Robert Charles MillerMajor
DET 1, 56TH SPECIAL OPS WING, 7TH AF
United States Air Force
17 August 1929 - 28 August 1968
Panel 46W Line 051
The database page for Robert Charles Miller
My Dad was a brilliant man. He went by RC and had the Royal Crown Cola emblem on a yellow and white leather hat he wore. Actually some of his fellow pilots got him the hat one year for his birthday. My father was in Vientienne, Laos (unofficially) beginning May 1968. He was officially based at Udorn, Thailand. While in Laos he flew the T-28D. His plane went down shortly after take off from Vientienne and crashed in the Mekong River on August 28, 1968. If there is anyone who was there and remembers him, I would really appreciate hearing from you. We have very little information about what actually happened and what he was doing there. I was told recently that only "Air America" men were there and that he would have had to have retired from or gotten out of the Air Force, but he did not. He had been in the Air Force for 20 years and was active duty. He is listed as "KIA-BNR". I'm sure I don't have to tell anyone how helpful or how appreciated any information you can provide would be.
From his daughter,
A Note from The Virtual WallThe 1962 Geneva agreements regarding Southeast Asia established Laos as a neutral country and prohibited outside nations from stationing military forces within Laos. Although the North Vietnamese ignored Laotian neutrality, the United States felt constrained to publicly observe the Geneva agreements - yet also saw the necessity of military assistance to the Laotian government. The two conflicting requirements - the Geneva agreements and the need for military support - led directly to the so-called "secret war" in Laos.
Since this work could not be done openly, a work-around was found: active duty US military personnel would be "sheep-dipped" - given false assignments, "separated" from active duty, or in other ways turned into "civilians" whose presence in Laos could be plausibly explained. From the very beginning, a large part of the "secret war" involved US Air Force personnel engaged in training the Royal Laotian Air Force and flying combat missions from a number of airstrips within Laos.
Both Major Robert C. Miller (pilot) and TSgt Elbert A. Phillips (medic) were officially assigned to Det 1, 56th SOW. Major Miller's exact assignment isn't known, but it seems likely he usually flew within Laos. TSgt Phillips was assigned to Site 8, an operating location for the T-28D "Waterpump" operation.
On 28 Aug 1968, Major Miller and TSgt Phillips left Vientiene, Laos, in a T-28D, probably a Royal Laotian Air Force aircraft. Both men were killed when their aircraft went down in the Mekong River; their bodies were not recovered.
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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 28 May 2004
Last updated 08/10/2009