MillerEC

 

2nd Lt. Edwin Cornelius Miller


    2nd Lt. Edwin C. Miller was born on March 26, 1917, to Curtis E. Miller & Mable M. Nelson-Miller in Cheney, Washington.  With his sister and four brothers, he grew up on South Willamette Street, Blanton, Oregon.  On March 4, 1939, he married Lora Miller.  Edwin became the father of two children a son and daughter. His son died as an infant.  He graduated from the University of Oregon and worked as Student Housing Supervisor at the university.

    Edwin was inducted into the U.S. Army in 1941.  At some point, he was assigned to the 194th Tank Battalion.  In September 1941, the battalion, minus B Company, was ordered to San Francisco for overseas duty.  Taking a train to San Francisco, they were ferried to Angel Island and Fort McDowell.  On the island, they were given physicals and inoculated.  Men who had medical conditions were held back and replaced. 

    On September 8, 1941, at 9:00 P.M., they sailed for the Philippine Islands from San Francisco, California, on the Calvin Coolidge.  The ship arrived in Honolulu, Hawaii, at 7:00 A.M. on Saturday, September 13th.  Later that day, the ship sailed again for the Philippine Islands.  On Friday, September 26th, the 194th arrived in the Philippines.

    After arriving at Manila, the members of the battalion were taken to Ft. Stotensburg by bus.  Arriving there, the battalion was housed in tents.  Gen. Edward King greeted the battalion when they arrived, and he apologized that they did not have barracks for them. 

    The battalion spent the next weeks removing the Cosmo line from their tanks.  They also made a trail run to Lingayen Gulf simulating an invasion force landing there. 

    The morning of December 8th, the tankers received orders to positions around the north end of Clark Airfield.  As they sat in their tanks, they watched as American planes filled the sky.  At noon, the planes landed and the pilots went to lunch. 

    While the tankers were having lunch, they saw planes approaching the airfield from the north.  They had enough time to count 54 planes in the formation.  At first, they thought that the planes were American.  It was only when bombs began exploding on the runways that the tankers knew the planes were Japanese. 

    For the next four months, the tanks fought to slow Japan’s conquest of the Philippines.  It was during this time, the Edwin was reported as transferring to the Army Air Corps which was fighting as infantry.  This may have been the reason for the transfer.

   On April 9, 1942, Edwin became a Prisoner of War and took part in the death march from Mariveles.  On the march, the POWs made their way to San Fernando.  There, they boarded small wooden box cars used to haul sugarcane.  Each car could hold forty men or eight horses.  The Japanese put 100 men into each car.  Those who died remained standing until the living left the cars at Capas.  When the living left the cars, the dead fell to the floors.  The POWs made their way to Camp O’Donnell.    Camp O’Donnell was an unfinished Filipino Army training base that the Japanese pressed into use as a POW camp.  There was one water spigot for the entire camp, and men literally died for a drink of water.  The death rate in the camp climbed to as many as 50 POWs a day.  The number of deaths got so bad that even the Japanese realized that they had to do something to lower the number of deaths.

    In June, a new POW camp was opened at Cabanatuan.  Being one of the healthier POWs Edwin was sent to the camp.  It is not known what duties he performed there of if he went out on any work details.   What is known is that Edwin came down with malaria.  Since the doctors had no medicine, there was little they could do for him.

    2nd Lt. Edwin Miller died from malaria on September 22, 1942, at Cabanatuan POW Camp.  He was buried in the camp cemetery.  After the war, his remains were reburied at the new American Military Cemetery at Manila in Plot L, Row 2, Grave 13.


 

 

 

 

 

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