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Colonel John G. Miller, USMC (Ret.)

Former Managing Editor, Proceedings and Naval History Magazines

August 23, 1935 – August 31, 2009

Memorial Service Information

From the Miller Family

Former Proceedings Managing Editor John Miller died suddenly at his home in Annapolis, Maryland on Monday, August 31 – nine years to the day after completing 15 years of distinguished service to the U. S. Naval Institute. He was 74 years old. 

John's career as an infantry officer included command of a U. S. Marine battalion and service as an advisor to the Republic of Vietnam Marine Corps. In the latter portion of his years in uniform, he served as Deputy Director of the Marine Corps' History and Museums Division and speechwriter to three Commandants of the Marine Corps.

Joining the U. S. Naval Institute staff on September 19, 1985, John began a strong editorial contribution first to Proceedings, then to Naval History magazine, which he helped establish in 1988 – serving as managing editor of that publication, as well.

"John truly cared about the naval profession and the Marines, Sailors and Coastguardsmen who served," said Fred Rainbow, Proceedings editor in chief during the years of John's service. Miller, he said, "was a force for good in maintaining the integrity of the Proceedings open forum."

"John Miller was the consummate old-school editor," recalled Fred Schultz, present managing editor of Proceedings, "for the most part shunning the computer to do his wordsmithing. Instead, he deployed what he referred to as his 'stubby red pencil' to polish copy that eventually made its way to the pages of Proceedings. Many past Naval Institute authors have John to thank for making their prose sing."

Writing for a wide range of periodicals as "John Grider Miller" – he took his literary name in honor of his Godfather, John M. Grider – he authored several books of special interest to Marines, most notably The Bridge at Dong Ha, in which he detailed the heroism in Vietnam of Navy Cross recipient John Ripley.

His work over the years garnered significant recognition. Among other honors, he was recipient of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation's Distinguished Service Award and the Navy League's Alfred Thayer Mahan Award.

"John personified all that was best about the Naval Institute editorial staff," noted the Naval Institute's CEO, retired Marine Corps Major General Tom Wilkerson. "Our prayers are with his wife Susan and all those who loved, respected and served with this good Marine."

At the time of his death, John was engaged in writing a novel and a history of Marine Barracks, Washington, D. C. He had been selected to receive a 2009 Distinguished Performance Award from the U. S. Marine Corps Combat Correspondents Association. Presentation had been scheduled for late September. His nomination for that honor praised his "particular and effective encouragement to those he helped 'break into print' in both books and professional journals."

A memorial service for John Miller will be held Saturday, September 5 at Calvary United Methodist Church, 301 Rowe Blvd, Annapolis, MD (410-268-1776).

A visitation will be held Friday, September 4 from 7 to 9 p.m. at John M. Taylor Funeral Home, 147 Duke of Gloucester St, Annapolis, MD (410-263-4422). 

A memorial service will be held at the Fort Myer Chapel Monday, December 7 at 11 a.m., followed by internment with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.



From the Miller Family


Colonel John Grider Miller, USMC (Ret) died at his home in Annapolis, Maryland on Monday, August 31, 2009 from natural causes. He was 74. 

Colonel Miller was born in Annapolis, Maryland on August 23, 1935, son of John S. Miller (U. S. Naval Academy '32) and Ruby Young Miller, and grandson of Mr. and Mrs. William O. Young of Conduit Street and Edgewater. 

He was raised in the Washington, D. C. area and commissioned in the Marine Corps in 1957, upon graduation from Yale University. After four years of infantry duty in California and on Okinawa, he was assigned to the Marine Barracks, Washington, D. C., the oldest post and ceremonial heart of the Corps. After a student tour at the U. S. Army Infantry School and Airborne School, Fort Benning, Georgia, he served in Vietnam as a rifle company commander (and later assistant operations officer), of the 1st Battalion, 1st Marines. 

Colonel Miller next served in Norfolk, Virginia in the Atlantic Command before returning to Vietnam in 1970 as an advisor to the South Vietnamese at the battalion, brigade, and division levels. During his next tour, at Headquarters U. S. Marine Corps, he served as principal speechwriter for Marine Commandants Chapman, Cushman, and Wilson before attending the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island. He went on to command the 1st Battalion, 8th Marines at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina and Battalion Landing Team 1/8 in the Mediterranean.

Colonel Miller returned to Washington, D. C. for duty with the Operations Division at Headquarters, U. S. Marine Corps. In his final field tour on Okinawa, he served as Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3 (Operations and Training) for the III Marine Amphibious Force, covering the western Pacific and Indian Oceans. He retired in Washington, D. C. in 1985, as Deputy Director of Marine Corps History.

In retirement, he returned to Annapolis to serve as Managing Editor of the Naval Institute's Proceedings and Naval History magazines for 15 years. He wrote four historical books and received author-of-the-year awards from the Marine Corps Historical Foundation and the Naval Institute , as well as lifetime-achievement awards from the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation and the Navy League of the United States. He was a member of the St. Crispin Society, which recognized his military service and Shakespearean training ("…we happy few, our band of brothers." ) He received the 2009 Brigadier General Robert L. Denig Memorial Distinguished Performance Award, signifying lifetime achievement in promoting the U. S. Marine Corps.

Locally, he was a long-term member and officer of The New Providence Club, the Military Order of the World Wars, and the Annapolis Civitans. He sang with the Annapolis Chorale and the Calvary Choir of Calvary United Methodist Church.

Colonel Miller is survived by his wife of 34 years, Susan Bailey Miller (another Navy '32 junior); a brother, Brian Miller of Winston-Salem, N. C.; son John C. Miller of Manhattan Beach, California; daughter Alison Birmingham of Frederick, Maryland; daughter Kerry Cole of Madison, Wisconsin; and four grandchildren.

The family requests that in lieu of flowers, memorial donations be made to (1) The Music Fund at Calvary United Methodist Church, 301 Rowe Boulevard, Annapolis, MD 21401; or (2) the National Museum of the Marine Corps , c/o The Marine Corps Heritage Foundation, 3800 Fittler Park Drive, Suite 104, Dumfries, Virginia, 22025.

A memorial service will be held at Calvary United Methodist Church on Saturday, September 5, 2009 at 10:00 AM. A reception will follow at the church.

Visitation will be held on Friday evening, September 4, 2009 from 7 PM to 9 PM at John M. Taylor and Sons Funeral Home at 147 Duke of Gloucester Street, Annapolis, Maryland.

A memorial service will be held at the Fort Myer Chapel Monday, December 7 at 11 a.m., followed by internment with full military honors at Arlington National Cemetery.

Funeral arrangements are under the direction of John M. Taylor and Sons, Annapolis.(410) 263-4422.


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