Miller stays and pursues hobbies in the retired area


ALTON EAST – St. Louis Regional Airport Manager David Miller plans to spend more time with his family and leisure time when he retires on January 1, he said.

Miller, 78, of East Alton, arrived in St. Louis Regional around 2003 from the Montrose Regional Airport in Montrose, Colorado.

“We don’t have any immediate plans, like relocating, as we are anchored in the community with a lot of other activities,” said Miller, of East Alton, speaking of himself and his wife, Cora Miller, whom he married in 1980..

“We’re going to take trips, meet up with grandchildren, that sort of thing,” he said. “Whether it’s music with city bands or working with the legendary Mustang Sanctuary or other activities, like ham radio, I will be able to spend more time on those activities. “

David Miller has won numerous community service awards including the Rotary Paul Harris Award and has been honored by the Metro Area Professional Organization as a business leader. Miller will serve as Field Marshal for Alton’s 104th Halloween Parade this year on Saturday, October 30.

Miller has participated in the Alton Halloween Parade every year as a volunteer Amateur Radio Operator and a member of the Lewis and Clark Radio Club for Amateur Radio Operators, which coordinates the logistics of the parade. He is a member of the Granite City Municipal Band, the Edwardsville Municipal Band, and the Dixie Dudes and Dance. He was a former clarinetist of the Alton Symphony Orchestra and is a past president and treasurer of the group.

Miller was the President of the RiverBend Growth Association in 2009 and attends the RGBA Past Presidents Board Meeting, which acts as the Executive Board of the RBGA Board of Directors.

He also sits on the Board of Directors of the Leadership Council of Southwestern Illinois, and its Military Affairs and Southwest Illinois Transportation Enhancements committees, as well as the Board of Directors of the Southwest Illinois Trade and Investment Council.

Miller, a native of Salina, Kansas, was operating the Montrose Regional Airport on September 11, 2001, when terrorists attacked the United States at New York’s World Trade Center. As the chief of that airport, Miller successfully ordered a shutdown of air traffic on September 11 and reopened the airport, the first in the state to do both without the initial direction of the Federal Aviation Administration. He also successfully advanced the St. Louis Regional Airport, invited more the public to educate the public with annual airport field events, helped expand West Star Aviation to the field of the airport and won lawsuits on behalf of the airport, thus saving taxpayers’ money.

Miller was the former volunteer emergency coordinator for Madison County Ham Radio Emergency Services and also maintained the county’s status as an official emergency station under the auspices of Madison County Emergency Management .

He is also a member of the board of directors and past president of the Illinois Public Airport Association and sits on the board of directors of the tourism office of Great Rivers and Routes of Southwest Illinois.

Miller attended the University of Denver for his undergraduate studies, immediately enlisting in the US Air Force thereafter in 1966, where he was stationed at Ellsworth Air Force Base, near Rapid City, in the South Dakota. While enlisted, he earned his master’s degree in public administration from the University of Northern Colorado, although he never set foot on his campus.

“Professors came to the airbase,” recalls Miller, who was on active duty for over 21 years as a pilot and officer, before retiring as a major in the mid-1980s.

He flew over 2,000 hours each in the KC-135 refueling aircraft as a gas tanker, then underwent cross-training as a B-52 strategic bomber pilot, flying over 2,000 hours. Between the two planes, Miller racked up 888 days in the conflict in Southeast Asia, which included northern and southern Vietnam, Cambodia and Laos.

Miller was part of the Strategic Air Command on a temporary assignment, which allowed him to continue his education during wartime.

When the conflict ended, he returned to the United States to Minot Air Force Base near Minot, North Dakota, where he served on strategic alert duty for nine months while active and where he ultimately retired.

While on active duty, he had an additional two-year assignment, taking him off the cockpit while still a reserve pilot, which started at Ellsworth Base and ended at Minot.

“I was lucky because I got into aircraft maintenance,” he said.

The supplement program evaluated landed Miller in the Philippines for two years, where he met his current wife who was also living on a US military base at the time.

Miller served in a command post function for four years and his last assignment as base operations at Minot Air Force Base prepared him for his civilian career managing regional airports.

He received several military decorations, medals, badges, citations, and a campaign ribbon during his military career, including an air medal with four oak leaf clusters in bronze, small arms expert, forces expeditionary medal armies, combat readiness medal; National medial defense service; Air Force Overseas Long Tour Ribbon, Vietnam Service Medal with One Silver Star and Three Bronze Stars, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with Combat Apparatus, Cross of Gallantry of the Republic of Vietnam with palm apparatus and Republic of Vietnam campaign medal.

His first civilian job was as Assistant Airport Manager in Flint, Michigan. From there, he served as an airport manager in Bismarck, North Dakota, then Alaska at airports in Juneau and Ketchikan, respectively, before landing at Montrose Regional Airport in Colorado, after which he came to St. Louis Regional in East Alton, where he has managed for almost 20 years.

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