From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Charles Miller '44

Date of birth: August 19, 1921

Date of death: July 26, 1943

Age: 21

Lucky Bag

From the 1944 Lucky Bag:


Charles was lost on July 26, 1943, when the plane he was aboard crashed near NAS Daytona Beach, Florida, during "routine dive bombing practice." (Information from September 1946 issue of Shipmate.)

Donald Engen was an officer with Scout Bombing Squadron (VSB) 32 in flight training; from his memoirs:

In mid-July the U.S. Naval Academy class of 1944 came to Daytona Beach for aviation indoctrination, and in the process we lost two airplanes, two pilots, and two Naval Academy graduates when the SBDs they rode in dove into the water, just missing the target boat. An astute accident board investigation found that in both cases the new officers riding int he backseat had installed the removable control stick, most probably earlier in the fight when the pilots offered them an opportunity to fly the SBD in level flight. Later, when the pilots entered their vertical dives, the passengers rotated their seats 180 degrees to ride backwards for the thrill of the vertical dive and did not remove the aft stick. As the pilots tried to pull out of the dive, the passengers' control sticks hit the metal back of the aft seats, preventing the pilots from pulling out, and the airplanes dove straight into Lake George.

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Wilmer Illsley, Jr. '44 was lost only a few days before in the same type of accident, during the same aviation familiarization period and with the same squadron.

Class of 1944

Charles is one of 66 members of the Class of 1944 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of the alumni in Memorial Hall.