Miller, Alton Glenn, Maj

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Last Rank
Last Primary AFSC/MOS
M 5000-Special Services Officer
Last AFSC Group
Primary Unit
1944-1944, M 5000, Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHAEF)
Service Years
1942 - 1944

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by Dennis Spragg-Family to remember Miller, Alton Glenn, Maj.

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Contact Info
Home Town
Fort Morgan, CO
Last Address
RAF Twinwood Farm

Date of Passing
Dec 15, 1944
Location of Interment
Not Specified
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Not Specified

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 Unit Assignments
USAAF SchoolsUS Army Air Force BandSupreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHAEF)
  1942-1942, Southeast Training Center (USAAF)
  1943-1944, M 5000, US Army Air Force Band/418th Army Air Force Band
  1944-1944, M 5000, US Army Air Force Band
  1944-1944, M 5000, Supreme Headquarters of the Allied Expeditionary Forces (SHAEF)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1942-1944 World War II
 Colleges Attended 
University of Colorado
  1923-1924, University of Colorado
 My Aircraft/Missiles
B-17 Flying Fortress  B-24 Liberator  C-47 Skytrain/Dakota  UC-64 Norseman  
  1942-1944, B-17 Flying Fortress
  1942-1944, B-24 Liberator1
  1942-1944, C-47 Skytrain/Dakota
  1944-1944, UC-64 Norseman3
 Other News, Events and Photographs
  American Band of the Allied Expeditionary Force Photos43
  Army Air Force Band photos5
  Misc Photos28
  Aug 18, 1944, Unique Photo Op After Attlebridge Concert2
  Sep 16, 1944, Abbey Road Recording Session with Dinah Shore9
  Dec 24, 1944, Major Glenn Miller Is Missing On Flight From England To Paris1
 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

On December 15, 1944, Miller was to fly from the United Kingdom to Paris, France, to play for the soldiers who had recently liberated Paris. His plane (a single-engined UC-64 Norseman, USAAF serial 44-70285) departed from RAF Twinwood Farm in Clapham, Bedfordshire and disappeared while flying over the English Channel. No trace of the aircrew, passengers or plane has ever been found. Miller's status is missing in action.

There are three main theories about what happened to Miller's plane, including the suggestion that he might have been hit by Royal Air Force bombs after an abortive raid on Siegen, Germany. One hundred and thirty-eight Lancaster bombers, short on fuel, jettisoned approximately 100,000 incendiaries in a designated area before landing. The logbooks of Royal Air Force navigator Fred Shaw recorded that he saw a small, single-engined monoplane spiraling out of control and crashing into the water. However, a second source, while acknowledging the possibility, cites other RAF crew members flying the same mission who stated that the drop area was in the North Sea.

In a book published in 2006, Clarence B. Wolfe, a gunner with Battery D, 134th AAA Battalion, in Folkestone, England, claims that his battery shot down Miller's plane. However, Wolfe's account has been disputed.

Another book by Lt. Col. Huton Downs, a former member of Dwight D. Eisenhower's personal staff, argues that the U.S. government covered up Miller's death. Downs suggested that Miller, who spoke German, had been enlisted by Eisenhower to covertly attempt to convince some German officers to end the war early. The book goes on to suggest that Miller was captured and killed in a Paris brothel, and his death covered up to save the government embarrassment. However the Publishers' Weekly review talks of "breathlessly written suppositions".

When Glenn Miller went missing, he left behind his wife, the former Helen Burger, originally from Boulder, Colorado, and the two children they adopted in 1943 and 1944, Steven and Jonnie. Helen Miller accepted the Bronze Star medal for Glenn Miller in February 1945.

Other Comments:

In 1942, at the peak of his civilian career, Miller decided to join the war effort. At 38, Miller was too old to be drafted, and first volunteered for the Navy but was told that they did not need his services. Miller then wrote to Army Brigadier General Charles Young. He persuaded the United States Army to accept him so he could, in his own words, "be placed in charge of a modernized Army band." After being accepted into the Army, Glenn's civilian band played their last concert in Passaic, New Jersey on September 27, 1942.

At first placed in the United States Army, Glenn Miller was transferred to the Army Air Force.

Captain Glenn Miller served initially as assistant special services officer for the Army Air Forces Southeast Training Center at Maxwell Field, Montgomery, Alabama, in December 1942. He played trombone with the Rhythmaires, a 15-piece dance band, in both Montgomery and in service clubs and recreation halls on Maxwell. Miller also appeared on both WAPI (Birmingham, Alabama) and WSFA radio (Montgomery), promoting the activities of civil service women aircraft mechanics employed at Maxwell.

Miller initially formed a large marching band that was to be the core of a network of service orchestras. Miller's attempts at modernizing military music were met with some resistance from tradition-minded career officers. For example, Miller's arrangement of "St. Louis Blues March," which combined blues and jazz with the traditional military march. Miller's weekly radio broadcast "I Sustain the Wings" moved from New Haven to New York City and was very popular. This led to permission for Miller to form his 50-piece Army Air Force Band and take it to England in the summer of 1944, where he gave 800 performances. While in England, now Major Miller recorded a series of records at HMV (now EMI) owned Abbey Road Studios. HMV at this time was the British and sometime European distributor for the American record company that handled and originated Glenn Miller's recordings, RCA Victor. The recordings the AAF band made in 1944 at Abbey Road were propaganda broadcasts for the Office of War Information. Many songs are sung in German by Johnny Desmond and Glenn Miller speaks in German about the war effort. Also, the Miller-led AAF Orchestra recorded songs with the American singer Dinah Shore. These were done at the Abbey Road studios and were the last recorded songs made by the band while being led by Miller. They were stored with HMV/EMI for fifty years, never being released until their copyright expired in Europe in 1994. In summarizing Miller's military career, General Jimmy Doolittle said, "next to a letter from home, that organization was the greatest morale builder in the European Theater of Operations."

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