Eugene C. (Gene) Miller

Receive Silver Wings, Commissions in Army Air Corps
The largest class in the history of  the Central Unit of the Army Air Forces Training Command stepped out of the ranks of cadets into the ranks of the Army Air Forces' fighter and bomber pilots on February 8. 

The class graduated from the Command's eleven advanced schools in Texas and Oklahoma. The class was the second to graduate during 1944. 

Swelling the ranks of "the world's greatest Air Force" were graduates from every state and the District of Columbia. In addition, silver wings were awarded to pilots from Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Canada, Brazil, and Peru.  

Fighter pilots were graduated from fields at Eagle Pass, Aloe, and Foster Fields, Victoria and Mission, TX. Bomber pilots received their wings at Frederick and Altus, OK; Pampa, Waco, Houston, Lubbock, and Brooks Field, TX and Blytheville, AR.  

The new pilots include 11 men from Eau Claire and nearby communities. They are Lieutenant Gilbert F. Rubenzer, Bloomer, who was graduated from Foster  Field, Victoria, TX; Lieutenant Frederick W. Butscher, Boyd, who was graduated from Pampa Field, TX; Lieutenant Charles F. Krahn, 1566 East Madison Street, Eau Claire, graduated from Frederick Field, Frederic, OK; Lieutenant Henry W. Wollum, Owen, from Lubbock, TX. 

Lieutenant James Omer Bergerson, Strum, from Ellington Field, Houston, TX; Lieutenant Earl H. Madsen, Wheeler, from Brooks Field, TX; and Lieutenant Duane Glen Gehring, 24, son of Mr. and Mrs. Fred D. Gehring, Cameron, from Blytheville, AR. 

Lieutenant Richard D. Sibley, Hayward, Altus Field, OK; Lieutenant Raymond L. Cornwell, Rice Lake, Frederick Field, OK; and Lieutenant Alois E. Fencl, Rice Lake, from Lubbock Field, TX.

Additional information contributed by Gene Miller

AirForceCadets.gif (696444 bytes) Military Chronology Summarized
  • Wrote and passed tests for the enlisted reserve at Green Bay, Wisconsin, while working in the shipyard at Sturgeon Bay, WI in 1942
  • Called to actual training
  • Brief month at Sheppard Field, Texas, a sort of boot camp, while program adjusted for this class, destined for college training detachments, a new phase
  • Sheppard Field, Texas to Oklahoma Baptist University, Shawnee, Oklahoma, for about two months
  • Shipped to San Antonio Classification Center, San Antonio, Texas; then just across the road to the Cadet Training Center for a month of severe indoctrination.
  • Sent to Primary Flight School, Coleman, Texas, flying PT-19s
  • Sent to Greenville, Texas for basic training in BT-13 aircraft
  • Sent to Eagle Pass, Texas to fly AT-6s. My class of  44-B was also qualified in the P-40 fighter aircraft here
  • Selected for Instructors School at Randolph Field, San Antonio, Texas after gradation
  • Commissioned as a Second Lieutenant at Eagle Pass on February 8, 1944
  • Seven days leave after graduation and I managed to get home and marry Arline E. Romundstad of Strum
  • Ordered back to Eagle Pass as an instructor
  • Served until ordered to Perrin Field, Sherman, Texas on April 24, 1945 to teach instruments to advanced students
  • In July 1945 the Army Air Force was looking for pilots across the command who had lots of instrument time and put me on orders for B-17 transition at Sebring, Florida. This unit was then expected to move into the B-29 program, which was building up in the South Pacific. My wife Arline resided with me in Florida until the training was nearly finished and then took the train for Wisconsin because she was "expecting"
  • The war ended shortly before I was to be transferred to the B-29 groups, and the War Department stopped all training 
  • Discovered that commercial flying companies were flooded with ex-military pilots and decided to hurry back to college at the Stout Institute, Menomonie, Wisconsin, where I had studied a year prior to my shipyard experience 
  • After attending at Stout for a few months on leave, I went to Camp McCoy and was honorably discharged on September 11, 1945
  • Utilized my military flight experience to fly small planes for the next 50 years, crop spraying, aerial fox hunting, and taking pleasure flights
  • Became president of the Minnesota Flying Farmers in 1972, a group I enjoyed for 30 years

Colman Texs Tower Wait '03.jpg (33189 bytes)  The flight line at Coleman, Texas where I did my primary flight school in the Army Air Force back in 1943. 


Texas Flight Line '43.jpg (30098 bytes) The flight line with all the PT-19's lined up in rows. Boy, how I'd like to have an airport full of them these days and all are not in the picture. Ho.

Written to my wife Arline on 
February 14, 1997

Valentine's Day Anniversary

Valentine's Day was lucky for me,
Easy to remember, you see.
But to capture a wonderful wife,
With whom to spend all of my life.

We stood in the preacher's living room,
With none of possible war-time gloom.
We said our vows together there;
The pastor ended with a prayer.

For we knew not then our fate,
How long the war— how long to wait.
But we were young, without tears,
And now we're married 53 years.

Time passed quickly;
 it was great.
let us celebrate.

Love Gene








Valentines Day, 1944

I graduated from Fairchild High School with the class of 1940. I loved that old little town so much I wrote a book about it just after I retired. If you're curious, it is in the Library at Eau Claire.  It is FairchildWhen You and I Were Young.

UMC’s 29th Annual Ag-Arama to Honor Gene Miller