Nacogdoches Vietnam War veteran set to receive Distinguished Flying Cross Saturday

Nacogdoches Vietnam War veteran set to receive Distinguished Flying Cross Saturday
Pictured is Sgt. David Miller during his service with the U.S. Air Force. (Source: Barksdale AFB Public Affairs Office)

NACOGDOCHES, TX (KTRE) - A Nacogdoches man will receive the Distinguished Flying Cross for his achievements while he was serving as an airborne radio intercept officer during the Vietnam War Saturday morning.

The award ceremony for David E. Miller, of Nacogdoches, will be held at the Harvest Point Church in Nacogdoches at 11 a.m. Saturday, according to a press release. U.S. Air Force Colonel Ryan D. Blake, the commandant of the 412th Test School at Edwards Air Force Base in California will officiate the ceremony.

David Miller will be presented with a Distinguished Flying Cross Saturday. (Source: Barksdale AFB Public Affairs Office)
David Miller will be presented with a Distinguished Flying Cross Saturday. (Source: Barksdale AFB Public Affairs Office) (Barksdale AFB Public Affairs Office)

“The award is being presented for achievement while Mr. Miller was an airborne radio intercept officer on an EC-47 Skytrain near Dak To in the Republic of Vietnam in 1968,” the press release stated. “Despite the threat of intense and accurate hostile fire, he pursued intelligence that contributed to saving the lives of many friendly forces.”

According to the press release, Miller was never given the Distinguished Flying Cross during his time in the U.S. Air Force. In order to “rectify that oversight, a delegation from Barksdale AFB, Louisiana is joining Colonel Blake to honor him” Saturday.

In addition to Miller, all the other Vietnam veterans who are present Saturday will be honored as well.

State Rep. Travis Clardy, R-Nacogdoches, will be on hand at the ceremony to read a special proclamation honoring veterans of the Vietnam War, according to Jessica Daurizio, the chief of public affairs for Barksdale Air Force Base.

“While in Vietnam, Sgt. David E. Miller saw buddies killed and endured enemy fire upon an unarmed plane,” a bio for Miller stated. “The almost daily rocket attacks while at Pleiku AB Vietnam make it almost impossible for him to enjoy fireworks to this day because fireworks sound like incoming mortar fire.”

Miller also suffered hearing loss from the 125 combat missions he took part in during the Vietnam War. He also developed post-traumatic stress syndrome as a result of his experiences in the conflict.

“His recently diagnosed Parkinson’s disease issues from being exposed to Agent Orange,” the bio stated. “But through it all, David Miller loves this country and has nothing but high praise for the armed forces which protect us and keep us safe.”

Miller’s bio said, like many other men and women who served in the Vietnam War, there was no “glorious welcome home.”

“Instead, he was refused service at a restaurant, spit on in an airport, and generally ignored for his four years of service,” Miller’s bio stated. “His Distinguished Flying Cross notification came in the mail with no medal enclosed. He had to send for the medal himself.”

After a brief stint in college, Miller enlisted in the U.S. Air Force in 1965. He served in Okinawa before he was sent to Vietnam. He served as an aircrew member on the C-47 “Goonie Bird” planes that were used on reconnaissance flights over Vietnam and Laos.

“The mission of these flights was to triangulate North Vietnamese ground troop locations so that U.S. airstrikes could be mounted to save allied ground forces,” Miller’s bio stated.

The incident that prompted Miller’s pilot to recommend him for the DFC occurred in November of 1968. As the crew was returning to Pleiku Air Base, Miller continued to monitor his radio intercept equipment and encountered five North Vietnamese radio transmissions.

Miller called to the pilot, who agreed to circle while the signals were triangulated. The pilot urged Miller to work quickly because they were low on fuel, Miller’s bio stated.

The crew worked quickly, and an air strike was called in near Dak To. The air strike saved the lives of many troops on the ground, Miller’s bio stated. The EC-47 landed with only 20 minutes’ worth of fuel left.

In addition to Miller, all the other Vietnam veterans who are present Saturday will be honored as well.

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