Friedberg: This is Alexander Freberg interviewing Carrey Miller today is
Saturday, March 12th, 2022. OK, so we're just going to start with some
00:01:00introductory stuff. So, could you just uh, tell me when you were born and where
you grew up?
Miller: When was I born? I was born in 1941.
Friedberg: And then uh where? Where did you grow up in?
Miller: I grew up uh in essentially Middlesex County, Virginia.
Miller: Uh We were a little while in Newport News, and my first recollections of
uh, uh the shipyard and World War Two were when I was about two years old and uh
living in Newport News. My father worked in the shipyard.
Friedberg: And so, did he, like was the shipyard for the military then?
Miller: The shipyard was working totally for the military. Twenty-four hours a
day around the clock, just one shift after the other, and uh you could stand out
at night and see that this giant moving crane that moved back and forth over the
uh ship that they were building. And, you know, they were working round the
clock, churning out ships. You know, I remember planes going over in uh, you
know, now remember I was I'm telling you about something. It happened when, when
between age two and three, you know, little, tiny kid.
Miller: And look up and see planes and they you'd see four planes come together
in a diamond and four more over a here, come together in a diamond and more and
00:02:00more. And then all four diamonds would pull together for a flight of uh--16 and
off they go.
Friedberg: So uhm how long did you live there for?
Miller: Newport News was only, you know, until I was maybe three years old, no
more than that.
Friedberg: Mm-Hmm. So where did you go after that?
Miller: After that uh, the shipyard, you know, suddenly the war was over. The
shipyard went back to being a civilian shipyard kind of thing.
And uh my father didn't have a job. So, are we packed up and moved to Middlesex
County, Virginia, where he grew up and uh, he uh wound up is his his uh father
00:03:00uh. Deeded him a plot of land very small, just big enough for a house and a
garden and a uh chicken coop in the back, I guess. And uh you know; he took up
the life of a uh Chesapeake Bay waterman.
Miller: And he uh worked with boats and building and all of this, and eventually
he had uh a large uh fishing boat.
Miller: He could he could uh use for fishing, or he could take fishing parties
and charge them three dollars ahead, five dollars whatever it was at the time. I
00:04:00don't know. I don't remember. And uh you know, that's how we lived.
Friedberg: So, growing up. How many siblings did you have?
Miller: Uh I had. Three sisters.
Friedberg: Mm-Hmm. [Silence] So were you the only son then?
Miller: I was only only male in the place. You know, I had three sisters, uh uh
Barbara who you have met, I believe.
Miller: Was the oldest and uh Gail and Dale were born. You know, they were
twins, and they they they were born in May. I can't I can't remember the year
now, but they, you know, I was the only boy. You know.
Friedberg: So, you know, your dad worked for the shipyard. Did anyone else in
your family have like military uh? Did they like serve in the military at all?
Or did anyone in your family did anyone in your family prior to you serving
served in the military?
Miller: You know, our close nuclear family.
Miller: I was the only male
Friedberg: Mm-Hmm. Miller: You know [Laughter] after my father uh, the uhm, you
know, I had an uncle, you know, my uh that had grown up uh in Middlesex County,
00:05:00Virginia, where we were located.
Miller: He was called the war and, but he was called into the Navy.
Miller: And in California. So, he left the East Coast and went all the way to
the West Coast. And the upshot of that was he was on the West Coast when the war
ended, and he married a girl from there. And he never came back. [Laughter]
Friedberg: So then what uhm made your decision to enroll in the Corps of Cadets
at Virginia Tech?
Miller: To do what?
Friedberg: Uh, what made you enroll at the Corps of Cadets at Virginia Tech?
Miller: Well, at that time, if you were male and you wanted to go to Virginia Tech.
Miller: [Cough] You had to be in the Corps of Cadets. It wasn't optional. And
you have to be in the Corps of Cadets. You have a certain number of years and
then you could get out. But The I was a good student.
Miller: And because I was a good student, I won a National Merit Scholarship. I
uh, you know, instead of going down to the bursar's office and paying them a
quarter, I went down to the bursar's office and picked up the extra. [Laughter]
That that that was that they gave me. You know, so. You know, I like Tech at
00:07:00that point, if you were a male and had no liabilities, it would keep you from
serving. You had to be in the Corps of Cadets. You had no choice.
