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Carl Thomas Miller
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Birth: Apr. 21, 1920
Breckinridge County
Kentucky, USA
Death: May 19, 1997
Hardinsburg
Breckinridge County
Kentucky, USA

Most of his friends and family knew him to be a man of great integrity, but Carl's own modesty prevented him from discussing the fact that he was a hero of World War II. There are three things which set him aside from most soldiers. First, he was the recipient of seven Bronze Stars, all awarded for combat in the European Theater. Second, his unit was known as "The First Ashore," because he participated in the very first Allied Invasion of Nazi-held territory, when Allied troops invaded North Africa. Third, his military service was quite lengthy, for he was drafted into the army before World War II began and served until after the war was over.

His military service began in 1941, when the Breckinridge County Draft Board notified him that he would be entering the U.S. Army, and on November 17, he was inducted at Louisville. Only twenty days after his induction, Japanese airplanes bombed the U.S. Naval Installation at Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, plunging the United States into World War II. At the time, he was stationed at Ft. Leonard Wood, Missouri, and he realized he would soon be actively involved in combat. He continued his training at the Jackson Army Air Base in Jackson, Mississippi, before being assigned to the 815th Engineer Aviation Battalion. Afterward, he was stationed in Ft. Benning, Georgia, and later in Pass Christian, Mississippi. He trained to become a cook, a position which later was the focus of a nationally circulated wartime news story. Overnight, he became famous for serving generals his fried doughnuts. The article stated that he had to tell the army officers to "wait in line" just like everybody else! Being a cook, however, only meant that he had the responsibility of warming and serving meals. Time would later prove that, in the heat of battle, he had to perform his duties just like any other soldier.

On June 4, 1942, he departed the Port of New York City on His Majesty's Ship The Queen Elizabeth, arriving five days later in the Firth of Clyde, near Greenock, Scotland. The 815th Battalion was the first U. S. Army Air Force unit to set foot on British soil. He continued training near Lichfield, England, and later near Harrington, England, not realizing that he was only a few miles south of his ancestral home of Rutland. On October 23, 1942, his unit departed Bristol, England, on the British ship Mooltan to begin a top secret mission to make the first Allied Invasion of Nazi territory (Operation Torch) arriving on the beach at Arzew, Algeria, on November 8. Encountering great resistance from the Germans in North Africa, his battalion moved eastward across the African continent from Algeria into Tunisia, and then crossed the Mediterranean Sea. He then participated in the Allied Invasion of Sicily. While in Africa, he suffered from four or five bouts with Malaria. Just before leaving the African continent, a truck in which he was being transported wrecked, fracturing his leg near the knee, a fact which he concealed in his letters home. The Axis powers were defeated in North Africa in May of 1943.

Beginning October 26, 1943, he participated in the invasion of southern Italy. Most of his military service awards, including his seven Bronze Stars, were earned during heavy air raids of the Anzio Beachhead, which he reached on May 10, 1944. It was on Anzio that he witnessed some of the worst battles of American military history. Carl was assigned to supervise soldiers who maintained a runway that was temporarily constructed by the Allies so that their airplanes could safely take off and land, but the German Luftwaffe repeatedly bombed the air strip. More than once, he found himself taking cover beneath a large rock. Despite the heavy loss of human life, he diligently performed his duties.

In northern France, on June 6, 1944, other Allied Troops participated in the Great Invasion of Europe, which Gen. Eisenhower called D-Day. At this time, the army corps in which Carl served had already reclaimed southern Italy, so the remainder of 1944 brought him into Naples, Rome, Pisa, Corsica, and the Northern Apennines.

Finally, on May 7, 1945, Nazi Germany surrendered to Allied Forces. Eight days later, he departed from Taranto, Italy, aboard the USS Wakefield, arriving on May 25, in Boston Harbor. At the time, many American servicemen anticipated that they would have to continue the war effort in the Pacific Theater because the Japanese forces had not surrendered. On August 5, 1945, he arrived at Geiger Field, Washington, and prepared to leave for the Pacific Theater. However, on August 6, 1945, Americans dropped an atomic bomb on the Japanese City of Hiroshima, and on August 9, the city of Nagasaki was bombed. When the Japanese unconditionally surrendered on August 15, he was spared the additional duty of military engagement in the Pacific. He then left the State of Washington and was discharged on September 23, 1945, at Camp Atterbury, Indiana, having been on active duty the entire length of the war, from start to finish.

A few days later, he arrived by bus in Hardinsburg. From there, he took a taxi to the rock quarry and then walked the remaining distance to his parents' house in the Clover Creek community, surprising his family, which joyously welcomed him home. During the three years that he was away, several things had happened on Miller Hill. When he walked into his mother's kitchen, he looked down and beheld, for the very first time, his brother, Joe, who was three years old.

On September 16, 1948, he married Imogene Fentress, of Grayson County. They became the parents of Ronald Thomas Miller and Linda Fay (Miller) (Gibson) McCloskey. The family lived on Highway 105 South outside Hardinsburg.

He and his family attended New Clover Creek Baptist Church, where on February 13, 1954, he was elected by the congregation to serve as a deacon, with his ordination service conducted June 27, 1954. He held this position until his death, 42 years later.

About 1962, when Rough River Dam State Resort Park opened, he worked for the Army Corps of Engineers at the boat dock. He continued to work with the Corps of Engineers at other jobs until he retired in 1983. He suffered a heart attack at the age of 64, and on December 23, 1984, he had to undergo quadruple bypass surgery, performed by internationally-renowned cardiologist, Dr. William C. DeVries, famed for having implanted the first Jarvik 7 artificial heart in 1982.

Few men could parallel the genuine goodness of Carl Miller, who trusted God his entire life.
 
 
Family links: 
 Parents:
  Hubert Miller (1894 - 1969)
  Hazel Irene Hawkins Miller (1898 - 1987)
 
 Spouse:
  Imogene Fentress Miller (1929 - 2013)*
 
 Siblings:
  Carl Thomas Miller (1920 - 1997)
  Robert Wayne Miller (1922 - 1963)*
  Franklin Miller (1937 - 2008)*
 
*Calculated relationship
 
Burial:
New Clover Creek Baptist Church Cemetery
Hardinsburg
Breckinridge County
Kentucky, USA
 
Created by: Perry Ryan
Record added: Apr 22, 2004
Find A Grave Memorial# 8667625
Carl Thomas Miller
Added by: Perry Ryan
 
Carl Thomas Miller
Added by: Perry Ryan
 
Carl Thomas Miller
Added by: Anonymous
 
 
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- Crow
 Added: Apr. 6, 2010
 
 
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