39th Bomb Group (VH)
Gunner's Badge


dfc.gif [The Distingushed Flying Cross]

br_oak2.jpg [Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster]

airmedal.gif [The Air Medal]

br_oak2.jpg [Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster]


br_oak2.jpg [Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster]

Unit Citation

arpuc.jpg [The Presidental Unit Citation]
br_oak2.jpg [Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster]
Oak Leaf Cluster

Service Awards

amcamp.gif [The American Campaign Medal]

apcm.jpg [The Asiatic-Pacfic Campaign Medal]
star1.gif [Bronze Star]

wwiivic.gif [The Victory Medal, World War II]

Click on the name of the Decoration, Service Award, or Ribbon Device to learn the criteria

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Major Charles B. Miller
Airplane Commander

I got my commision in the Field Artillery from VMI in May '42 and immediately requested a transfer to the Air Corps. It came in July and I trained in the Southeast and got my wings Feb. 16, 1943.

I completed my 25 missions flying B17s with the 388th Bomb Group, 8th Air Force, out of England over Europe, from about Oct. '43 to about March '44. We got 4 Air Medals and the DFC for being lucky.

When I came back to the States, I did not enjoy trying to teach those kids to fly B17s so I volunteered for B-29s and joined the 39th at Smoky Hill.

We got in 28 missions before the war ended and got credit for the 29th for the flyover at the peace signing, where we buzzed the Missouri. I got four clusters for the Air Medal, a DFC for letting a West Point Col. fly with us, so he could get a medal, another DFC for shooting down the Jap Ruffe and one for just being there.

After the war the headquarters brass wanted some fame, so they planned to strip a B-29 and fly from northern Japan to Washington, DC, non-stop. Some how, I was selected to fly their baggage to Washington. The services were counting points and figuring who would go back to the States, so we were happy to carry baggage. We were to fly the baggage to Washington and fly back to Guam!

I was from Richmond, VA, which is only about 100 miles from Washington, so I was going to get home, for a while anyway. We used the plane we had flown over in and on most of our missions. No.1 engine was not the best, but we were going home. We flew to Kwajalein, Hawaii and Sacramento. We took off in the evening, with No.1 not in top shape, but we were going home. At 3600' No. 2 started running away. We tried to feather it, without success. We were holding altitude and that is all. Then No. 3 and 4 stated running away. No. 2 caught fire and we got it out. We were loosing altitude at 1500 fpm so I gave the order to bail out. At 1000', (the ground I figured later was 160'), I looked around and everybody was gone. I stared to get up and the throat mike was caught. I got that loose and went back to the nose wheel hatch and checked, three times, to be sure the chute harness was buckled, jumped out, saw the bottom of the plane and pulled the ripcord. Nothing happened. I gave it a big pull. The chute opened and I hit the ground at the same instant! My knee hurt a little, but I was able the gather the chute, find the North Star and head north, until I was found.

The knee bothered me a little for years but no more. I run three miles, every other day, and play tennis several times a week.

Sorry to hear about Bud Elvgreen. He came by to see me one time and I saw him one time in St. Paul. My favorite about Bud, the co-pilot, was that on the way to Japan, I would get sleepy and ask Bud to take over. I would then get to sleep, but wake up and see Bud with his head in his lap, fast asleep. I would stay awake for 2 hours, while he continued to sleep. I would wake him and he would say, "I am not sleeping, just resting my eyes."

Major Charles B. Miller took his Final Flight on 29 August 2018

Crew 28 Main Page
61st Squadron Crew Index
Source: Charles B. Miller, Airplane Commander, Crew 28