Friedberg: So, when you went, there was what was your plan after graduating?
Miller: What was my plan? After graduating from
Friedberg: yeah, before all of that, that happened,
Miller: OK? Before Virginia Tech, before I went to Virginia Tech?
Friedberg: Yeah. What was your plan?
Miller: What was my plan? My plan was to go to college. That was the plan.
[Cough] And about the, uh you know, I had taken a National Merit exam testing
and all of that.
And I knew that I did well. And I sat down with my high school principal, and he
00:08:00was the advisor. He uh he was the one that kicked it over. I did have a cousin
who's four years older than me, who went to Virginia Tech, and he lobbied for me
to go, but I hadn't decided. I wound up with two choices Virginia Tech or the
University of Virginia. Friedberg: Mm-Hmm.
Miller: And my principal told me that uh I really that he thought I should not
choose University of Virginia because I wouldn't have the money to compete with
in in their social world or this is this. [Laughter] This was getting that
00:09:00conversation that with with my principal, made me decide Virginia Tech.
Friedberg: So, after you were like, what did you plan to do after you would
Miller: After I graduated from tech.
Miller: I I knew that I had an obligation to uh the military because of of ROTC
and I had flight training.
Miller: I could I could fly, uh, all kinds of little Cessna or some, you know,
small two person planes, maybe nothing bigger than that, but I. And so, you
00:10:00know, when I graduated and got my papers telling me to show up [Cough]
Miller: For my military obligation. That turned out to be in my my. My first
assignment was at Fort Sill Oklahoma.
Miller: So, I went out there and worked for probably close to two years in the
Office of uh Artillery and. And well in, you know, in in in artillery operations
00:11:00and uh procedures, you know, and I was uh working in an office. I didn't have to
go out there and they and twiddle the weeds other than my original six weeks uh
into the getting into uh the fire, completely into the military. But it was it
was a nice job.
Miller: It was. It was a nice job and uh I enjoyed it and I had continued to
fly, you know, and had had the still fixed wing aircraft.
Miller: And every day I worked, I'd work writing, working on this literature.
00:12:00That was something that, ah, a recruit was going to use to figure out what it
was supposed to be doing. [Cough] And you know, I'm at that point of pretty uh
low on the totem pole.
Miller: I didn't know that much, but I had to find out if I was going to write
the literature. I had to find the information. So, my routine for, you know,
probably a year and a half, [Cough] maybe two years was to every afternoon after
uh business hours when the office closed, and I'd go to the officer's club.
Friedberg: And what did you do there?
Miller: I found senior officers that were active in the field artillerymen, you
00:13:00know, and pick their brains. Just talk to them, ask them questions. You know,
bought them a drink. Or usually. No, no, no, no, no. Lieutenant. We got more
money than you do. Then they buy the drinks and I. Built up this relationship to
the point that I was able to get the information I needed to write training
schedules, training subject schedules, and that was happy and played golf on the
weekends and just having a great old time. And uh then one day I got a message
00:14:00to report to the. [Silence] To the field hospital and there were five or six of
us that got this same message, you know, and then a van picked us up and took us
to the hospital and the at the hospital. We all got physicals.
Miller: And including eye tests. And there were, I think there were five of us
in the van and when it was all over and we came back, I was the only one that passed.
Friedberg: How did that make you feel?
Miller: Well, it made me wonder what [Laughter]was going on on it. And it you
know just it was an eye test. What is this all about? And. You don't. A couple
weeks later, I found out they uh were uh sending me to flight school. So off I
went to flight school.
Friedberg: And that was in Fort Rucker, Alabama, correct?
Miller: Well, we yeah, uh yeah, we went. We went, we went to Alabama.
Miller: [Cough] And uh. You know, flight school learning to fly helicopters was
fun. [Both chuckle]. Now it didn't start out as fun.
Friedberg: Uh huh.
Miller: Yeah. Know the first time the instructor got in with me and he said, he
says, You know, this does this, and he's got. Of course, the the uh collective
is on side.
Miller: You pull up and you go up, you push down, you go down, you push down
hard, you bounce, and you don't want to bounce a helicopter. But uh we, you
know, he took me out at first, my first flight lesson. [Small Laughter] I'll
never forget it. He went across to the to the side of the heliport, hopped over
a chain-link fence, lifted the helicopter over and back down and set it down.
