Duiel J. Miller
Beach, Normandy, France
HQ Company, 3rd Bat, 12th Inf, 4th Inf Div
The summer of my 17th
year my father and I painted our house in preparation for sale.
As the days grew long and my patience grew short my father began
to tell me stories of the time he spent in service. My fascination
with the men of such courage and the life struggles that created
them was borne and to this day continues to grow. The recitation
that follows is not a historical account but the recounting of an
event as passed from father to daughter.
On January 19, 1942 twenty-three year old Duiel Jackson Miller left
his home in Birmingham Alabama to join the army. Raised on a farm
in Cullman, Alabama, he was a robust six foot, two hundred pound
young man that turned down a football scholarship at Saint Bernard
College to go to work for the National Biscuit Company driving a
delivery truck. His experience driving a 1-ton truck was noted and
after 3 months of basic training he was sent to Camp Gordon to the
4th Motorized Division where he was trained to drive a half track,
pull an anti tank gun, and operate the weapon.
January 19, 1942 he and others of the 4th Infantry Division sailed
for England and on June 6, 1944 he participated on the assault on
UTAH BEACH, NORMANDY JUNE 6, 1944
Approaching the beach fire is coming over my head and I can see
the explosions on the beach. The officer in charge of our landing
craft is British and I can hear him shouting commands over the shells.
Were getting closer and I look over the side, an L.C. to my
side has stopped and she drops her ramp and I watch as two tanks
drive off and disappear. Just right off and under.
My L.C. slows preparing to stop and I hear the British commander
shouting, Take them on in. If we dont get in closer
theyll be at the bottom of the bloody channel. (Not
a direct quote.) The boat revs and we move in closer. I know if
hed dropped us that far out Id gone under. He takes
us in closer and drops the ramp, engine running Im out from
My half-track is loaded down with ammunition and its slow
going out of the water even with the back tracks. At one point I
bogged down from the added weight of the ammunition and Im
receiving fire. I can see the guys making their way in and Im
like a sitting duck. Working franticly back and forth Im able
to work free and move forward. Like everyone else I want off that
You think youll be safe if you can get out of the landing
area, but thats not necessarily true. After getting off the
landing area Im trying to make my way off the beach when a
shell goes off to my side and hot burning shell fragments come down
on my half-track landing in the back on the stored ammunition. I
never even thought about it, I just jumped and using my helmet,
I shoveled dirt and sand on the burning fragments. It never occurred
to me to use the entrenching shovel. When I was sure I wasnt
going to blow up I got back in and moved inland.
Duiel J. Miller received citations for his bravery and determination,
for not abandoning his vehicle and persevering while under fire.
He felt he had been lucky on June 6, 1944. I lost a lot of
buddies that day. (A direct quote.)
Submitted by his daughter Jane Miller
Shoulderpatch of the 4th Infantry Division...
With his girlfriend
In front of destroyed German "pillbox"