March 16, 1944

Four sons of Mr. and Mrs. Eli Miller, of rural route one, Cecil, are now serving Uncle Sam in the Army. Two of them, Edwin and Joseph, have seen service overseas. T/Sgt. Edwin Miller is attached to a signal outfit in North Africa, and Pvt. Joseph E. Miller, a paratrooper, is now convalescing in a hospital somewhere in northern Ireland from injuries sustained in making one of his daring drops behind enemy lines. Sgt. Eli Miller is on maneuvers in Arizona and Pvt. Mose Miller is now in training at Camp Wheeler, Ga.

Local lad tells of ‘chute drop behind enemy lines

-Paratrooper Joe Miller Injured in Fall, Spends 2 weeks behind enemy lines

How one of the Army’s paratroopers dropped behind the enemy lines in Sicily, and dragged himself along with his group for two weeks to avoid capture in spite of a serious injury is told in a graphic story by “Lucky Joe” Miller sent to his parents from a hospital somewhere in Ireland. His letter follows:

Feb. 16, 1944.

“Dear Mother and Father, Will try to scribble a few lines this afternoon. I am feeling pretty good for the shape I am in. They put a body cast on me Monday and it nearly drove me crazy, but I am getting used to it now so maybe I will get some sleep tonite. The Major said he would look at it in about ten days, maybe it will do some good, but my hip is in bad shape. It aches all the time and I don’t think they can do anything about it. It didn’t bother me much ‘till we got over in Ireland in the damp cold weather. and I caught a bad cold.

Well, the way it happened was the night we jumped in Sicily. I landed in a grape arbor on a hill of grapes with my right foot, and my left one went into a hole. All my weight went on my right leg and busted my hip and knee. But the other boys said not to let a little thing like that bother me, so I went along for the simple reason I didn’t care to stay there and fight those jerries alone.

So I dragged myself along and am lucky I did. Our medical first aid man is a prisoner of war since that morning. I kept up with the rest and we didn’t get any help or couldn’t get through the enemy lines to our own side for about two weeks. By that time I was used to the pain so never went to the hospital when we went back to Africa. The doc gave me ten days off duty to rest up a bit, then I went along to Italy and jumped there, which didn’t help me any, but I made a good landing. The weather was fairly nice so I went on through Salerno to Naples where we went in a rest camp for seven weeks, then came over to North Ireland to rest some more.

But, I think my war has come to an end, but I would like to go along to the Continent. But they think they are going to send me back to the States. Well if they insist, what can I do about it?

My kidneys are all right and my liver went back in place since they put this body cast on me, so maybe I’ll live after all and be back home in about two or three months. So start saving pork chops and chickens and noodles as brush up on your good cooking, Mom.

I guess I forgot how to write a letter, so will finish starting this by hoping it reaches you all in the best of health

Your son,

LUCKY JOE”

Pvt. Miller’s relatives had not received any news concerning his whereabouts from Sept. 1943 until Jan. this year (1944). When he enlisted in March 1942, he was employed as a plumber in Fort Wayne, Ind.