Sidney S. (Red) Miller, was born 5-6-15 in New York. He died 2-22-99, Roseville, CA. He enlisted in the CRAF in 1941. "As an American and a Jew, he had to fight Hitler," he said. And as soon as America entered the war Sid enlisted in the USAAF. Upon graduation as 2nd Lt. In 1942 from Albany, GA, with a commission as Navigator, he married Barbara.
He had submarine duty over Florida before he and his crew flew the Atlantic to Africa. His crew likes to tell the story that with his navigating they landed at Dakar with 18 minutes of fuel left. They continued to Thurleigh, England to become part of the 8th AF, 306th Bomb Grp. and the infamous 367th Clay Pigeon Squadron. In his own words, "Going on raids was scary but thrilling for young, foolish and brash American boys."
On April 5, 1943, while on a raid on Antwerp, he parachuted 32,000 ft. from his burning B-17 in Holland. He landed in a dike and was injured. He was captured by the occupying German troops. He spent 16 days in solitary in Dulag Luft before being sent by boxcar to Stalag Luft 3 where he spent the next 2-plus years.
Because he had claustrophobia he did not go down to work on the tunnels but was a lookout above ground. As the Camp Librarian, it was not suspicious to the "goons" that he sit, reading a book on the ground above the entrance. When he closed his book, it was the signal to stop digging.
Though the Germans knew he was Jewish, there was no overt action because Col. Clark and others prevailed with the Germans to protect all the Jewish Officers.
These words from one of his closest friends (Bob Kennedy) sums up what it's like to be a POW. "Sid will always be appreciated and loved because he was a true friend during our time in Stalag Luft III. For me he was like a mentor because he seemed so sophisticated and experienced. Of course we bitched all the time about everything that POWs life was not, but we all had deeper fears which often surfaced after bedtime when we found it easier to talk in the dark. We were realistic enough to know that the war would end and there would be a winner and a loser. Our greatest fear was 'What if the Allies lost, would we ever see our home or families again?'
"But Sid never doubted an Allied Victory and always said so. I recall his answer when now and again someone would challenge him with 'How do you know?' His stock answer, always in a firm voice was 'I don't know. That's why God gives us faith.'"
During the infamous March to Moosberg in winter, 600 miles, he sustained more injuries, but that bond that sustained each Kriegie helped him through that hell to Moosberg -- and eventual freedom as Patton came through. He and others crossed the border to freedom on May 6 at Rheims, just as the German generals were surrendering. He crossed the German border on his birthday.
The one distinction he cherished was being a member of the Caterpillar Club (for those whose life was saved with a silk parachute.) He did receive the Purple Heart among many other medals.
During the years from 1945 to retirement in 1989 Sid was an entrepreneur and active in real estate in California. He was extremely generous in giving back to the community. He was the charter commander of a Jewish War Veterans group, President of Toastmasters and President of Kiwanis, President of various realtor boards and involved in many other groups. The family grew to five: two sons and a daughter, and now seven grandchildren.
The bond that developed among the Kriegies remains awesome, even after 56 years. The POW years took their toll physically, though he was active and involved with all life, Veterans Affairs, all community activities, family and religion.