On Feb. 25, 1945, he battled an eruption of gasoline in sub-zero temperatures to save his damaged B-24 "Liberator" and its crew. Miller was the flight engineer on the bomber, based in Italy and making runs on targets in Germany and central Europe. On that day their mission was over Linz, Austria.
"We had just dropped the bombs," he said. "The bomb bay doors were still open and we got hit. It broke a fuel pump."
Miller had to work his way along a narrow catwalk in the middle of the belly of the plane, with 25,000 feet between him and the ground. The bomb bay doors were left open to keep gas fumes from building up.
As he pumped as much fuel as he could out of the affected fuel tank, gas showered him from the damaged pump above his head. He tried to staunch the flow with his hand.
"The gasoline was spraying all over," he said. "It ran down my arm and filled my boots. The air temperature was 60 below, and I'm assuming that's what the gas was, too."
He endured it for as long as he could before making his way back into the plane's interior. "It was all my body could stand," he said.
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"TSgt Miller's quick thinking and bravery enabled the entire crew and plane to return safely to the airbase," said the citation, which credited him with "outstanding heroism and selfless devotion to duty."
A recommendation for the medal was written up quickly. But the officer in charge of the matter was seriously injured and flown to a hospital in the states before he could forward the paperwork.
Capt. Miller waited 68 years for his Distinguished Flying Cross, but finally received the recognition and medal he earned that day. Read the rest at the link.
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