Chuck Miller

Former Paso Robles City Liaison, Former Board Member of Estrella Warbirds Museum

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Chuck Miller

Chuck was born June 15, 1930 to Albert Clark Miller and his wife Josephine Powell Miller in a logging camp near Corvallis, Oregon. By 1934, Chuck’s father was a single parent struggling to hold his family of 6 children together. In 1944 Chuck’s father passed away. In June of 1946 the two youngest boys and a friend went into Salem, Oregon to an Army Air Corp recruiter and enlisted. Chuck had just turned 16, and his younger brother George was 14, and the friend was 15. Their Mother-in-law was quite happy to sign the paperwork for the recruiter to say they were all 18! Both boys wanted to be aircraft mechanics, but George was sent to Biloxi, Mississippi for Aircraft Maintenance School and Chuck was sent to Geiger Field in Spokane, Washington for Crane & Shovel School. Upon the completion of his course Chuck was sent to Guam.

Chuck Miller

Chuck Miller

Chuck was working on a project using a crane to move WW II aircraft into a pile for demolition when a General came by and started asking Chuck questions about his job. Chuck says he doesn’t remember what was said, but he found himself promoted to Buck Sergeant 10 days after he turned 17. At that point Chuck had been in the US Army Air Corps nine months!

After his first hitch ended in 1949, Chuck went back to Oregon to complete high school. The Korean War broke out and Chuck re-enlisted in the 11th Airborne Division where he became the Heavy Equipment Platoon Sergeant. Again after serving his three-year hitch, he went back to civilian life for 87 days and then decided the Army was where he really wanted to be. After being assigned back to the 11th Airborne Division, Chuck corrected his date of birth and applied for Officer’s Candidate School, where he was accepted immediately.

Chuck was sent to Artillery and Guided Missile School at Fort Sill, Oklahoma for OCS, where he graduated near the top of his class. He was allowed to transfer from Artillery to the Corps of Engineers, at Fort Belvoir, VA., where he completed the Engineer Officers Basic Course. After a short assignment as Motor Officer, he was selected to go to the Army Aviation Flight School in San Marcos, Texas. Upon completion of the basic course Chuck went to Fort Rucker, Alabama for advanced flight training and graduated in 1957. Assigned to the 82nd Airborne as a pilot, Chuck went back to Fort Rucker to attend helicopter school.

During the next five years Chuck spent a year in Iran with the 30th Topographical Survey Battalion; was a Battalion Commander at Fort Belvoir; spent three years covering 63 different countries, including all of Africa, the Middle East to Burma and southern Europe, as a pilot for the Mediterranean Engineer Division, as well as being the Area Engineer responsible for all military construction in Northern Italy.

In 1966 through 1967, Chuck was assigned to the 1st of the 9th Air Calvary Squadron in Vietnam where he flew H-13 helicopters and was the Calvary Troop Commander at An Khe. Following this assignment Chuck was transferred to Saigon where he built an airfield for the 214th Assault Helicopter Bn. at Bear Cat, Vietnam.

After completing his tour, Chuck was promoted to Lt. Col. and assigned to Presidio, San Francisco as the US Army Senior Engineer Advisor to the California National Guard. In 1970, Chuck was sent back to Vietnam where he was an Airfield Commander at Dong Tam and later at Marble Mountain Airfield, Danang.

Chuck retired in 1972 after 24 years in the US Army and had accumulated over 8000 hours in flying time with 2000 hours in helicopters and the balance in fixed wing aircraft. Some of his awards and decorations include Distinguished Flying Cross; Bronze Star with 2 oak leaf clusters; Meritorious Service Medal with 1 oak leaf cluster; Air Medal with 10 oak leaf clusters; Army Commendation Medal; Good Conduct Medal with 2 knots; Asiatic Pacific Campaign Medal; World War II Victory Medal; World War II Occupation Medal; National Defense Service Medal; Vietnam Service Medal with 4 Battle Stars; Armed Forces Reserve Medal with oak leaf cluster; Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal; Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm Medal; Vietnam Civil Action Honor Medal; Valorous Unit Award; and Meritorious Unit Award. Chuck also earned a Master Aviator Badge and Senior Parachutist Badge.

Following his military retirement, Chuck earned his Airline Transport Pilot rating and flew for a period with a commuter airline. The City of Paso Robles hired Chuck in 1973 as their first Airport Manager. He was instrumental in getting the airport property subdivided into commercial parcels for aviation-related business leases and under his leadership the airport generated a substantial income for the City and allowed it to become an enterprise fund. Chuck started producing air shows for the city in September of 1973, eventually growing to a show with over 27,000 attendees and featuring acts like the US Navy Blue Angels and the USAF Thunderbirds.

Chuck retired from the City in 1985 and became involved in building high-end homes in the Camarillo area. Chuck has been involved in the Estrella Warbird Museum since 1997 and was President from 2003 to 2005. Chuck served on the City of Paso Robles Citizens Airport Advisory Board for 10 years.

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