Contributed The Huntsville Item
HUNTSVILLE — A memorial service is planned for Maj. Curtis Daniel Miller, a Palacios High School graduate, at 2 p.m. March 29 at the Dallas-Forth Worth National Cemetery, 2000 Mountain Creek Parkway in Dallas.
After 38 years of missing in action in the Vietnam War, Miller’s family has recently been notified by the U.S. Air Force that remains have been found and some of those small remains have been identified to be those of Miller.
Miller’s mother, Nell Miller Smith, lives in Huntsville.
In late 1971, Miller was sent to Southeast Asia to serve in the Vietnam War and he was stationed at Ubon U.S. Air Force Base in Thailand.
On March 29, 1972, with a crew of 14 men, while flying over Ho-Chi-Minh Trail in Laos at about 3 a.m., the plane was struck by a surface-to-air missile and brought down.
“Beepers” were heard, indicating that some of the crew had survived the crash, but after daylight when planes from the base went back to search for survivors no one could be found.
Since that time, Miller’s family spent much time, energy and and money traveling all over the United States, especially Washington, D.C., meeting with elected officials and the military personel trying to find information about the fate of their son and husband.
Miller’s father, Paul, along with 51 other family members with a missing soldier, made a special trip to Laos for information. Laos had promised the release of all U.S. POWs in the fall of 1973 when their “special” government was established after the war.
The group of 52 people returned home disappointed because the government of Laos said that it did not have any POWs.
Miller’s father died in August 1974 never knowing the fate of his son.
A “freedom tree,” dedicated to the return of all POWs and MIAs from Southeast Asia, was planted on the grounds of Palacios High School by his classmates in 1973.
Miller graduated from Palacios High School in 1964 and continued his education at Texas Tech University in Lubbock where he spent four years in the ROTC program.
He also met his future wife, Susan Rothrock, while in Lubbck and they married before he finished college.
Miller graduated from Texas Tech and the ROTC program as a 2nd lieutenant and a member of the U.S. Air Force.
He was stationed at Brooks Air Force Base in San Antonio for intelligence training and from there he was stationed at Laughline Air Force Base in Del Rio and then Reese in Lubbock.
Miller became a pilot and while in Florida was assigned to fly an AC-130 — a large cargo plane that was re-designed to be a gun ship.
While in Florida, was he promoted to captain.
Miller is survived his wife, Susan; daughter, Christy Miller Hollerich; mother, Nell Miller Smith of Huntsville; granddaughter, Madison Hollerich; sister, Paulette Miller Mumme and husband Bruce; sister-in-law Theresa Miller; and five nieces and one nephew.