00:17:00And he proceeded to explain all the controls. The helicopter, you know you got
one here. You can pull up or push down. You can pull up, you go up. If you push
down, you go down. If you push down hard, you may hit the ground or bounce and
and and hurt hurt a plane. But anyway, he showed us, showed all the things that
you do, and you also control sideways. Turn with your feet.
Friedberg: Oh okay
Miller: So after explaining all this, he said, OK, now you try, bring it up to
hover. You know, bring it up about three feet off the ground and keep the nose
pointed at that white church over there.
So I did, and I'm now hovering, you know, three feet, two and a half three feet
00:18:00off the ground. And it starts to. Move forward.
Miller: OK, pull back on the stick, you know, pull back on the stick and move
back home. You know? If you didn't stop pulling back on the stick, it would go
faster and faster, so you know. And then there was the sideways drift.
[Coughing] And by by the time the lesson was at its peak, he is sitting in the
other in the passenger seat, I'm fighting this thing, doing all the things he
told me to do,
Miller: And he's go in and the the helicopter's going sideways, and I pull the
00:19:00collective back over to the right and it come back faster. [All laughing] And on
the other side. And he's sitting over. He's going [singing music and swaying
hands followed by laughing]. No, no. I'll never forget it.
Friedberg: So how long did it take you to learn how to fly? Because it seems
like that, like learning the helicopter was was not very simple or easy.
Miller: Uh Probably, you know, total flight school was about uh, only about
three months. It wasn't hard and it wasn't long to learn fly and to learn to
Miller: As we started to, you know, after I learned how to control the thing.
00:20:00Then the instructor and I unspoken, never mentioned it started playing games
[chuckle] and we'd take off from the from the heliport and we'd go to a field
probably four or five miles away.
Miller: Where you had you could practice landings and takeoffs and smooth your
your style and all of that. [Coughing] And uh he would. He was. He was always
watching. If you if if you if he thought, you were too far away from a safe
00:21:00place to land.
Miller: You know you don't want to land in a tree you would you want you will
bare ground because that propeller will just break to pieces in a tree.
Miller: So, we, we we had a cat and mouse game. I uh We he's telling me to fly
out to this field and he's sitting in the right seat. I've got the controls. And
I learned that he was always looking to see that if he could catch you to teach
Miller: And uh, you know, don't go too far over the trees, you keep that road
pretty much under you. Because uh if you got too far off of that road that you
00:22:00were following out to the to the auxiliary airport, [Cough] he just reach over
and push the collective down and you were in freefall. [Laughter] And then and
then you had to recover, and then you have to listen to him yell at you
[Laughter], What would you do? And explain to you where you were wrong. So. So
we played. So, I play games.
Miller: I look, look, look at the road. Look at the woods, ease on over the
woods deliberately to the point that he pushed the collective down and he pushed
a collective down. I'd do a, you know, just a left turn, right turn and land on
00:23:00the road, [Laughter] you know? So, it was it was. It was always cat and mouse.
Miller: And but, you know, I learned to fly a helicopter and I learned to, you
know, it was part of, you know, I got it and I was part of it, you know, and and
it was, you know, quite frankly. It was fun,
Miller: Yeah, there there there there great machines to fly. And I developed a
pretty good bond with uh this instructor.
Miller: Never forget graduation night.
Miller: Big formal dinner for all the people that all the officers who graduated
in that class [Cough] and I had. At some point learned that uh this this a pilot
00:24:00that was teaching me this, this instructor pilot like the Scotch.
Miller: So, I went to the uh uh liquor store there on the base and I bought a
fifth of a damn nice scotch and wrapped it up and gave it to him the night of
the our graduation dinner. And he looks at it, and he all takes the paper off
the looks, and he says. Thank you. That's nice, Lieutenant. Let's drink it. [Laughter]
Friedberg: So how old were you when you were done with with your flight school? 2
Miller: When I went to flight school,
Friedberg: Yeah, would it have been 1964? Or?
Miller: Actually, I didn't officially graduate from tech until 64.
Miller: You know,
Miller: And then I had spent that year and a half or almost two years at the
Office of uhhh Literature and Training.
Miller: So, uh it was a little bit longer than uh that that. But it was uh, you
00:26:00know, once you got to be a pilot,
Miller: Once you did that, then you uh went on to more training.
