A photo of deceased U.S. Air Force Airman 2nd Class Edward J. Miller, who died in a plane crash in 1952 in Alaska, is displayed with a single dog tag, debris from the plane crash and a letter telling the family that these items were recovered from the crash.

After his military transport plane crashed into an Alaskan mountainside nearly 70 years ago, Edward J. Miller is finally coming home.

On Friday, July 16, Miller will be transported to the Ward-Hurtley Funeral Home en route to Maple Hill Cemetery in Evansville, where he will be laid to rest.

Starting at Mitchell International Airport in Milwaukee, a military convoy—to be joined by the Rock County Sheriff’s Office and Evansville Police Department—will escort Miller and members of his family along a route leading to the funeral home.

According to a news release from the Evansville Police Department, the convoy will depart the Piggly Wiggly on the east side of Evansville at 6:30 p.m. and continue west on Main Street, then south on Fifth Street before reaching the funeral home.

The release encourages members of the public to show their respects by lining Main Street during the procession. There will be no parking on East Main Street or on the north side of West Main Street from First Street to Fourth Street.

On Saturday, July 17, Miller will be buried with full military honors graveside at Maple Hill Cemetery. The service is slated to begin around 1 p.m. and is open to the public.

Full military honors include a seven to 20-member Honor Guard team who provide pallbearing support, flag folding, a color guard team and a three to seven-person firing party. Taps will also be played by members of the team.

Miller, an Evansville man and former U.S. Air Force Airman 2nd Class of the 1701st Aerial Port Squadron, died Nov. 22, 1952, after a transport plane he was on crashed into a glacier on a mountain 45 miles east of Anchorage, Alaska.

The wrecked plane and everyone aboard were buried under ice and snow after several days of blizzard conditions.

It wasn’t until a series of search-and-recovery missions during the summers between 2012 and 2019 that the remains of Miller and all but a few of the other 51 servicemen were discovered and identities confirmed. The story of the recovery of the men’s remains was featured in The Gazette last month.

According to his obituary, Miller was being relocated to Alaska on the day of the crash and was one of 52 passengers aboard an Air Force C-124 Globemaster. It would be another year before the wreckage was discovered, but severe weather and terrain conditions hindered recovery attempts for decades.

Miller is survived by sisters Dorothy Miller Wheaton and Nancy Miller Cox, who both reside in Florida.


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