Friday, September 28, 2012

TFH 9/28: Major Oscar F. Miller, USA

Oscar Franklin Miller was born in Franklin County, Arkansas on October 25, 1882. His childhood was marked by the death of his father when he was eight, and his formal education ended with elementary school. Miller left his family at age 16 or 17 to travel to Texas in search of work.

He enlisted in the United States Army for three years on April 9, 1901 during which he fought in the Philippine-American War. After his enlistment finished, he worked as a civil servant in both the United States Postal Service and as an immigration inspector.

With the United States' entry into World War I, he returned to the Army on May 16, 1917 and was selected for officers' training. He did well, and was commissioned with the rank of Major and given a command of a battalion in the 361st Infantry Regiment, assigned to the 91st Infantry Division. They arrived in France for combat in July 1918.

On September 28, 1918, Miller led his men forward against a fortified enemy from the very front of the battalion, through three wounds that would eventually claim his life. His courage inspired his men to secure their objective, and was recognized with our Nation's highest honor.

From Medal of Honor Recipients for World War I:


Rank and organization: Major, U.S. Army, 361st Infantry, 91st Division. Place and date: Near Gesnes, France, 28 September 1918. Entered service at: Los Angeles, Calif. Birth: Franklin County, Ark. G.O. No.: 16, W.D. 1919. Citation: After 2 days of intense physical and mental strain, during which Maj. Miller had led his battalion in the front line of the advance through the forest of Argonne, the enemy was met in a prepared position south of Gesnes. Though almost exhausted, he energetically reorganized his battalion and ordered an attack. Upon reaching open ground the advancing line began to waver in the face of machinegun fire from the front and flanks and direct artillery fire. Personally leading his command group forward between his front-line companies, Maj. Miller inspired his men by his personal courage, and they again pressed on toward the hostile position. As this officer led the renewed attack he was shot in the right leg, but he nevertheless staggered forward at the head of his command. Soon afterwards he was again shot in the right arm, but he continued the charge, personally cheering his troops on through the heavy machinegun fire. Just before the objective was reached he received a wound in the abdomen, which forced him to the ground, but he continued to urge his men on, telling them to push on to the next ridge and leave him where he lay. He died from his wounds a few days later.

Major Oscar F. Miller, who succumbed to his wounds on September 30, 1918, now rests in peace along with 14,245 of his comrades in the Meuse-Argonne American Cemetery and Memorial, Romagne-sous-Montfaucon, France.

The 361st Infantry Regiment currently has no active battalions in the Army or reserve components. The 91st Training Division is a subsidiary component of the United States Army Reserve's 84th Training Command. They are headquartered at Fort Hunter Liggett in California.

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