George R. Miller

Inducted 2020

George R. Miller

Captain George R. Miller was born 22 June 1921 in Kenefic, Oklahoma, 13 miles north of Durant. He was a good athlete and played basketball at Kenefic High School and graduated in the 9-member class of 1938. He attended college at Southwestern Oklahoma College and in December 1938 he enlisted as a Private in the Oklahoma National Guard assigned to E Company, 180th Infantry, 45th Division. When the 45th was nationalized in 1940, Miller soon advanced to Sergeant and in 1942 was selected for the Officer Candidate Course at the Infantry School, Ft Benning, Georgia. He was commissioned an Infantry 2nd Lieutenant on 27 August 1942.

In September 1943 he volunteered and was qualified for training with the new 5th Ranger Battalion at Camp Forrest, Tennessee. Following initial “commando” training at Camp Forrest the 5th Battalion moved to Fort Pierce, Florida for amphibious assault training. By Christmas 1943, those selected for the 5th Ranger Battalion were ready for embarkation and arrived in England on 18 January 1944 for additional combat preparation in the hills and coastline of Scotland. On 23 March 1944, 1st LT Miller was appointed as the D Company Commander, a position he would hold until the end of the war in Europe.

On D-Day 6 June 1944, the 450-man 5th Ranger Battalion was to follow the 2nd Ranger Battalion to Pointe du Hoc, but the H+30 or 7AM signal was not received, so the 5th Rangers diverted to Omaha Beach and landed at 0745hrs 800 yards east of the planned beach, Dog Green, at Dog White and Dog Red. They avoided the landing scene reenactment noted at the beginning of the movie Saving Private Ryan.

Moments after, BG Dutch Cota talked to the Ranger Battalion Commander and said these historic words: “Rangers, Lead the Way!”… it was 0810, Miller’s 1st Platoon blasted a gap in the beach barbed wire and D Company poured through the gap and up the hill followed by all the 5th Rangers. The first day ended with the beach head expanded and with the Rangers and D Company in position to continue its attacks the following morning. Miller received the Silver Star for that action, the citation read in part: “for gallantry in action while serving with the 5th Ranger Infantry Battalion, V Corps, in action on the coast of France on 6 June 1944.”

Miller and his D Company participated in more battles in France and Germany. Battles in France occurred at Pointe du Hoc, Maisy, Brest, and L’Hopital, east of Metz, where Miller was recommended for his second Silver Star. In February, the 5th Ranger Battalion received a “real Ranger mission” to cross the Saar River at night, infiltrate behind German lines and hold a position, the Irsch – Zerf road, for two days to prevent German reinforcements moving to the west. Two days turned into 9 days, and the 5th Rangers received their second Presidential Unit Citation for World War II, the first being for actions on D-Day, 6 June 1944. Miller and D Company would receive another Unit Citation for their attack against Fort Toulbroch, near Breast on 3 September 1944.

In addition to his Silver Star and three unit and Presidential Unit Citations, Miller also received the 5th Ranger award of the French Croix de Guerre with Silver-Gilt Star, the citation in part read:” this superb shock unit was always in the thick of the fight. It notably distinguished itself on 6 June 1944…”

On 30 July 1945, Miller was appointed Commander of the 5th Ranger Infantry Battalion, certainly not knowing if their next mission would be in the Pacific. Miller returned home in January 1946, continued his military service in the U.S. Army Reserves until 1953. He spent seven years as a driller in Oklahoma, Kansas, and Texas. He started a successful seed processing business in Pecos, Texas. He was an avid outdoor athlete and supporter of youth sports in his community. Miller died on 12 October 1983, age 62, and is buried at Mount Evergreen Cemetery, Pecos, Texas.