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Robert Junior Miller

"In my generation, this was not the first occasion when the strong had attacked the weak. Communism was acting in Korea just as Hitler, Mussolini, and the Japanese had acted ten, fifteen, and twenty years earlier. I felt certain that if South Korea was allowed to fall, communist leaders would be emboldened to override nations closer to our own shores."

President Harry Truman

Robert Junior Miller was born on December 26, 1929, to Opal F. Miller in Preston County, West Virginia. In the 1930s, Miss Miller continued to live with her father and mother, Judson and Dora Miller, and her sister, Bell. Robert Miller's father is neither named nor mentioned. Robert's last name was his mother's maiden name. She married Edward Myers in 1941, and Mr. Myers became Robert Miller's stepfather. His death notice indicated he had a stepsister, Irene, and he was also survived by his grandfather, Judson W. Miller. Neither the 1930 nor 1940 Federal Census lists Robert Miller in the household with his mother.

Research did not reveal with whom Robert Miller lived in his youth, but he attended Kingwood High School and graduated in 1947. He enrolled at West Virginia University and majored in forestry. ("Services Set for Lt. Robert Miller," Preston County Journal, 25 March 1954.)

He was a charter member of Arnold Air Society, which had the mission of developing future leaders through community service, professional development, and education about national defense. He was the President of Alpha Gamma Rho, a fraternity whose purpose was to "make better men, and through them, a better and broader agriculture." He was also a member of the Forestry Club.

On July 5, 1951, Robert Miller enlisted in the United States Air Force. He graduated flight school in December of 1952 as a jet pilot. He was transferred to Korea in June. He served with the 69th Fighter-Bomber Squadron of the 58th Fighter Bomb Group, with a home base in San Francisco.

A brief history of the 58th's service during the Korean War is quoted below from The Korean War Project's website page dedicated to the group:

The 58th FBG flew F-84s in primarily close air support and ground attack missions from July 1952. Having entered the Korean War with the slow, short-ranged F-84D ThunderJets, the 58th transitioned in late 1952 to the new "G" model, designed with more speed and range. Targets were enemy ports, railroads, and airfields. The group attacked the major supply port of Sinuiju in September, inflicting heavy damage to the target area without loss of personnel or aircraft. Combining with other fighter-bomber units, it attacked the Kumgang Political School at Odong-ni in October 1952 and the North Korean tank and infantry school at Kangso in February 1953. In May, the 58th FBG bombed North Korean dams, flooding enemy lines of communication and rice fields. On July 27, 1953, the 58th FBG attacked the runway at Kanggye and, with the 49th FBG, bombed Sunan Airfield for the final action of fighter-bombers in the Korean War. ("58th Fighter Bomber Group," accessed 1 June 2021,

By 1954, Robert Miller had attained the rank of first lieutenant and had survived the official end of the Korean War. However, he was still in Korea in 1954 and continued to fly F-84s. According to a fact sheet prepared by TSgt David Dollman, the 58th continued to provide air defense to South Korea in the years after the war. ("58 Operations Group [AETC]," Air Force Historical Research Agency, accessed 26 May 2021, During a night flight on February 20, 1954, Lt. Miller's plane went down in Korea. Lt. Miller died as a result.

Lt. Miller was buried in Maplewood Cemetery in Kingwood, Preston County. The news of the death was reported in the Preston County Journal. ("Services Set for Lt. Robert Miller," 25 March 1954.)
Military marker for Lieutenant Robert J. Miller in Maplewood Cemetery. Courtesy Cynthia Mullens
Headstone for Lieutenant Robert J. Miller in Maplewood Cemetery. Courtesy Cynthia Mullens

Military marker and headstone for Lieutenant Robert J. Miller in Maplewood Cemetery. Courtesy Cynthia Mullens

Article prepared by Cynthia Mullens
May 2021


Robert Junior Miller

West Virginia Archives and History welcomes any additional information that can be provided about these veterans, including photographs, family names, letters and other relevant personal history.

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