while serving as Statistical Control Officer at Travis Air Force Base, in Fairfield, CA. In 1948 he was assigned to the Far East Air Forces, with assignments on Okinawa, the Phillipines, and Tokyo, Japan, as a Statistical Control Officer. His duties, while at Headquarters, FEAF, included briefing General Stratemeyer on the readiness of the Far East Air Forces, the 5th Air Force and the 13th Air Force. In 1950 he returned to the U.S., and was assigned to the Military Air Transport Service in San Antonio, TX, as Chief, Management Analysis for the Continental Division of MATS. Another promotion, this time to Major, occurred in 1952, at which time he was transferred to the Air University at Montgomery, AL, for Comptroller Staff Officer Training. Upon completion, he was promoted to Instructor of Comptroller Training, specializing in Management Training and Analysis, where he remained for two and a half years.
Since his days in Tokyo, and in San Antonio, Ed had been attending college classes in the evening, and at the end of his tour in Montgomery, AL, he was given time to complete his residence requirements at the University of Alabama, in Tuscaloosa, and received his AB degree in Political Science and History. In 1955, Ed went overseas again, to Wiesbaden, Germany, to head up the Management Analysis Division of the European Material Command, where he was promoted to Lt. Colonel in 1956. He was selected to attend the School of Business Administration at the University of Pittsburgh, in 1958, where he received his MBA, specializing in Long Range Planning in Business and Industry. Then he was off to the Pentagon in 1959, where he spent four years as command briefing officer for General Le May, on the "Millitary Effectiveness" of the Air Material Command, the Air Training Command, the Air University, and Air Force Communication Service. During this period Ed had a short break, going to Randolph Field, TX, to receive jet pilot training. Ed retired in 1963, after 21 years in the United States Air Forces, with over 3,500 flying hours, and a Command Pilot's rating.
In 1963 he accepted the position of Director, Economic Planning for the Autonetics Division of Rockwell International, at Anaheim, CA, living in Fullerton, CA. He remained with Autonetics until 1969, at which time he accepted the position of Vice President, Management Systems, for a small conglomerate, National Environment Corporation, in Orange, CA, and later served as President, Envirofoods, Inc. In 1971 Ed joined Dean Witter Reynolds as a broker, and served as Personal Investment Advisor for over 1500 families over a 17 year period -- the most rewarding time of his career. During this time he became a Certified Financial Planner, was promoted to First Vice President, and then became the Manager of the Whittier, CA, branch office that served 35 brokers. Ed retired in 1987, and shortly thereafter, moved to a quieter, less hurried life in Temple, OK.
Ed and Jill are the parents of four children, James, David, Suzanne, and Robert, all very successful in their own careers. They have four grandchildren that delight in visiting "Nanny" and "Popa" at their home in Temple.
Ed continues to remain active in the affairs of the 303rd Bomb Group Association, serving in all of the "chairs" and as President in 1995-96, and now as it's Membership Chairman. He is also very active in the affairs of the Shoun Family Association, acting as their Newsletter editor. His spare time is consumed by his hobby of genealogy and kinology, while his wife serves as the Mayor of the City of Temple.
A RECORD OF MY COMBAT MISSIONS FLOWN FROM MOLESWORTH, ENGLAND
I was a part of the Thacker Provisional Bomb Group that was sent overseas in late 1943. We arrived in England on 9 December 1943, landing at Preswick, Scotland, and then on in to Burtonwood Air Depot, England. At that time, the different crews were assigned to the several different 8th Air Force Bomb Groups located in England. We were lucky to have been assigned to the 303rd Bombardment Group, stationed at Molesworth, England, about 12 miles from Bedford. Along with the rest of the officers, we were sent directly to Bobbington Air Drome (right outside of London) for additional orientation about flying in the United Kingdom. Primarily this training covered radar, and navigational concepts. My memory does not recall all of the training courses that we took while there, but we did remain there for about four weeks. The enlisted members of the crew were sent to "The Wash" for gunnery training.
