USAF officer to be buried 38 years after war death - KTRE.com | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

USAF officer to be buried 38 years after war death

WASHINGTON (AP) - The remains of a U.S. Air Force officer will be returned to Texas for burial later this month, 38 years after his aircraft was shot down over Laos.

Maj. Curtis Daniel Miller of Palacios, Texas, was part of a 14-man crew aboard an AC-130A Spectre gunship flying an armed reconnaissance mission over southern Laos during the Vietnam War.

KTRE has learned Miller has family ties in Lufkin, and throughout Texas.

On March 29, 1972, a surface-to-air missile shot the aircraft out of the sky, and days of search and rescue efforts failed to locate Miller's remains. For years his family was left hoping that Curtis might still be alive.

"They had the plane crashing in a fire ball and then you have reports of nine service men being taken by Loatians and you have beepers going off," said Miller's wife, Susan Miller.

Years after Miller went missing, his wedding ring was discovered, and returned to his wife in perfect condition.

In 1986, a join U.S-Laotian search team surveyed and excavated the crash site and recovered human remains. The team returned to excavate further in 2005-06 and found more remains, including those identified later as Miller's.

One year ago, the family was told that there lost soldier was found.

"I love my husband today as if I married him yesterday. I am going through a grief cycle all over again."

As well as her daughter who was two-years-old when her father's plane crashed down. 

"After the burial, I'll be very glad that he's back and he's in Texas soil. I know that's where he would have wanted to be if he couldn't be with mom and I," said Christine Miller Hollerich.

For his mother, there is still pain, and anger, from years of questioning what happened to her son overseas. 

"I'm just not willing to except that it's over, that it's final for him. I know in the military it's final, but for his mother, no," said Nell Miller Smith of Huntsville.

Miller will be buried with full military honors March 29 at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.

Copyright 2010 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.

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