Some information contributed by Carolyn Shelton
Born July 14, 1925, Robert 'Bob' Miller celebrated his 97th birthday July 14, 2022. Miller, a World War II Veteran and Gaston, Indiana, native, said he enlisted in the United States armed forces in 1943, when he was 17 years old.
As a part of his training, Miller said he went to radio and gunnery school, traveling from location to location across the United States. After training, Miller said he served in the United States Navy in an aircraft squadron where he was a second-class petty officer.
As a part of the squadron, Miller said he served mainly across the Pacific Ocean, in many of the United States Pacific Islands near Asiam including Tinean, Saipan, Midway Atoll, Wake Island and Enewetak Atoll.
In this aircraft squadron, Miller said he served in one of 15 patrol bomber planes (PBY52s) as a gunner and sat in his plane's turret during bombing missions. During these missions, Miller said when he saw enemy planes coming, he would run to the plane's radio, send a notification back to base and return to his turret to attack.
These missions were daily for Miller and his squadron and afterward, they would return to whatever island they were stationed on, only to go right back in the air the next day for another mission. It was during the time spent on the ground that Miller and the rest of the squadron were able to bond, and Miller said he kept a journal, detailing the action from earlier that day.
Near the end of his time overseas, Miller said he and his squadron traveled to Iwo Jima, an island in Japan, where the United States Marines raised the United States flag as a symbol of victory, following the Battle of Iwo Jima in 1945. That same year, Miller returned to United States mainland and was honorably discharged from the United States Navy.
As a result of the Servicemen's Readjustment Act of 1944, or the G.I. Bill, Miller attended Ball State University after his discharge, where afterward he worked at Warner Gear/BorgWarner, a company that manufactured automotive parts until its closing in 2009, for 25 years.
Ahead of his 97th birthday, Miller said he is proud to have worn his uniform as part of the United States Navy proud to have served the United States.