BOUNTIFUL - Jan. 23 was a day to remember the sacrifices made by the late Sgt. Marvin Jewell Miller of Bountiful.
Sen. Orrin Hatch presented five military medals to Miller’s daughter, Lorraine Fisher, in a ceremony at his Salt Lake City office.
Miller was shot down by the Germans during World War II and held as a prisoner of war.
The medals replaced the originals that had been lost.
Miller earned a Purple Heart along with the Air Medal with One Bronze Oak Leaf Cluster, the European-African-Middle Eastern Campaign Medal and the World War II Victory Medal/Honorable Service Lapel Button WWII.
“Staff Sgt. Miller belongs to a brave and select group of individuals: American Prisoners of War who were able to survive their ordeal and return home," Hatch said.
Miller was a gunner on his 20th mission when he was shot down. He was forced to march nearly 500 miles in the extreme cold.
“He certainly exhibited the qualities of strength and courage that define our nation’s veterans,” the senator said.
Miller was part of the 776th Bombardment Squadron, 464 Bombardment Group and received the Purple Heart for injuries sustained while being shot down in a B-24 in August of 1944 during a mission near the Austrian border.
He remained a POW until April 26, 1945.
“He walked the Black March,” Lorraine Fisher said of her dad’s ordeal as a POW. “They sent them out on foot from the prison camp. It was 500 miles they marched back and forth along the lines.”
The Russian Army was reportedly planning to liberate the servicemen, but the Germans did all they could to prevent that, Fisher said.
Besides extreme cold, she said “…there were the hunger issues. They didn’t ever know when they were going to eat. The thing that was really devastating was not being able to bathe. They had issues with lice.”
Some of the men suffered frostbite and even died, Fisher said.
“He was always very positive, always found something good to say about it,” she said.
When attending an Air Show years later with a cousin, he declined a ride on a B-24, saying the last time he rode in that aircraft, he was shot down and had to walk 500 miles.
“He had a good sense of humor,” Miller’s daughter said of her father, who died at age 87 in November of 2012.
“He’d call me up and tell me a joke or several of the day, always helping me to laugh,” she said.
Miller eventually shared his story with several of his grandchildren’s school classes, and also spoke at Hill AFB.
Miller and his late wife Luella had 10 children, 64 grandchildren and 103 great-grandchildren.
He met his wife while serving an LDS mission in Ohio. He graduated from Brigham Young University with a degree in physical education.
Professionally, Miller worked as an air traffic controller for the FAA. He also was a circulation manager for Newspaper Agency Corporation.
He passed away on Nov. 21, 2012.