Miller: And you know, and and uh finally, you were ready uh to learn to fly. And
I I flew some in uh Alabama over
Miller: Alabama. That was that was nasty work because you were always in a place
where if you went down, you might not find an opening that you could miss a
tree. But uh we did. I did that. And then it wasn't long after that that I got
00:27:00assigned, you know, they completed their all of the training they wanted for me,
[Cough]and I was ordered to Vietnam.
Friedberg: So when you were ordered to Vietnam, uhm what was what was your
thoughts uh about that like and your family's thoughts of when you were ordered
to go there?
Miller: Say again
Friedberg: What was like the thoughts of you and your family when you were sent
Miller: Uhm You know, I really don't remember. Friedberg: Okay
Miller: I mean, I knew that. I knew I was going. I didn't have a choice. And I
went, except for one thing.
Miller: Well, I only. After I got out of flight school, the second second flight
00:28:00school in Alabama.
Miller: I came back home to Middlesex County, Virginia, and then. Couple of days
before Thanksgiving, I got in car. And drove to Massachusetts.
Miller: And we had, you know, thank Thanksgiving dinner, the whole thing that
you see with the family here. And you know, at Nana's, of course.
Miller: And the. Day after Thanksgiving, Bette Lee and I got in the car and we
00:29:00went back to Virginia, Friedberg: Mm-Hmm.
Miller: She went with me, you know, and we had another Thanksgiving dinner at my
grandmother's house. And the next day we went to, uh, I think it was Langley Air
Force Base, one of the military establishments. Well before we did that. We uh
got my sister who was a young minister
Miller: And the three of us and I think one other witness. It was a wedding [Laughter]
Friedberg: So that were that it was right before you went to Vietnam,
Miller: right before we went to Vietnam. My thoughts on the subject was simple.
If I went as a single man. With no family to support,
Miller: what I would get would be where I got there. You know, if I had a wife,
then I would get money for her, so we did pretty well. You know, that worked out well,
Friedberg: Yeah. So, when you first got to Vietnam, what was your first
00:31:00impressions of the country?
Miller: Well. I got, you know, I got the Vietnam, I have no real impression of
uh the city.
Miller: Uh, the. That. Just wasn't an impression, you didn't want anything. The
next day, I was loaded on a [Cough] helicopter and taken north to the company
00:32:00that I was joined in the uh air and then later that day after I got there, I got
a real impression of the the whole thing.
Friedberg: Yeah. What was that?
Miller: Well, he had showed me how to get down quickly. If you were, uh, you
know, if you had engine trouble or and he was like,
Friedberg: Who is he?
Miller: The the the instructor at the, you know, the company instructor or
Miller: Not the not the full-time instructor, but you learned and we laughed
00:33:00about this. We were if if we did take off from our small heliport, we would do a
ah. Circular take off and spiral up. Friedberg: Mm-Hmm.
Miller: And when you are above the range of our sort of small arms fire.
Miller: And I've actually forgotten those altitudes over the years. You know how
high you have where we had to go up to. But you, you know, you did this spiral
of spiral landing or a takeoff to get out of there. And if you came in, you come
00:34:00in high and spiral down.
Friedberg: Hmm. So where exactly where are you stationed?
Miller: We were nominally. Across from Cameron in Cameron Bay near Cameron Bay,
and we were basically on the island on this flat plane with a river that was
come out to the sea and into the South China Sea emptied into the South China
Sea. Uh If you wanted to go to the next town north, you had to go out around the
00:35:00water or else climb to like 14000 feet to get over the mountain.
Friedberg: So, what was your uh assignment while you were over in Vietnam?
Miller: Everything, you never knew what you were going to get. Uh You could. You
know, you could you could uh one day be carrying troops, another day you could
be escorting some visiting general around. I did a lot of work for a major who
was a battalion commander.
Miller: And I can remember you know, flying with him a lot you know. one day and
00:36:00we would go and he'd stop at his units around the area that we covered.
Miller: He'd stop in and have we have a coffee with with the guy here, a little
conversation with the one, you know, a mile down the road. And that kind of
thing. It was. It was. It was pleasant because you know you, you never were.
Didn't ever appear to be in trouble because you know, you're, you know, you're
staying in this, this circle of uh American people on the ground, men on the
00:37:00ground, soldiers on the ground. And I never forget one day. [Pause] We had we
had gone out on that kind of mission and stopped a couple places.
