Curtis Daniel Miller

United States Air Force
07 June 1946 - 17 July 1979
Palacios, Texas
Panel 02W Line 122



USAF Pilot

Purple Heart, Air Medal, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Curtis Daniel Miller

Curtis Miller Receives AF Commission
The Daily Tribune Bay City, Matagorda County, Texas June 14, 1968

Curtis Daniel Miller, son of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Miller of Palacios, was commissioned a second lieutenant in the United States Air Force Saturday at Texas Technological College in Lubbock.

The principal address was given by Brig. Gen Dudley L. Faver, USAF, Deputy Director, Personnel Planning, Department of Defense.

The oath of office was given by Maj. Don E. Brown, Assistant Professor of Military Science, commandant of cadets. Three of the 17 members of the Air Force Reserve officers Training Corps were commissioned as pilots, Dan Miller being one of these to receive his second lieutenant commission as a pilot.

At present, Miller is home visiting his parents in Palacios and parents of his wife, Susan, in Corpus Christi, while awaiting appointment to active duty some time in July.

Miller received his Bachelor of Business Administration degree in advertising from Texas Tech June 1.

He is a 1964 graduate of Palacios High School. While a student at Texas Tech, he was an active member of Sigma Chi fraternity and the Air Force ROTC for four years, training as a pilot.

His brother, Kent, received his high school diploma from Palacios High School the same date, June 1 .

Special Week Proclaimed For a Palacios MIA
The Daily Tribune Bay City, Matagorda County, Texas December 13, 1972

Since the beginning of American involvement in southeast Asia, there has been no complete accounting of U.S. prisoners of war and missing in action.

The lack of information on the fate of these men has prompted a proclamation by the City Council in Palacios, proclaiming Captain Curtis D. Miller Week.

Miller, son of Mr. & Mrs. Paul Miller of Palacios, and husband of Mrs. Susan Miller, also of Palacios, was the pilot of an Air Force AC-130 that was shot down over Laos on March 29, 1972.

Neither Miller nor the 14 men aboard have been heard from since.

Because of the lack of information about POW's and MIA's, held in North Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, a letter writing campaign has been instituted as part of Capt. Curtis Miller Week, December 7-13.

The Millers' statement reads, in part, "It is our hope that through a massive letter writing campaign, the government of Laos will yield to public opinion, ... it takes 21 cents to mail a letter to Laos, we ask that you inquire about the fate of Capt. Curtis D. Miller, No. 466-72-5405, and express your concern for all the prisoners and MIA's."

The address for Laos is: Prince Souphanouvong Deputy Prime Minister Chairman of the Lao Patriotic Front San Neua, Laos

You may use your own return address, or his wife's.

M.I.A. Awareness Day is Sunday:
To Remember Servicemen Lost in S.E. Asia
The Daily Tribune June 1, 1973 Bay City, Matagorda County, Texas

On Sunday, June 3 there will be a gathering on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C . at 2 p.m. for a special ceremony entitled M.I.A. Awareness Day.

Locally, a similar observance is slated with church bells and fire sirens sounding the reminder of the missing men in Southeast Asia.

Captain Curtis Dan Miller, son of Mr. and Mrs. Paul Miller of Palacios, has been missing in Laos since March 29, 1972. Through repeated attempts, the Laos officials have reportedly given no accounts of the men in captivity, or of the ones who have been killed there.

In an effort to show concern over the missing persons two addresses are available for the public to write inquiring of the men's whereabouts.

A letter requesting information concerning Captain Miller and others missing in action may be written and sent to Laos.

Palcios Man in MIA Group Son Missing Since March
The Daily Tribune October 9, 1973 Bay City, Matagorda County, Texas

LOS ANGELES (AP)--Despite admonitions from the U.S. State Department, 53 relatives of American servicemen declared missing in Southeast Asia have embarked on a trip they hope will focus international attention on their plight.

The group left Monday by plane en route to Bangkok, Thailand, where they plan to arrange for a trip to Vientiane, capital of Laos. The State Department had advised them not to go.

"We feel like we're drowning in the confusion and coverup we're getting from the government," asserted Paul Miller of Palacios, Tex. His son Capt. Curtis D. Miller has been missing since March 29.

About 1,250 American servicemen are listed by the Pentagon as missing in Southeast Asia. The status of more than 100 MIAs has been changed to dead since American prisoners of war held in Vietnam and Cambodia were released early this year.

Members of the group, fathers, mothers, wives, brothers and sisters of MIAs are from 20 states.

Palacios Rite Planned
The Daily Tribune October 10, 1973 Bay City, Matagorda County, Texas

A "Freedom Tree" will be planted on the grounds of the Palacios Senior High School on October 19 at 3 p.m.

The tree will be dedicated to Capt. Curtis Dan Miller, a Palacios native who has been missing in action since March 29, 1972.

Miller's father, Paul Miller, presently is among 52 relatives of missing men who plan to have a vigil this week in the Laotian captial of Vientiane to demand information about Americans missing or held prisoner by the Pathet Lao communists.

They left Los Angeles Monday for Laos.

"It seems that the American people think that when the POW's returned it was all of the men," said Mrs. Paul Miller.

"People have lost interest in the issue of our MIAs. We still have over 1,300 men who are unaccounted for in Southeast Asia."

"We have to find out about our loved ones. We believe our government has the responsibility to account for all of these men," she said.

She said the group of 52 will stay in Vientiane until about Oct. 20 to pressure the Pathet Lao into accounting for the 308 American men believed missing in Laos.

Capt. Miller, a pilot of an AC-130 four-engine computerized gunship, was shot down during a predawn mission. The plane was hit by a surface-to-air missile.

