Victor Laverne Miller – Lieutenant (jg), United States Navy

 Biography: Lieutenant (j.g.) Victor Laverne Miller, 290504, Bomber Squadron 13, U.S.S. Franklin


Born April 24, 1919, in Ness City, Kansas, to Claud Miller and Anna Mae Clark Miller, Vic Miller grew up on an 2480-acre cattle ranch that evolved from the 1877 Miller pioneer homestead. He used to tell stories of how he and his two brothers roped cows, ate from an old-fashioned chuck wagon, and experienced a bit of traditional cowboy life – and he could yodel and twirl a rope to prove it. One of his most exciting stories revolved around how a great disaster occurred May 10, 1929, when a massive tornado struck the Miller ranch instantly demolishing the twenty or so buildings and nearly killing his father and a ranch hand. In spite of that he was a Kansan through and through.

Even as a boy, his interests were always musical. While the piano was his favorite, he could play nearly any instrument by ear, and over time he learned to compose and arrange original works. He planned a career in music and was only three hours short of receiving his Masters Degree in Music from Kansas University when he enlisted in the Navy on June 12, 1942. He became a Dive Bomber pilot aboard the U.S.S. Franklin, and during his service was awarded both the Air Medal (15 January 1945) and the Navy Cross (15 February 1945). The Navy Cross was awarded for scoring a direct hit on a Japanese aircraft carrier contributing materially to its sinking.

The following is a synopsis of the heroism that resulted in the Navy Cross:

“For extraordinary heroism and distinguished service as a Pilot of a scout Dive Bomber airplane in Bombing Squadron THIRTEEN (VB-13), embarked from the U.S.S. FRANKLIN (CV-13), in action against the enemy Japanese forces in the Sibuyan Sea during the Air Battle of Leyte Gulf on 25 October 1944.  By his superb flying ability indomitable fighting spirit and cool courage, maintained at great personal risk, Lieutenant (j.g.) Miller contributed immeasurably to the extensive and costly damage inflicted on the Japanese fleet in this vital war area.  His conduct throughout this action reflects great credit upon himself, and was in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.”

Vic was honorably discharged from active service in October 1945 and married socialite Jane Carroll Casey of Oak Park, Illinois, February 24, 1945 in Reno, Nevada. They lived in Arlington Heights, Illinois, and had five children: Janice Carroll Girando of Leawood, Kansas; Georgia Lynn Goldberg of Lake Bluff, Illinois; Cynthia Ann Johnston of Rochester, Minnesota; Patricia Sue Ridgeway of Front Royal, Virginia; and Victor Lawrence Miller of Denver, Colorado. Vic’s eldest and only remaining brother Marion Miller currently resides on Hilton Head Island, South Carolina.

Vic held a number of positions in sales during his civilian career including Sears Roebuck and Co. and Marshall Field and Co. He relocated to the Kansas City area later in life where he worked with the Kansas Turnpike Authority. Even in his last days, when illness confined him to the Veteran’s Administration hospital in Leavenworth, he managed to find a piano and entertain the vets and nurses.  He was a musician, performer, teacher, composer and arranger.  He loved patriotic music and frequently ended his repertoire with a rousing rendition of The Stars and Stripes Forever.

When he passed away on February 7, 1985, his remains were donated at his request to the Anatomy Department of Kansas University. The following passage from Hebrews 13:2 was later found marked in his bible: “Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.”

NOTE:  A Memorial Stone is scheduled to be placed in Section 27 (Memorial Section K) of Arlington National Cemetery during the second week of July 2007 in memory of Lieutenant Miller.

DATE OF BIRTH: 04/24/1919
DATE OF DEATH: 02/07/1985

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