Friedberg: And what kind of mission?
Miller: Well, on this, visit the troops
Friedberg: Uh okay
Miller: And make sure they they, you know, he he made sure they knew what they
were supposed to be doing that day. And then we stopped at another unit and had breakfast
Miller: And we had just finished and came back in the air, you know, and as soon
00:38:00as I got up to altitude, the radios would work well and reach out. Uh The
colonel in the back seat started calling his troops. Now one of his crew, one of
his uh platoons was commanded by a fellow who was uh a star football player at Army.
Miller: You know, at the same at about the same time that I was at Virginia
Tech. [Coughing] So, I remember that, you know, because of who it was that good.
So the colonel got back in the helicopter. I brought it up, you know, got the
engine going and, you know, came up out of the weeds and into the air. And the
00:39:00colonel started calling the various units that he commanded and checking on them.
And before long, he called Bill Carpenter's unit and.
Miller: You know. Bill Carpenter was, you know, a renowned football player, he
was with these guys that won the the big trophy,
Friedberg: Oh wow!
Miller: The best football player of the year.
Miller: You know about the time that I graduated because just before I
graduated, anyway, the colonel calls Carpenter to check in and see how he's
00:40:00doing. And when he went in, Carpenter answered, first thing he said is, Get us
out of here, get us out of here. Now they're here all over the place. They're,
you know, they're in the guns, you know, were, you know, you've got to get us
out of here. So before the colonel can answer, you hear this other voice, you
know, he gives the call sign of the of the uh unit. And I don't know which unit,
you know, I don't remember the call sign. You know what? Anyway, he gives the
call sign, he says. You know, this is such and such an aircraft, and can I be of
assistance? And Carpenter says, What are you carrying? Well, it was essentially
00:41:00the jelly petroleum that explodes you it when it hits.
Miller: And Carpenter says, Great, come in and, you know, come in on this as
[Inaudible]. And he gives every year two six zero or whatever to come in on and
uh, you know, and drop and drop the napalm at this point.
Miller: You know, and he gave told em when and uh back seat the uh the colonel
goes. Or he gives the coordinates to to to Carpenter, he gave the coordinates to
the ah, to the guy that's offering assistance. And uh you know, the the uh the
00:42:00major goes, those are you're your coordinates! Where the fuck do you think we
are, they are. [Laughter] It comes back over the air.
Well, the other plane came in, dropped the napalm and the specific point that
that Carpenter toldem' so that it just went forward and wiped out his whole
attack that Carpenter was under, you know, there was nobody left the could. I
don't think any of them left that could run.
Friedberg: So with the colonel that you were with you, you did more stuff with
them. What? What kind of stuff was that?
Miller: Well, for a while he was uh my my primary ride. You know, I worked with
00:43:00him for, for for some time. One of the things it was very it was an interesting
experience. Of course, he was always checking up on his men and where where they
were and what they were doing and what they did, what they saw on the ground and
any problems all that. And uh. He had a unit that was pushing a Vietcong uh
group. I don't know what they called their units but pushing the Vietcong and
00:44:00the they were headed toward this body of water. Uh uh It was a sort of a bay
that came up came up in in. The uh coastline there, and they uh got to the bay
and. The. The Vietcong didn't stop, they [Splash Sound] in the water, you know,
across heading toward the other side. [Coughing] And there was this one guy in a
basket boat game and the vast basket boat was probably uh four feet across and
00:45:00would hold one guy and he had he had this basket boat and he had a paddle and
he's paddling across. And the colonel says. Lieutenant, can you turn him back? I
said I'll try. Yeah. So, I go down on the other side of him ahead of where he's
heading toward, and I wave him back. He goes. [Shakes Head] So, I turn around
and come back the other way and I wave him back.
[Shakes head again] .So. The third time I give him some persuasion. Like a [Gun
Noises] of bullets coming straight at the boat.
Miller: Well, he got, you know, they got almost there. He unmasked the boat,
turned it over. Now he's under this basket and the basket is still moving for
the other shore. So, we get there. You know, I mean, we, you know, I try to turn
him back and I've tried to turn him back and nothing's happening. The colonel
asked me, Can you? Can you land on the beach on the other side? Now, you know,
I'm a dumb lieutenant. Here's a colonel. I landed on the other side. [Laughing]
Sure, I can. Now, some years later, talking about it, I realize how stupid that
was because I could have landed there and they could have shot me from the woods
if they were. Yeah, but they were running. They weren't about to stop. But there
00:47:00is this one. You know, I landed on the beach and there's just this basket boat
that I told you about keeps coming toward the beach. And finally, he gets to
where he stands up.