None of the 14 crewmen aboard has been heard from since.

The Laotian governent on Sept. 14 signed an agreement with the Pathet Lao under which the communists agreed to account for all prisoners and persons who died in captivity.

The agreement calls for the information to be delivered within 30 days and all prisoners released within 60 days.

Capt. Miller has a wife, Susan, and a daughter, Christy, 4, both of Corpus Christi.

Speaker at the Oct. 10 planting and dedication of the "Freedom Tree" will be State Rep. Tom Uher of Bay City.

1,300 GIs Still Unaccounted For
by Tom Jones The Daily Tribune July 24, 1974

People, being the unusual species that they are, have a tendency to forget.

For instance, by now, to most people the Vietnam War is nothing more than a bad memory.

To most people that is.

But to some people, like Mr. and Mrs. Paul Miller of Palacios, the Vietnam War is a living nightmare.

They are among the 1,300 families in the United States who lost a loved one in that conflict. Some of these missing American servicemen have been gone as long as 10 years without a trace.

The Miller's nightmare began in March of 1972 when their son, Capt. Curtis Dan Miller, was reported missing after his bomber was shot down over Laos.

Since then, not a word.

Even though the Millers have sent numerous letters and telegrams and Mr. Miller made a futile trip to Laos, the only reception has been one of stoney silence.

When the Paris Peace Agreement was signed more than a year ago, North Vietnam and the Viet Cong agreed to help account for these missing men.

This has not been done. A total of 1,300 families do not know what happened to their men.

To rekindle public interest, a nationwide campaign has been launched to help these families get an accounting of their men.

Concerned Americans across the United States are sending a few grains of American soil to Hanoi to show that people care, and want these men accounted for.

The envelope of soil should be addressed to: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, DRV, Hanoi, North Vietnam .

The campaign is being operated under the title of "We Think It's Important."

15 May 2005

I wore a bracelet with this man's name on it for years not knowing who he was, what he did, or what he looked like. The bracelet finally broke and disappeared, but it's good to see that his memory has not. I didn't lose him, but I've always wondered who he was. Thanks for filling the void.

From Texas,
E-mail address is not available.

27 Mar 2006

I have a bracelet with his name. I have had it since college and pull it out once or twice a year and wear it for a few months, then put it away. I moved cross country a few times and this was always worn during the move so it would not get lost. Eerily I always pull it out early March, not even realizing the month. I saw his name once in a book but this makes me feel like he was a distant relative. Very nice to see a picture.

Lisa Kezios
E-mail address is not available.

25 Apr 2007

I have worn Capt Miller's POW/MIA bracelet since the early 80s. I never take it off. My father was a KIA and my uncle a POW in Vietnam. I knew he was a fellow Texan and that he was lost over Laos. I was happy to see additional info on the Captain as he has been with me 25 years. I was at the Wall in 2003 when some people were giving their bracelets to my uncle (though he was released in 1972) and I thought about my giving my bracelet to Captain Miller's family one day. I hope to see that his remains are confirmed and returned one day. Until then, I will remain with himn on my right arm. Bless our best and heroic under-appreciated servicemen.

M. K. M.
San Antonio, Texas
E-mail address is not available.

Notes from The Virtual Wall

On the night of March 29, 1972, an AC-130A Hercules "Spectre" gunship (tail number 55-0044) of the 16th Special Operations Squadron departed Ubon Airfield, Thailand, on a night reconnaissance mission over supply routes used by North Vietnamese forces in Laos. The AC-130 was accompanied by a section of F-4 Phantoms.

At approximately 0300, while attacking a convoy approximately 56 miles east of Savannakhet in southern Laos, the AC-130 was hit by a Surface to Air Missile (SAM). A few seconds later the AC-130A impacted the ground on the east side of a jungle covered mountain and was consumed by secondary explosions. As one of the F-4D escorts flew low over the burning wreckage, he was unable see any sign of survivors. However, several minutes later emergency beeper signals were heard by the F-4D escorts and another AC-130A gunship operating nearby ("Spectre 10") and his escorts. No voice contact was established with any of the downed aircrew.

At 0350 hours, a "Nail" Forward Air Controller (FAC) arrived on station to cover the crash site area and control the search and rescue (SAR) efforts that were immediately initiated. He did not hear emergency beepers, nor was he able to locate any signs of survivors. SAR efforts were terminated at 1830 hours on 30 March 1972 when no trace of the downed crew was found. All 14 crewmen were listed Missing in Action:

  • Major Irving B Ramsower, pilot and aircraft commander;
  • Captain Curtis D Miller, copilot;
  • 1st Lt Charles J Wanzel, copilot;
  • Major Henry P. Brauner, navigator;
  • Major Howard D Stephenson, electronic warfare officer;
  • Captain Richard Castillo, infrared sensor operator;
  • Captain Richard C Halpin, low light TV senior operator;
  • Captain Barclay B Young, fire control officer;
  • Staff Sgt James K Caniford, illuminator operator;
  • Staff Sgt Merlyn L Paulson, flight engineer;
  • Staff Sgt Edwin J Pearce, aerial gunner;
  • Staff Sgt Edward D Smith, aerial gunner;
  • Airman 1c Robert E Simmons, aerial gunner; and
  • Airman 1c William A Todd, aerial gunner.
The U.S. and Laos excavated this aircraft's crash site in February 1986. The teams recovered a limited number of human bone fragments, personal effects, and large pieces of plane wreckage. It was later announced by the U.S. Government that the remains of Castillo, Halpin, Ramsower, Simmons, Todd, Paulson, Pearce, Wanzel and Smith had been positively identified from these bone fragments.

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 21 Nov 2001
Last updated 08/10/2009