WWII Airman Arthur C Miller Returns Home
It’s been a long torturous road for this hero of WWII.
Airman 1st Class Arthur Carl Miller was killed in action on the island of Peleliu on September 13, 1944, two days before the invasion of the island by the 1st Marine Division. He was filling in as a gunner on a TBM Avenger flying from the aircraft carrier USS Enterprise. The mission, to bomb the japanese held Peleliu airfield, came to a disastrous end as the aircraft was hit by murderous anti-aircraft fire, exploded and crashed north of the airfield. More details here.
Remains, identified as another crewman, Wesley Stuart, were returned to his family in California. Mrs. Stuart refused to believe they were the remains of her son, but she vowed to take care of some other mother’s son and so the remains were interred in their family mausoleum in San Joaquin.
In 2008, Mary Ellen Roberts, sister of Wesley Stuart, had the remains disinterred and flown to Hawaii for DNA testing to resolve the long standing family issue. Her mother’s intuition was proven correct, the boy kept so long in their keeping was not Wesley Stuart, and a search would find that he was Carl Miller of Poughkeepsie, NY. More here.
On Saturday morning, Nov 7. 2009 a full military ceremony (Navy) was held for Radioman First Class at Poughkeepsie Rural Cemetery. It was a beautiful autumn day with bright sunshine and mild to crisp temperatures.
Radioman First Class Miller was a crew member (Radio and gunner) of a Grumman Avenger that was shot down in 1944. He was officially listed as MIA until several months ago when his remains were identified and his closest next of kin (his son, who was born 6 months after his father’s death) was notified. His son requested a military funeral at the family plot in Poughkeepsie. His son also asked around in search of veteran participation in what would be a modest ceremony.
Gathering of Eagles, Rolling Thunder, Patriot Guard Riders, and the American Legion all participated. RFC Miller’s remains were escorted to the cemetery by Rolling Thunder and PGR. encircling the Navy pall bearers, rifle team was a flag line of about 75 members of the groups in attendance holding American flags with a few Navy, Navy Jack, POW/MIA, and 1 Gadsden flags. Also conspicuously present was a homemade sign saying “Welcome Home Sailor” It was truly an honor to be invited to pay our respects to a true American hero. The family was very moved as were we all.
Airman Miller’s son, Arthur Miller, Jr. and family:
The sign says it all:
Special thanks to PacificWrecks.Org for their background material and some photos on this story.
Also attending the service were members of The Bent Prop Project.
For more background on the Battle of Peleliu.