It’s Not All Monkey Business

In an age of laptop computers, smart phones and Skype, we often forget that thousands of people have spent millions of hours working on projects and creating technology that has made a historical difference. One such person is Brother C. David Miller PhD, who resides today at our Springfield Masonic Community (SMC). It should be noted that Brother Miller first lived at SMC from 2012 through 2015. In 2016, he moved to Lancaster, Ohio to be closer to his son and in 2017 he moved back to Springfield Masonic Community because he missed all the comradery.

Dave was born August 17, 1934 in Marietta, Ohio to Wilber and Dorothy Miller and grew up in Weirton, West Virginia. In 1978, Brother Miller was raised as a Master Mason and today celebrates his 39th year as such.

As a young man, Dave was captivated with airplanes. Dave loved airplanes so much that he would occasionally skip school, drive to Pittsburgh Airport and spend the day watching the planes land and take off. Dave graduated high school in 1953 and because of his love of “flight”; he enlisted in the United States Air Force. Dave discovered that he was naturally good in electronics and after basic training spent one year from the summer of 1954 to the summer of 1955 training, under Dr. Carl Miller, as an Air Force electronic technician, working on interceptor airplanes.

In the fall of 1955, Dave was stationed at Andrews Air Force Base in Washington, D.C. and worked in the Air Defense Command. During his time at Andrews AFB he was tasked with the repair and maintenance of interceptor fire control systems on the F86d Interceptor Airplane. At this time in history, our Air Force was shifting from shooting bullets to shooting rockets. Critical to that was a dependable radar targeting system. Dave’s greatest career endorsement happened when the test pilots flying the F86d demanded to fly the planes Dave calibrated because those radar targeting systems worked flawlessly.

On May 25, 1961 President John F. Kennedy delivered his speech to put a man on the Moon before a joint session of Congress. This speech inspired a country and created an industry that still stands as a treasured part of our National story.

Prior to that famous speech, Brother Miller received a phone call from his Air Force Professor, Dr. Miller, asking him to help with a special project at Holliman AFB in White Sands, New Mexico. At that time, Dr. Miller was testing space vehicles to make sure an astronaut could survive atmospheric changes as they launched into space.

In the summer of 1956 the special project was declared a success when Dr. Wernher von Braun and his team of scientists launched a monkey into space and it was recovered alive. The monkey reached a height of 236,000 feet, or 44.69 miles. Dr. Carl Miller and Brother Dave Miller successfully tracked the capsule due to their radar tracking process. This test proved that a man could survive launch and landing in the created space vehicle.

Soon thereafter, on May 5, 1961, Mercury Astronaut Alan B. Shepard, Jr. blasted off in his Freedom 7 capsule atop a Mercury-Redstone rocket. His 15-minute sub-orbital flight made him the first American in space. He was tracked on radar and splashed down safe and sound.

Today Brother Miller spends time with his 4 children and his 6 grandchildren. He holds a commercial pilots license and is an avid golfer.

Comments are closed.