Ed Miller, USMC, Farewell Friend

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It is with great sadness that I’m forwarding the news that Ed Miller, USMC, passed away on Sunday June 10th. He was a highly respected veteran skydiver who approached everything he did with optimism, consideration, and an attitude of excellence. Eighteen months ago he was diagnosed with cancer that was the cruelest attack for someone who was totally dedicated to healthy eating and a vigorous routine of workouts and a healthy lifestyle. Ed was passionate about skydiving, but his jumping ability was sadly curtailed last year, ending a career of many thousands of skydives in countries around the world. Although Ed’s personality didn’t move him toward the more “raucous” aspects of skydiving, he always enjoyed being in the presence of others who shared his enthusiasm for our sport and enjoyed having a good time. Rest in peace, at last, Ed. We all will miss you until we meet once again.

Nancy Gruttman-Tyler

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Thank you for posting this, Nancy.

Ed and I always seemed to bond on the infrequent occassions when we would run into each other skydiving, because we were both Marines. Ed worked overseas so much that he didn't get home to skydive often, and when he did he usually didn't travel to Houston where I am to do it. But Ed came to Houston recently to attend the funeral service of Dan Potts, a former Navy SEAL who served in Vietnam, and he revealed to me that he had stage-3 cancer. We had lost another skydiver just a few months ago, Rob Steffens, to exactly the same thing, so I immediately understood the serious nature of that statement, but tried not to make a big deal of it in front of everyone. I had to cajole Ed to posing with the group of skydivers present, as he tried to slip out of the photo because he didn't know anyone else there, and must have felt like he "didn't belong". Ed and I ended up after the memorial service departing at the same time in the parking lot of the church, and just kind of gave a casual goodbye to each other. But I realized then that it might be the last time I ever see him, and it didn't feel right, so I turned around, went back, and gave him a good strong hug. It probably looked kind of gay to have two big men hugging each other, but I'm damned glad now that I did.

Rest in peace, Ed. We'll miss you.

Bob Jameson states on Facebook that Ed went from E1 (Enlisted Private) to O5 (Officer Lt. Colonel) during his career. He won the Silver Star at the Battle of Hastings in 1966, One of the Brave!

Here is the Wikipedia description of that battle:

And here is Ed's Silver Star citation:

Attached: Photo of skydivers at Dan's memorial service, with Ed in the back row.
Someone please post a better close-up photo of Ed.

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Ed was a really good guy; he'll be missed.

Wendy P.
There is nothing more dangerous than breaking a basic safety rule and getting away with it. It removes fear of the consequences and builds false confidence. (tbrown)

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Ed was a great guy and will be sorely missed. I got to jump with Ed when he was stationed in the Phillipines as head of Base Security at Subic Bay in '85. In addition to Ed some of the familiar names jumping there were G.D. Williams (deceased) and Mike Mangold. Jumping there required some dedication. My logbook shows me doing a 2-way with him on 8 Dec 85 from the flying clubs 182. Good Times!

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It saddens me that Ed is gone although we knew the time was near.

A truly fine man. An American hero. A man many called friend. He lived a life worthy of all the accolades one can give. A man's man, a honorable American and a forever a skydiver.

I can't remember the man without a smile and a laugh to cheer you up. I was always drawn to him for his love of life. A humble man -- he was the best man and American I have personally known in my lifetime.

Blueskys & Semper Fi,

Bill Davis, scr97

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Thanks for posting Nancy,

Really sad to hear Ed has left us - I knew he was dealing with the cancer.

I have had the pleasure of knowing Ed for a while and jumped a lot with him when he was in Hawaii.

I always looked forward to seeing him at the SOS record attempts whenever we were both able to make it
at the same time to catch up.

Fly free my friend!


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Hard to believe Ed was such a warrior in Viet Nam after reading his Silver Star Citation. It was a honor to have known and jumped with you Ed. Gonna miss your smile!Guess you and Dan Potts are planning a nice RW jump RIP my friend.