Miller: And of course, what is usually when a basket boat comes off us,
specifically my door gunner and my door gunner is gotten out of the helicopter
and he's standing in front of the helicopter. And when the guy comes out the
door, Gunner says, Come here. It just goes like that. [Beacons with hands] And
the guy? [Shakes head] So, no. The Door gunner goes. Come here and he waves
00:48:00again. The slope goes, No, The door gunner takes his weapon and he goes [Gun
noises] and puts a bullet on either side of the boat that far apart. The guys in
the middle. Now he goes come here you came and gave up, surrendered. We tied him
up, threw him in the back and took him off wherever they took him.
It was interesting. Well, it was interesting.
Friedberg: So do you have any other like memorable experiences that you want to share?
Miller: Oh yeah uhm. I was working one day and we'd gone out early in the
00:49:00morning and you know, with with this colonel and stopped it two or three places
and visited and had a cup of coffee. And uh we uh just, you know, middle of the
morning, there was a call on the radio return to base report base. OK, no, no,
nothing other than that. You know, your needed report to base, well, get back to
base or, you know, in there somewhere, he says and refuel. Hmm. So, I report to
the base and refuel and uh he says flyover to, uh, to Tuy-Hoa airport.
Miller: And meet the rest of the of the of the flight there. So, Tuy-Hoa airport
is just almost across the road, you know, just across a small river. And I fly
over and land and almost immediately I'm sent a load of Vietnamese troops armed.
Friedberg: What was your thought about that? You know, like? And were you fond
of that or?
Miller: No. And my my my my thought about that is, you know, what the hell's
going on? Where are we going? I, you know, I had no, no briefing. No, nobody
told had told me where we were going, what we were doing. All I was told was
00:51:00join the flight at, you know, Tuy-Hoa airport. So, we take off now one after.
You know, they they loaded, uh they loaded about uh six or seven Vietnamese
soldiers into the back room. And you know, when we got ready to take off, I
discovered I couldn't even get it off the ground. It was the best I could do
with slide, so I slid down the runway, go gathering speed.
Miller: Which gives you lift until I got off the ground. And you know, I did get
off the ground, but I knew I was heavy. So, but I still don't know where we're
00:52:00going. Well, it turns out that we're going to the top of Tuy-Hoa Mountain.
Miller: Tuy-Hoa Mountain is, you know, like a thousand feet high. You know, it's
it's not a molehill. It's a mountain.
Miller: And then so OK, I got enough air speed that we could fly, and we stayed
with the flight, and we came around the big circle and we come in on approach to
the top of the mountain. Top of the mountain was not a very nice place. There
were boulders there or in, you know, where where you had to land the size of
that coffee table or bigger and. I was heavy, remember so heavy come down, and
00:53:00I'm thinking as I'm coming in and I keep the mike and I have to say to my door
gunner on one side and crew chief on the other. I said. When I say go, I want
one of those Swope soldiers out of each door or, you know, in other words, from
two guys all up so we can get light. The only problem is the hill is like this,
and if we're still above the hill coming in and you know, and if we're if we're
00:54:00five feet above the hill, they're going to hit the ground about 15 feet down.
[Laughter] I always felt bad about that.
Friedberg: Mm-Hmm Miller: Only when I thought, well, right then I had with those
two guys out there, Friedberg: Were they OK?
Miller: I don't have any. I never saw them again. I hope they were OK.
Friedberg: So, after you threw them off, did you end up being able to land? Yeah.
Miller: Soon, as soon as I got rid of that weight, because remember, they're not
only able to albeit small human beings, but they're also heavily loaded down
with their arms and, you know, all of that stuff. But that was one of those
things I said, Wow.
Friedberg: So, do you have any other other stories about like, you know, either
00:55:00dropping people off or picking people up?