My first recollection of being at Molesworth, was on January 11, 1944. As was the practice, everyone who wasn't on a mission, gathered on the "Flight Line" to welcome back those fortunate crews who had returned safely from that day's mission. As I was standing on the pathway that led into the Debriefing Room, I looked up and here came the first "General Officer" I believe I had ever seen, up close. It was Brig/General Robert F. Travis, Air Commander of the 1st Bomb Division, still in his parachute harness, and looking like he had seen a ghost. I hit "attention" and saluted him, and as he passed he said, "Rough, Son--Rough!" And indeed that January 11, 1944 mission to Oschersleben, Germany was one of the roughest missions that the 303rd Bombardment Group was to fly during all of its 364 missions. The 1st Air Division, of which the 303rd was a part, was awarded the Presidential "Distinguished Unit Citation," for attacking its assigned target, even though the remainder of the 8th Air Force had turned back because of adverse weather, leaving the 1st Air Division to face the might of the Luftwaffe virtually alone. One of the fiercest aerial battles of the war ensued in which the 1st Division fought brilliantly, but bombed the target. The 303rd Bombardment Group lost eleven B-17s, with their 10 or 11 man aircrews. The 1st Air Division lost thirty-four B-17s and their aircrews. Overall, four hundred and thirty officers and enlisted men failed to return.
For the remainder of the month of January, we continued our orientation of what was required of us as a Bomber Crew. Several routine local flights were made to introduce us to the English manner of air communications and navigational aids.
Mission #1 - 4 Feb 1944 to Frankfurt, Germany--City Area (PFF Bombing)
Mission #2 - 5 Feb 1944 to Orleans, France--Bricy German Airfield
Mission #3 - 6 Feb 1944 to Dijon, France--Dijon/Lonvic Airdrome
Mission #4 - 25 Feb 1944 to Augsburg, Germany--Messerchmitt Assembly/Research Plant
Mission #5 - 2 Mar 1944 to Frankfurt, Germany--V.K.F. Ball Bearing Works
Mission #6 - 3 Mar 1944 to Erkner (Berlin), Germany--V.K.F. Ball Bearing Works
Mission #7 - 4 Mar 1944 to Cologne/Bonn, Germany--City Area (PFF Bombing)
Mission #8 - 6 Mar 1944 to Berlin, Germany--City Area (PFF Bombing)
Mission #9 - 8 Mar 1944 to Erkner (Berlin), Germany--V.K.F. Ball Bearing Works
Mission #10 - 9 Mar 1944 to Berlin, Germany--City Area (PFF Bombing)
Mission #11 - 16 Mar 1944 to Augsburg, Germany--City Area (PFF Bombing)
Mission #12 - 22 Mar 1944 to Berlin, Germany--City Area (PFF Bombing)
Mission #13 - 23 Mar 1944 to Ahlen, Germany--City Area
Mission #14 - 26 Mar 1944 to Wizernes, France (Pas De Calais)--"Crossbow" Targets
Mission #15 - 27 Mar 1944 to Chartres, France--Airdrome
Mission #16 - 29 Mar 1944 to Stedorf, Germany--Barracks Area
Mission #17 - 11 Apr 1944 to Sorau, Germany--FW-190 Assembly Factory
Mission #18 - 18 Apr 1944 to Oranienburg (Berlin), Germany--Ernst-Heinkel Flugsenwerke Factory
G.M.B.H. Bomber Aircraft Components
Mission #19 - 19 Apr 1944 on Air-Sea Rescue Mission over the North Sea
Mission #20 - 30 Apr 1944 to Lyon/Bron, France--Airdrome
Mission #21 - 7 May 1944 to Berlin, Germany--Friedrichstrasse Station (PFF Bombing)
Mission #22 - 9 May 1944 to Berlin, Germany--City Area (PFF Bombing)
Mission #23 - 10 May 1944 to Zwischenahm, German (Mission Recalled)
Mission #24 - 11 May 1944 to Saarbrucken, Germany--Railroad Marshalling Yards
Mission #25 - 19 May 1944 to Berlin, Germany--City Area (PFF Bombing)
Mission #26 - 20 May 1944 to Orly, France--Airdrome (Visual Bombing)
Mission #27 - 23 May 1944 to Saarbrucken, Germany--Railroad Marshalling Yards
Mission #28 - 24 May 1944 to Berlin, Germany--City Area (PFF Bombing)
Mission #29 - 25 May 1944 to Blainville, France--Railroad Marshalling yards
Mission #30 - 27 May 1944 to Mannheim, Germany--Railroad Marshalling Yards
Mission #31 - 28 May 1944 to Leipzig (Rotha), Germany--Molbis Thermal Electric Power Station
Mission #32 - 31 May 1944 to Gilze-Rijen, The Netherlands--Airdrome
Mission #33 - 2 Jun 1944 to Dantes, France--Gun Emplacements ("No Ball" Target)
Summary: Squadron Lead Aircraft--3 Missions
Bomb Group Lead Aircraft--2 Missions
Awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with three Oak Leaf Cluster, and the Presidential "Distinguished Unit Citation"