Miller, Robert C. (691st)

Robert C. Miller

Biography:  Robert Christ Miller was born on September 3, 2017, in McLean County, Illinois. He was the son of Andrew Miller and Eva Herron and attended Carlock Grade School and graduated from Carlock High School in 1935. He then worked in a die cast foundry and as shown on his discharge, he was a core-maker.

Service Time:  Robert entered the service on April 24, 1941, at Chicago, IL and took his basic training at Fort Donelson, Tennessee, and was then assigned to the 131st Infantry. While on leave from the unit, on July 5, 1941, Robert married the former Dorothy Louise Hamilton, “Dot”, who born in McLean County as well and was the daughter of Harold Bruce Hamilton and Fern Oma Miller. The new couple would make their home in Normal, IL.

Robert received additional training at Camp Grant, IL and was promoted to Corporal on November 8th while at Camp Forrest, TN. Two months later on January 1, 1942, while still at Camp Forrest, he was promoted to Sergeant. At some point, later in 1942, he was chosen to attend OCS (Officer Candidate School) and was sent to Camp Hood, Texas, where he would take part in Officer Candidate Course No. 4, graduating on November 6th as a 2nd Lieutenant.

Now a Second Lieutenant, he was assigned to Company A’s 1st platoon of the 691st Tank Destroyer Battalion, which was stationed at Camp Hood at the time. The unit was sent to Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, just prior to participating in the Louisiana maneuvers in May of 1943. It was during his training that Robert qualified as an Expert with the M1 Rifle, Sub-machine gun and 75mm TD gun. He also qualified as a Marksman with the Pistol and Carbine. He additionally went to Field Artillery School for training in the use of an Odograph, which can produce a map of an area by just driving over it with an Odograph-equipped jeep.

The 691st shipped out from the Boston port on July 26, 1944, arriving in England on August 1st. By the end of the month, they had landed in Northern France and entered combat in September in Lorraine, France, equipped with 3″ towed guns. It was on November 5th near Toul, France that Robert was wounded and would later receive the Purple Heart Medal in recognition of those wounds. The 691st transferred to the Ardennes sector in December and shifted south again to join operations in the Saar region in February and March 1945. In late March, the 691st began conversion to M36 tank destroyers.

During the first week of April, the unit was partially converted to the new TDs in an effort to support the 65th Infantry’s advance into Germany, reaching Limbach in April. Robert received credit for each of the unit’s campaigns in Northern France, Rhineland, the Ardennes and Central Europe. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal per General Order No. 2 from the XII Corps dated January 6, 1945, for Meritorious Service for the period November 8th to 27th of 1944. He also received the American Defense Service Ribbon and the EAME Ribbon. He shipped home on October 29th, arriving back in the U.S., on November 9th. Robert left the service on January 15, 1946, at Camp Grant, IL, at the rank of Major.

Honorable Discharge

Although he was no longer in active service, Robert did join the ranks of the Army Reserves as a Reserve Commissioned Officer and was promoted to Major (Army of the United States) on September 10, 1946. He would eventually leave the reserves in July of 1953.

In his civilian life, Robert found work with the Phillips 66 company as a petroleum jobber, purchasing refined fuel from refineries. He also served as Director of the Bank of Carlock. He and Dot would have two daughters, Pamela, born in 1947, and Kathleen in 1952. In his spare time, Robert enjoyed hunting and bowling and was a member of the Carlock Christian Church, the Carlock Lions Club, the Bloomington Elks Club and the Danvers Masonic Lodge No. 742 AF & AM.

Robert passed away on June 10, 1992, and was buried in the East Lawn Cemetery in Bloomington, IL. Thank you to Robert’s daughter, Pamela, and her husband Doug, for providing the information and photos used in this tribute. Thank you also to Matthew Boal for providing additional information and to Find A Grave contributor, Tony Cannon, for the use of the grave marker photo.