It makes me wonder if those kind of war experiences play a big role in making men into something far different as they age in life. Ed survived a hellish few minutes of combat, including killing the enemy in hand-to-hand fighting, but went on to become the kind, gentle, quiet man that we all knew as skydivers. Dan Potts had similar experiences in Vietnam as a Navy SEAL, but as a skydiver was a humble, peaceful, quiet guy. "Hutch" was a POW in Vietnam, but escaped, and went on also to lead a quiet, humble life. I think those kinds of horrible experiences can do a lot to shape a man into the fine examples which we all respect and admire. We should strive to get to that same place on our own, preferably without having that hellish experience to force us to examine the best way to live. Ed, Dan and Hutch are all stellar examples of that kind of life.

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Ed Miller I am sad to say he left this earthly plain . . . An exemplar of being and health is snatched from our arms. Oh, durn it all. A fine man. A good friend. Mostly the good die young. But Ed was the better of good excelling at awesome. Squared away, a tight ass, he was so together that he made most else seem apart. XO
Reminiscing on Ed Miller with Linda Miller carrying a hole in her heart. “Pat, He was my first real love and we stayed friends over the long years after. He was truly a unique individual with courage, honor and integrity that was far above most.” Amen that. Although divorced, they remained very close. An uncommon accomplishment. Over the years Jan & I Jumped with Ed. More recently he and I would find ourselves together in line ups for big ways. Frequently as slot mates. We had big fun. I found that to like and respect him was reflexive + comfort to feel. I share part of your loss. We all collectively lost more. Ouch! Damn! A role model for life. A archetype for friendship, Ed epitomized Semper Fi
Pat Works nee Madden Travis Works, Jr .B1575, C1798, D1813, Star Crest Solo#1, USPA#189,

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Well all the words floating around in my mind
seem kind of trite and inadequate.

He used to jump at Oceanside, near Camp Pendleton,
in the early 60's, and when I'd run into him here
and there over the years he always seemed like
the same guy - a little more weather beaten, but
the same, quiet guy.

And he was always in such good shape I guess
I thought he'd just kind of go on forever.

Damn ..

Well, thanks for posting this.


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I recieved this E-mail from Nancy LaRiviere. She asked that I post it.

Dear Friends of Ed Miller,

There will be three memorial celebrations for Lt. Col. Ed Miller, USMA (Ret.). All friends and fellow skydivers are invited to attend one or any of the events.

July 29, 2012 - Elsinore

There will be a brief ceremony, the skydive, and then testimonials for the video.
Please be at Elsinore at 9:30 AM on Sunday, July 29th, to say "So long, Blue Skies" to our friend, Ed Miller.

FFI: Pat Moorehead, [email protected] or Marilyn Wuest at [email protected]"

July 29, 2012 - Skydive Deland
For those friends of Ed Miller who wish to participate in a last send off (ash) dive, I am planning to

take him up on Sunday, July 29th, hour to be determined. Ed used to come to come to DeLand for

POPS and SOS and other events. He was a great friend, a former Marine, all around wonderful

guy. If you know of other friends of Ed’s not on my list, please forward this. His wife Cathy, is sending

a portion of his ashes here. The plan is for simultaneous memorial dives in Florida, California and Texas as

Ed had strong connections in all places. Part of him will also be laid to rest at Ft. Sam Houston. He was

a travelin’ man..

August 12, 2012 - San Marcos, TX
Ed's teammate on their world championship team, George Nisson will be organizing the memorial.

If you would like to participate, please contact him at [email protected]

If you are near these dropzones on these dates, please join us to give Ed one last salute - Simper Fi.
If you can't attend, please take a moment, smile and say goodbye in your own way.


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Ladies & Gentlemen:

It seems that I made a mistake back in message #2: there are actually several people with the name "Ed Miller" who received the Silver Star award in Vietnam, and I had linked to the wrong citation. George Nisson has spoken with Ed's ex-wife Cathy and now has that straightened out for me. I have had a moderator alter the web link in that message to point to the correct citation (thanks, SkyMama). So you may wish to click the "in reply to" button above, to jump back to that message and re-read the citation to get the correct facts. I apologize for the mix-up.

Thank you, George, for your efforts in researching this and setting the record straight.