Miller: Ahhh Oh yeah, there were there were there were a lot of funny things
that happened. You always plauged by visitors from this United States that were
here to see to understand the war, to see the war, to see something. And we were
called one day to pick up a couple of reporters who had come in in the country
and they wanted to go to a special forces camp. Now special forces built
triangular uhhh establishments
Miller: When they built, when they built their their their quarters. It was it
00:56:00was a triangle. So, if they were overrun from any corner or from any side, they
could keep back and back into the corner for protection, you know, and and there
were, of course, three quarters on the triangular thing. So, when I landed in,
you know, a special forces camp, I went to the ground and in this time ahead,
you know, I would have done the same thing if I had nobody in playing me and my
and my copilot. But. I had these two uh reporters who wanted to go to a special
00:57:00forces camp, so I took them to the Special Forces camp. And I came in. And
landed and, they got out and saw whatever they wanted to see. And, you know,
when it came time to leave, they got back in. I backed up into the downwind
corner and went.
Just as fast as I could just poured on the the fuel and came across the
establishment, you know, across the the uh the the compound. And when I got to
00:58:00the I was almost at the other side. I pulled back the uh collective and started
a spiral turn. And as soon as I did that and I started to spiral turn, someone
in one of the reporters goes [inhale] and all hell broke that run me. I mean,
you know, just meanness. As soon as he did, I pushed the stick all the way
forward and down from the ground, keeping the circle going and staying inside
the compound. Of course, he lost anything he had in his digestive system.
[Laughing] I think he I think he really did puke on his shit. It was. It was
incredible. And uh all my all my crew chief had to say was Sir that wasn't nice.
00:59:00[Laughter] I said, Why not? Because I've got to clean this thing. When we get
back, [Laughter] you know. And one night we were out somewhere and in one of
these these things and we couldn't get back.
Miller: That was a hairy night.
Friedberg: Yeah. Would you like to tell me about that?
Miller: Well, it was just, you know, simply, Ah. And I don't remember why, you
know and how. But you know, it came dark, and we and we couldn't get back up.
And we spent the night in the woods.
Friedberg: Was that scary? A little bit?
Friedberg: Was that a little scary?
Miller: It was a lot scary. I mean, you know, we we had somebody awake all
night. You're watching. We did, you know? But. And uh . You know, you got to see
a little bit of Cambodia if you wanted, you know? You know, as far as I wanted
is at that point, the river was about half as wide as this room, and I was on
the Vietnam side.
I just looked over, you know, it looks like, you know that they are that looks
like the rest of the jungle didn't make much difference.
Friedberg: So, can you tell me about some of the like some of the scariest
moments that you had over there?
Miller: The scariest moment?
Miller: I crashed one
Friedberg: You crashed one?
Miller: I was flying for the colonel. The usual, usual thing. And he wanted. And
he says. Lieutenant, can you get into that landing zone there and I said. I'm
not sure if we can, you know, I'd like to be down there. I like to talk to the
guys down there, OK. So, I landed. He did whatever he wanted to do. And when it
came time to take off, you know, I think back as far as I could and did my take
01:02:00off. And the two trees are like this. And I thought I hoped that I was going to
be able to get between them shied away from basically shied away from the tree
on my side of the chopper and hit the tree on the other side caught the end of
the rotor blades.
Friedberg: Oh boy.
Miller: Well, of course, I had the colonel and several guys that were with him
in the back.
Miller: And you know, we went down roll over on the side. And my my my thought
immediately is, you know, crash the thing it comes after crash is fire. Maybe,
01:03:00you know, not always, but you, you you. You were very aware that that's a
problem. So I think I. You know, it had fallen on my side.
Miller: I could open the door; the door was on the ground. I got to get out of
Friedberg: Now did you crash like in a base or was this out in the jungle?
Miller: Hmm. Was it what?
Friedberg: Did you crash out in the jungle area? Or was this like safe, a safe
area that you crashed in?
Miller: No, it was no safe area at all. But I needed to get out of there
because, you know, the you know, there's a downed airplane is going to be
leaking gasoline. You know how big of fire you want to be roasted in, you know,
01:04:00so I look, you know, I can remember I'm laying on my side and I look up at at
the uh top and then I get rolled back and put my feet up and kick the whole
bubble out. You know, the button that you look through looking down from from a
helicopter just to kick that that thing out.
Miller: And I scurried out of there and then joined in with helping to get the
other guys out.
Miller: You know, because now we, you know, we had two ways of getting out. They
were coming up to the top, you know, and the helicopters laying on the side.
