Louis C. Miller (1967/11/06)
David De Lapena remembered how his friend Louie "always stuck up for the underdog."
Louis Charles Miller was born in Watsonville, California, on December 24, 1948. His parents later divorced and his grandparents, Mr. and Mrs. Charles Burnett, who lived in nearby Corralitos, raised him. Louis received his primary school education at Corralitos Elementary School. One childhood friend reminisced of their "playing in the woods down by the creek and shooting [basketball] hoops at the school." Louis Miller enrolled at Watsonville High School in September 1963, where he was remembered as an average student who was not involved in many extra-curricular activities. Miller appears to have been an outdoors kind of guy who enjoyed activities such as hunting.
High school education came to an end for Louis Miller in January 1967, when at the age of seventeen, he left school to join the US Army. After completing basic training at Fort Ord, California, he was sent to Fort Benning, Georgia, for advanced infantry and paratrooper training. Private Miller was then assigned to B Company, 503rd Regiment of the 173rd Airborne Infantry Division.
On July 2, 1967, Louis Miller arrived in Vietnam. While in "Nam," he served at An Khe, Plieku, and Landing Zone English, among other locations. In September 1967, he was involved in an undisclosed firefight, was wounded and awarded the Purple Heart.
Increased activity by the North Vietnamese army began occurring in the central highlands near Kontum in November and Company B was sent to the area in what was known as Operation MacArthur or the Battle of Dak To.
“To expand the coverage of supporting artillery fires, the 4th Battalion of the 173rd was ordered to occupy Hill 823, south of Ben Het, for the construction of Fire Support Base 15. Since the rest of the battalion's companies were already deployed elsewhere, the 120 men of Bravo Company would combat assault onto the hilltop by helicopter alone. After several attempts to denude the hilltop with air strikes and artillery fire, Bravo Company landed unopposed that afternoon, but the hill was not unoccupied. 15 minutes later, contact was made with the North Vietnamese. The battle that ensued raged at close quarters until early the following morning when elements of the 66th PAVN Regiment withdrew, leaving behind more than 100 bodies. Nine Americans of Bravo Company, 4/503 also lay dead and another 28 were wounded.”
Included among the names of those nine Americans of Bravo Company killed on November 6, 1967, was that of Louis Charles Miller. His body was recovered and returned to Watsonville for burial in Pajaro Valley Memorial Park.
(VVMW; WHSM; WIKI, Battle of Dak To; WRP November 11, 1967; November 24, 1967)