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I was initially alarmed to hear that a Marine named Ed Miller, who had jumped in Southern Cal back in the day, had recently died of cancer. I checked logbook #1 and was relieved to find that the one I knew was Edwin D. I still followed the thread, noticing many similarities, even a physical likeness, to my old friend. Today I'm saddened to learn that it was, in fact, my friend. So here are my belated recollections.

We met in Glendale, California at Vic Tanny's Gym, where I had been previously employed; my first job out of the service. Ed worked at Cal Edison and told us about climbing "bare 90s" (90 foot high wooden power poles with no steps) using pole climbers strapped to his boots and a waist belt looped behind the pole. Ed overheard me talking to Fred Alexander about my desire to make one parachute jump. Ed and Fred were both on reserve status with the Force Recon unit stationed at Pendleton. My girlfriend and I attended the Force Recon Marine Corps Ball at Pendleton as Fred's guests. Both Ed and Fred were airborne qualified and Ed was a current sport jumper. So, now after opening my big mouth about wanting to jump, I had more or less sealed my fate.

I first went to Lake Piru on May 18, 1963, bought a logbook and got first jump training ($25.00) from Sgt. Stan Parker. It was overcast so I did mucho redundant PLFs from every conceivable angle off a picnic table. There were a couple of hop & pops made but the 2000 foot ceiling never cleared so Sgt. Stan gave me a full refund and even took us to the Tack and Saddle in Glendale for drinks. I say "us" because my buddy who had provided our transportation also brought a date, Natalie Wood's younger sister (I learned years later) to be an observer. I believe the Norseman went into Lake Casitas with a full load (one fatality) shortly thereafter??

I wound up at Elsinore on June 23, 1963 to get a physical, more training and make my first jump. Naturally, I reported back to Ed Miller at the gym that week. Ed suggested that we ride down to Elsinore the following weekend. He even offered me his Recon jump helmet to use. Luckily, my internal dialog had already begun, "Sure, you made one jump; anybody can make one jump. But now that you know how scary it is, can you do it one more time?"

A few of Elsinore's jumpmasters were Recon so Ed got on my load. He would go out higher with my jumpmaster for a quick two-man. So at 3 grand I got out on the step/wheel?? of the 172 and my jumpmaster tapped me off for my second jump. As I left, I was so sense-overloaded I actually thought I heard someone yelling "Pull your reserve! Pull your reserve!" I was busy concentrating on my counting, but when I got to "eight thousand" I wondered if that voice had been real. I brought both hands in to my reserve but my head pitched down. So, I thrust my hands back out, got level, then quickly went for my reserve again, fully intending to pull this time. Just then, my main opened (cone lockup) and I had a normal landing. All agreed I had attained terminal velocity, was stable all the way and swung in around a thousand feet.

Everyone was mad at me, even the dropzone coach on the PA system. My jumpmaster did, in fact, yell at me after I exited. Ed said, "Don't ever do that when I'm on the load." I can imagine how he must have felt, sitting in the back not being able to see anything except my JM going ballistic after I left. Ed and I discussed my future in jumping. But my internal dialog was saying, "Man, you can't end it on THIS jump." I don't remember Ed's exact position on the matter but we made another jump about an hour later.

Ed signed off six of my first nine jumps; "Edwin D. Miller, B926." Ed and I gradually lost touch but I used his Recon jump helmet (a leather football helmet w/ chin cup, painted OD with the holes covered up with fabric tape) well into my days at Arvin. I was wearing Ed's helmet the time I got knocked out when Bob Thompson (1st six-man) and I elected to ride our tangled canopies in after a low two-man. I guess it's about time to recount that one in "Scary Stories."

The last time I saw Ed Miller was when his unit got activated and was going to Viet Nam. I think I rode to Pendleton with Terry Ward who had (formerly?) been in Ed's Recon unit. I can't remember if it was still in the '60s or the early '70s. I do recall being surprised at seeing Ed and sheepishly telling him that I still had his helmet somewhere. He just said "Forget it." That statement lead me to believe that he was also headed overseas that day.

It's sad to hear we've lost him.

Al Paradowski

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