Donald W. Miller and I were Pledge Brothers to the Theta Xi Fraternity at Old Dominion University in Norfolk. We began our friendship in October of 1963 as a Pledge Class that endured the taunts and harassment of Brothers in the Fraternity.
I quickly discovered that Donald was an excellent Athelete from the Pledge / Brothers flag Football Game, in which a rag-tag group of Pledges Played the 2nd Place League team to a Tie. Miller was all over the place making plays, and at the end of the day - all we were trying to do was to kick their ass. As a Pledge Brother, he was loyal, and he could be counted on. Donald and I convinced other Pledges to kidnap one of the Brothers that had been harassing us way too much, and we made plans to drive him down to Knotts Island and Put him on the Last Ferry Across for the day. We Grabbed Michael Weeks at the end of a Convocation, and as soon as he saw the Pledges, Michael started giving us orders. Miller Said - "Screw You", You are coming with Us. Miller grabbed Weeks by the Arm, twisted it and held it behind his back, while we grabbed his other Arm and walked him over to my car parked close by. Boyd Nix, Joe McCain (Senator McCains' Brother), Miller, Myself, and a couple of other pledges Shoved Weeks into the Car, and we took off for North Carolina. About an hour along the Way, Boyd Nix stopped his Car and announced that the President had been Shot, were we going to continue with our plans. The Pledges Voted yes to a man, and we continued on to Knotts Island, where we put Michael Weeks on the Ferry for the Last Ride Over. Michael spent a night with the Methodist Minister at Knotts Island. A Week or So Later, the Pledges were Initiated into the Theta Xi Fraternity, and our Honorary Initiated Member was Admiral John S. McCain, Joe's Father. We were now brothers, and out of that pledge class - several of us would soon find ourselves in the U.S. Military, and on our way to Vietnam. Boyd Nix was a Pilot, Miller was a Lt. with the 2/27 Wolfhounds, and I became a Morse Intercept Operator - Intercepting the Air Defense Headquarters of North Vietnam. There were other brothers, but their names escape after 45 years.
Miller was involved in another Fraternity Incident, in which a competing Fraternity had dumped lime all over our house and yard. In getting back with the other Fraternity, Donald Miller and as car load of Brothers planned a Night attack on the other house. They had collected bushels of rotting crab shells and were going to dump them in the yard. As they were pulling up in the alley behind the Frat House, the Teke fellows came out with water hoses and water ballons - The Shells were Dumped, and the Guys were Trying to make their Get Away. Someone came up to the side of the Car and told them to get out, and Miller and another Brother grabbed his arm and started banging on it with their fists, and started moving their car down the Alley, when Red Police Lights came on. The Brothers were beating on a Undercover Cop, and were taken to Jail for Booking. The next day, Other Fraternities and Sorroties quickly Raised the Bond Money for their Bail and Came to the Defense of the Theta's. That raid was in the spring of 1965, and it would be the last time that I would see Donald Miller.
I arrived in country in October of 1968 and left the last day of September, 1969. I had no knowledge of what happened to Donald in February of 1969, as our unit at DaNang was experiencing the 2nd Tet offensive, with continuous Rocket Attacks. My days and nights filled with the ever expansive Air War in the North tracking and Supporting the Aircraft, with Warnings of MiG's being Launched, SAMS being Activated, Radar Schedules Changed, and Supporting SOG Missions North. Joe McCain's brother John McCain had been downed and was kept as a Prisoner at Hanoi Hilton. I knew about John's imprisonment, and I prayed for him often, but I didn't know about my other brothers at war, or did they know about me. It was mid 1970's before I discovered through a Fraternity Brother that Miller was a casualty, and that news broke my heart.
Gerald, Your Account of what happened to Donald is the First Account that I have Heard of Donald's Death and the details. I so appreciate the Missing Information that I have always wanted to know. I have an etching somewhere of Donald's name, and I have been to the wall for some of our group hit by a Rocket Attack in 1970. I am providing a couple of links to Vietnam Vets at the Wall, that cover some of my visits. Thanks so much for filling in the missing pieces.
I want you to know that Donald was a Solid Man, an Excellent Athelete, a Determined Individual, an EMT Volunteer at Norfolk General Hospital, and a Loyal Friend. Donald represented America's Best, and with this Information, I plan to contact some Old Dominion Leaders to see if they can name a Building or Honor Donald appropriately. He may one of the only members from Old Dominion to be lost in the war, I am not sure. His Memory needs to Live On.
A Brother's Salute to You Sir for Your Respect of the Lt. and protecting his memory. God Bless, and Lest We Forget.