Edward J. Miller – Lieutenant General, United States Marine Corps

Edward J., Miller, a St. Paul, Minnesota, native who enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1942 and rose to the rank of Lieutenant General while fighting in three wars, will be buried Monday, June 14, 1993, in Arlington National Cemetery.

Although Miller was wounded 3 times during his 38-year career, and earned several medals for heroism under enemy fire, it was cancerthat took his life June 5, 1993 in his home in Carlsbad, California. He was 70.

Miller grew up at 1209 Hague Ave, across the street from Fred Wilson, who corresponded and visited with Miller frequently over the years.

“He may have been rough and tough in the Corps, but he was very warm-hearted and concerned about people underneath it all. My brother and I considered him to be our brother. He was an ardent fisherman,” Wilson recalled.

After graduating from St Thomas Military Academy in St Paul, Miller enlisted in the Marine Corps and became a drill instructor after finishing boot camp. He then went to officers candidate school and was commissioned a Second Lieutenant.

After completing parachute training, he was assigned to the 5th Marine Division and fought at Iwo Jima. When World War II concluded, he returned to United States for three years before he was sent to Tientsin, China, where he was an aerial observer and company commander in the 4th Marines.

Miller’s career continued to send him across the Pacific Ocean for duty in Japan, the Korean War, Thailand and, later, Indonesia and Vietnam. He also attended or taught at a variety of schools and held several key posts. During the Cuban Missile Crisis, he was commander of the Joint Unconventional Task Force Alpha, a euphemism for secret operations.

The holder of black belts in judo and karate, Miller held a combat command in Vietnam from 1967 to 1968.

He was promoted to Brigadier General in 1970, and returned to Vietnam as commander of a combat brigade in 1972. He received his second star the next year and was trans to Washington, D.C., as a Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff of the Marine Corps.

In 1975, was named Commanding General of the 4th Marine Division at Camp Pendleton, California.

He was promoted to Lieutenant General in 1978, the same year he was named Commanding General of the Fleet Marine Force, Atlantic, and served in that role until retiring in 1980.

After retiring, Miller was a Vice President and Assistant to the President of the Canteen Corporation in Chicago. He later was a corporate consultant and was on the board of trustees of the Tri-City Hosp Foundation in Carlsbad at the time of his death, according to his son, Jeffrey, of Del Mar, California.

“He was a mustang. He started out as an enlisted man and went through the  ranks. He got his college degree in the 1970s, long after he had been commissioned. A mustang is unique, and to reach the rank he reached as a mustang is unique,” Miller’s son said.

Miller’s decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal, Silver Star, Legion of Merit with combat V, Bronze Star, three Purple Hearts and six foreign decorations.

Jeffrey Miller said his father never discussed the exploits that led to his medals.

“It would have been out of character for him to talk about how he earned the medals. He was very modest. At one time he was thinking about getting out of the
Marine Corps, but they lost his paperwork. Then the next war came and then the next.”

Besides his son, Miller is survived by his wife, Patricia; a daughter, Pamela Davis of Annapolis, Maryland, and 2 grandchildren.

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