Jerry Miller joined the Navy on his 17th birthday, serving for two years in an enlisted status including time in a battleship in both the Pacific and Atlantic Fleets. He received a Fleet Appointment and entered the U.S. Naval Academy in 1938, where he graduated in December 1941 with a degree in electrical engineering.
After commissioning, Jerry served in cruisers during World War II on combat duty in both the South Pacific and Aleutian Campaigns. He served for two years in the Korean Conflict, first on a task force commander's staff and later as the commanding officer of a jet fighter squadron. He has been an air wing commander, the commanding officer of an ammunition ship, and commanding officer of the attack carrier USS Franklin D. Roosevelt, serving with the Sixth Fleet. As a Rear Admiral, he commanded a carrier division with the Seventh Fleet in the Vietnam Campaign.
VADM Miller served with the Joint Staff for the Joint Chiefs of Staff and with the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff at Strategic Air Command Headquarters in Omaha, specializing in nuclear warfare planning. He also served in several significant positions with the Bureau of Naval Personnel and the Office of the Chief of Naval Operations in Washington including two tours as a flag officer in the office of the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations for Air Warfare.
Admiral Miller commanded the U.S. Second Fleet and NATO Striking Force in the Atlantic followed by a two-year tour as the Commander of the U.S. Sixth Fleet and NATO Striking Force in the Mediterranean. His final military service before retirement on 1 September 1974 was as the Deputy Director of the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff, the agency responsible for developing the nation's strategic nuclear warfare plans.
Miller attended both the School of Education and the Graduate School of Business at Stanford University, receiving a master's degree in personnel administration in 1950.
Military awards include: three Distinguished Service Medals (DSM), four Legions of Merit (LOM), the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal, seven Air Medals, and various other U.S. and foreign service awards.
Following retirement in 1974, Vice Admiral Miller served with the federal government as a consultant to the Office of the Secretary of Defense, the Arms Control and Disarmament Agency, the General Accounting Office and the Office of Technology Assessment. He later served as consultant to several defense industry corporations.
Other service included some time with the United Nations Association Panel on "Parallel Studies" that met periodically with a similar non-government delegation from the Soviet Union on issues concerned with international security.
In the professional business world, he was the President of a small analytic systems company. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of the Madison Square Garden Corporation and later on the Board of Gulf + Western, Incorporated. For several years he served on the Board of Directors of the Vinnell Corporation, a privately owned company specializing in public service, including military and vocational education, with emphasis in the Middle East. He is the Treasurer and member of the Board of Directors of Information Planning Associates, Inc., a small computer services company, privately owned. He was instrumental in the establishment of the Intrepid Sea/Air/Space Museum in New York City and served for many years as a member of its Board of Trustees. In addition he served as a trustee of the Zachary and Elizabeth Fisher Armed Services Foundation.
He was a founder and senior vice president of the Association of Naval Aviation, an educational corporation. He was also a founder and member of the Board of Trustees of the Naval Aviation Foundation, a non-profit organization supporting philanthropic activities. Jerry Miller served as the Chairman of the Golden (75th) Anniversary celebration of naval aviation.
He recently served for four years as a member of the Secretary of the Navy's History Advisory Board. He has been a frequent panelist and guest lecturer at various civilian and military colleges. Occasionally he authors articles on national security.
On 1 October 1996, he assumed the position of Ramsey Fellow at the National Air and Space Museum of the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C. A year later he became a research associate at the Museum. He recently completed a book, published by the Smithsonian Institution Press titled Nuclear Weapons and Aircraft Carriers: How the Bomb Saved Naval Aviation. A second book is under preparation, tentatively titled Stockpile: The Story Behind 10,000 Strategic Nuclear Weapons.
NUCLEAR WEAPONS AND AIRCRAFT CARRIERS
Or How the Bomb Saved Naval Aviation,
by Jerry Miller.
Washington, D.C.: Smithsonian Institution Press, 2001. 296 pp $32.95
Gordon I. Peterson, Senior Editor
Sea Power Magazine............Jone 2001
At a time when the efficacy, utility, and survivability of the U. S. Navy's big deck aircraft carrier and its multi-mission air wing are being challenged anew by armchair strategists and "Inside the Beltway" analysts, retired Vice Admiral Gerald E. "Jerry" Miller has contributed an important perspective on how the Navy's post-WWII efforts to develop an aircraft and aircraft carrier capable of delivering a nuclear bomb paved the way for the design of the most effective and versatile platform for seaborne aviation in the world today the Nimitz-class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier.
Miller documents each step along the way in an informative, easy-to-read style, eminently suitable for what might otherwise be an arcane treatise on engineering and aeronautical design. He turns back the pages of history more than 50 years to the day that then-CDR. Frederick Lincoln "Dick" Ashworth reported to Los Alamos, N.M., in 1944 to serve on the "Manhattan Project" to develop the first nuclear bomb. The need to document the story of the Navy's struggle to validate its postwar nuclear mission began with Miller's dialogue with Ashworth - himself a veteran combat aviator in the Pacific War.
The personalities, aircraft, ships, tactics, and targeting policies associated with the Navy's Cold War mission are all well represented, including the famous "Revolt of the Admirals" that saw respected naval leaders like ADM Arthur W. Radford, then Capt. Arleigh A. Burke, and others risk their careers to argue for the new role for the Navy in transporting, targeting, and delivering nuclear weapons.
Miller writes with a familiarity and authority forged by many years of command at sea during a distinguished 38 year career which included surface combat in a cruiser during World War II, command of a fighter squadron during the Korean War, and command of a carrier division during the Vietnam War. His experiences as the commander of both the U. S. Second and Sixth Fleets during the 1970s - and later, as deputy director of the Joint Strategic Target Planning Staff - provide the reader with fresh insights into the almost always highly classified story of how U. S. nuclear weapons were targeted during the height of the Cold War.
In 1991, President George Bush announced that all nuclear weapons would be removed from Navy ships and submarines. Naval aviation's more than four-decade association with nuclear weapons came to an end. But, as Miller writes, "The pre-nuclear carriers had a questionable future. The post nuclear carriers appear to have no limit."
Personal Note: As an aviator who had the privilege to serve as officer in charge of Miller's helicopter detachment during his tour as commander of the U. S. Sixth Fleet, this reviewer found it exhilarating to relive some vintage examples of Jerry Miller's dynamic leadership, energy, and vision on the pages of his first book and naval aviation. A second is said to be int he works. The legions of Jerry Miller fans around the world can only hope that more will follow.
Gordon I. Peterson, Senior Editor