|Name} Miller, John Leslie (Jack)||Family History} Olson|
|Title}||Race} White||Sex} Male|
|Birth: Date} Fam 27 Aug 1919||Place} Perth Amboy, Middlesex, New Jersey|
|Death: Date} Exa 12 Mar 1945||Place} San Jose, Mindoro Island, Philippines|
|Burial: Date} Exa 13 Mar 1945||Place} Armed Forces Cemetery, San Jose, Mindoro Island, Philippines|
|Burial: Date} Exa 4 Nov 1948||Place} Rose Hills Memorial Park, Whittier, Los Angeles, California|
|Grave Marker} Yes||
|Parents: } Peter John Miller & Evelyn Mae Baldwin|
Relationship No.} 3
|1st Household No.} 222 = Perth Amboy, Middlesex, New Jersey|
| Occupation 1} Military pilot|
Total Number of} None
|Notes: John Leslie Miller was born 27 Aug 1919 in Perth Amboy, Middlesex, New Jersey to
Peter John and Evelyn Mae Miller. In the 1920 U.S. census, the family was living
at 228 Sherman Road, Perth Amboy. They were living with Chris Miller, his wife Anna,
and son August. His first trip to church was probably September 18, 1919, when he was
enrolled in the Cradle Roll at the First Presbyterian Church, Perth Amboy.|
At an early age, he became known by his nickname "Jack". Jack was soon joined by a brother Robert, sister Frances, and two more brothers. The family moved almost every year, usually living in houses, but sometimes in small flats over store shops. In the 1930 U.S. census, the family moved to Atlanta, Georgia for a year, because his father was an inmate in the U.S. Federal Penitentiary in Atlanta.
The family moved back to Perth Amboy in 1931 and Jack became a member of Boy Scout Troop 6. In 1933 and 1934, he attended the Monmouth Council summer camp at Camp Burton-at-Allaire, Raritan. He also was a paper boy for the Perth Amboy Evening News, and went to Washington D.C. in March 1933 with other newspaper boys, including his brother Bob. He attended Perth Amboy High School, seen at right.
On 5 Oct 1935, the family left for California traveling by car with all of their possessions, camping as they traveled by way of the Southern route. They settled in Wilmar (now Rosemead) at 2912 South Stevens Street. Jack attended Alhambra High School, graduating 18 Jun 1936.
On 28 Oct 1938, Jack set out on a cross-country trip from Wilmar, California, to Perth Amboy, New Jersey. He traveled from California, through Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama, to Florida, arriving in Jacksonville on 8 Nov 1938, after 2714 miles. He then traveled up the eastern coast, through Georgia, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, Pennsylvania, to New Jersey, arriving in Perth Amboy on 12 Nov 1938. Jack had a good sense of humor. On a postcard showing the jail in Juarez, Mexico, he writes "Just a line to let you know that I have skipped the country & am in Mexico this sunny Sunday morn." He traveled a total of 3,874 miles, visiting 188 towns. A telegram to his parents early on 12 Nov 1938 says: =DEAR FAMILY, ARRIVED 5:00 AM. FEELING FINE. MISSED YOU. HITCHHIKING HARD. MADE FOUR THOUSAND MILES. PLEASE SEND MONEY ORDER. HOPE DAD BETTER. WILL WRITE. LOVE=JACK.
In the 1940 U.S. census, Jack was living with his family at 2912 Stevens Avenue, Wilmar. He was 20 years ols, and working as an apprentice for a brick mason. He had 4 years of high school, and had earned $320. in 1939. Jack became employed by Lockeed Aircraft Company. He trained or prepared for the Army Air Force with the assistance of the Cadet Selection Committee of the Sunshine Valley Post VFW. He enlisted in the Army Air Forces on 28 Aug 1942. He was described as 5'7", weighing 137 lbs. He spent five weeks with the ground division of the Air Force in Utah, before transfering to Santa Ana, California, for pilot training. He was the first soldier to visit Alhambra's USO in November 1942.
Jack's long-time girlfriend was Bea Burley. At left, they are seen having dinner at the Hotel Claremont in Berkley, California, on 13 Jun 1944. They made at least one trip to Lake Tahoe. Jack also traveled to Badger Pass in Yosemite National Park, California, to ski with friends Bob Studer and Dough Bogh. Jack is seen at right in the ski fashion and equipment of the day.
In October 1942, Jack was stationed at Mather Field, Sacramento, California. Here he took out a $10,000 life insurance policy, and wrote his Last Will and Testament, giving the proceeds of the policy equally to his parents. In March 1943, Jack completed a course of flight training at Cal-Aero Flight Academy, Ontario, California. He is seen at right with "Whitney, my Instructor, Bill, me". He was commissioned in September 1943 at Williams Field, Chandler, Arizona. He spent some time at Morris Field in North Carolina, where he sold his car to a John F. Shannon, who later wrote to Jack's parents. He was sent overseas on June 23, 1944. The photograph on the left shows Bea Burely with Jack on the day before he left.
Jack was stationed in the East Indies. In February 1945 he took a month's leave in Sydney, Australia. He wrote of the photograph at right, "What a droopy jerk behind that wheel! This is the little Morris 10 which I drove all during this leave."
Jack flew an A-20 Havoc bomber. He was in the 417th Bombardment Group, which was assigned to the Fifth Air Force. It had begun combat in Mar 1944, operating in support of ground forces on New Guinea, and striking airfields, bridges, personnel concentrations, installations, and shipping. The 417th Bombardment Group operated from Noemfoor from September to December 1944, attacking airfields and installations on Ceram, Halmahera, and western New Guinea. The Group moved on to San Jose, Mindoro in the Phillipines in Dec 1944 at the end of the New Guinea campaign. His squadron provided the overwhelming air power that kept loss of life at a minimum during the invasion. Jack participated in the invasion of Luzon in the Philippines. According to one of his friends, he had just been promoted to 2nd Lieutenant, and had flown 37 missions before his crash.
Jack had been promoted to flight commander and received the Air Medal just shortly before his death. The telegram with the notification of Jack's death arrived at the home of his parents the same day as the letter announcing the award of the Air Medal.
The letter of condolence from his commanding officer, William T. Douthwaite, Jr., Captain, Air Corps, stated:
"John was laid to rest in the Armed Forces Cemetery at San Jose, Mindoro Island, Philippines, by the officers and enlisted men of the squadron, with full military honors, on 13 March 1945."
Jack was held in high regard by all those he met, as is shown by the letters written to his parents after his death.
On 22 Sep 1948, the remains of 3536 World War II veterans who lost their lives in the Pacific Theater were returned to the United States aboard the United States Transport Sgt. Morris E. Crain. Six, including Jack, were returned to Alhambra. They had originally been interred in temporary cemeteries in San Jose, Manila and Saipan.
Funeral services for Jack were held at the Little Stone Chapel of Turner, Stevens & Turner in Alhambra, pictured at right. Rev. James F. Nelson, former pastor of Garvalia Community Church officiated. Ernest Burley, the father of his girlfriend Bea, was the soloist. He was reburied at Rose Hills Memorial Park, Parkview Lawn, in Whittier, California.
|Time of Birth}||Time of Death}||Fraternal/Social}Boy Scouts|
|Confirm. Date}||Photos} Jack in 1945|
|Immigr'n Date} N/A||Port} N/A|
|Education: Grade} High School or Top 2 Degrees} Trade School|
|Military: Service}Army Air Force for the State of} United States|
Cause of Death} Airplane crash
|Copyright © 2008 - 2014 by Karen L. Hancock. All Rights Reserved.|
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