They were coming up to that that point and getting out the the the copilot side,
01:05:00the left side door. But anyway, it was a dead chopper. And. I got a ride back.
The only the only thing I would probably one of the few things I regret about
Vietnam is when that chopper went down, broke that rotor blades into pieces, a
piece of rotor blades, which I was told I never saw it. Was approximately about
a foot long. We're flying through the air and caught a soldier ground pounder.
01:06:00Right there. [Points to knee]
Friedberg: Well, I'm sorry to hear that.
Miller: Right on the knee. took his foot, took his foot off.
Friedberg: Well, at least, you know, he wasn't
Miller: It cut him right, boot up and his foot off. You know, they put, you
know, and the medic of the unit put a tourniquet around on the thing, stop the
bleeding. And they took him to the hospital. But that's one thing that I've
always regretted was the fact that someone got hurt because I didn't say no to
that particular colonel.
Friedberg: So, you know, you did crash one time where you ever shot at.
Miller: Was I ever shot at?
Friedberg: Like, was where you hit when you were flying with bullets at all?
Miller: I think I had one bullet. At some point, and I do not remember. You
know, I mean, it was just, you know, it was gone so quickly. You know, it wasn't
something you thought about. It didn't cause great, great trauma.
Miller: But. You know. As. The the worst thing about that whole war was it was useless.
Miller: It was just there wasn't there was no reason for it. You know
Friedberg: Did you always feel that way about the war?
Miller: Well, by the time we went, by the time I left, ah, we we knew what was
happening. We knew that the the big shots and they were, you know, bailing. They
were going home. All the politicians, you know, they were going home. It was
just a waste.
Miller: You know it. It really served no purpose. The war. And, you know, the.
01:09:00I'd like to go now. Let me say this about Vietnam. Vietnam is a beautiful
country. You know, I only saw South Vietnam, North Vietnam, of course, was the
enemy at that point. And but it was beautiful. You know, we our main base
forward base, the working base was on, it was at Tuy-Hoa.
Miller: The. Our our our our home base Song Be was not, uh, you know, it was not
01:10:00as nice as the base it to are.
Miller: That was. You know, this beautiful beach? You know? You've got your
beautiful, beautiful beach. The the countryside was lovely. You know, it was
just. You know, it looks so nice and pleasant. I'd love to go back and see what
it is now.
Friedberg: So, you know, you were talking about everyone leaving when you were
leaving, were you? Did you get any promotions from when you were done?
Miller: You know, I haven't thought about that so well. You know, it was just
before I came home. You know, of course, I had been over there long enough to
attain the rank of captain.
Friedberg: Mm-Hmm. Miller: But that was as high as I was. You know, I was out of
there, you know, it was a good and who got me to sign up for another anything
you know you did.
Friedberg: Did they offer you to go to Germany at that time? I know that. Well,
something that they did.
Miller: No, no. I came home, got out and that was done.
Friedberg: So, when you came home, how did you feel when your service was
Miller: When it was finally over? I was just happy, just happy. We, you know, we
01:12:00went on with our life, you know, eventually because well look what happened.
Yeah. Friedberg: So when you were back to what was, in your opinion, the
attitude of how the public treated veterans from Vietnam?
Miller: It never was an issue for me.
Friedberg: It never was?
Miller: You know, I. I came home. Took a job to collect it collected my wife
took a job and we started as a family.
Friedberg: Yeah. So I'm guessing Mimi was happy to see you when you came home.
Miller: I would say so. And I was happy to see her at.
Friedberg: And then I guess the only thing is there anything that you would like
01:13:00to discuss that we haven't talked about already?
Miller: Ah, I can't, I can't think of much. Are. The thing that I think is
ironic is. I have a sense and have had for for quite a while. I would love to go
back to Vietnam to see what it's like. Vietnam is a beautiful country. You know,
the beaches were beautiful. The the the little towns and villages that were
01:14:00beautiful, the river. You know those things. I remember. And there's a fellow
that has a little service station, gas station and in some repair work about a
mile from here up and in Connecticut, just across the border in Connecticut,
where he was stationed at number. He was a mechanic. That was his job. He kept
the checklist and running and. But you know, it's something that. An experience
01:15:00I'm glad I had and prayer but I wouldn't want to hear it again. Right? You know,
Friedberg: Well, thank you so much. I really appreciate you sharing everything.