Gustavus Hindman Miller Smith was born 20 September 1921, Son of George Blackwell Smith and Emily Jameson Miller. He attended The Choate School for three years, graduating in 1939. He was particularly interested in the sport of crew. After Choate, he went to MIT where he earned his BS degree in 1943. He was commissioned on November 6, 1943 and went overseas, assigned to a battalion of Combat Engineers, in the spring of 1944.
Information from Judy Donald,
Choate Rosemary Hall Archives
The Silver Star was posthumously awarded to Second Lieutenant G.H. Miller Smith for gallantry in action in the vicinity of ***, France, on 8 October 1944. Lieutenant Smith, a platoon leader, was assigned the mission of destroying, by demolitons, a bridge across the *** River in enemy territory. As the demolition was to be done at night, Lieutenant Smith made a dayligth reconnaissance, accompanied by an enlisted man, and worked his way to a point about five hundred yards southwest of the bridge. The enemy placed small arms fire upon his position but, instead of withdrawing, he crawled forward alone, neutralized several enemy positions with accurate rifle fire, and captured six Germans. As he withdrew with his prisoners, he was mortally wounded by fire from consealed enemy positions. Lieutenant Smith’s courage, coolness, and zealous devotion to duty reflect the highest credit upon his character as an officer and upon the military service.
He was initially buried at Andilly Cemetery at Lay St. Remy, France and reburied at Lorraine American Cemetery, France, E, 31, 27
G H Miller Smith was my dad’s first cousin, and the two cousins grew up together. To my father (an only child), the bond with Miller was especially close as they were just one year apart in age.
Miller’s mother (Emily Miller Smith) was the sister of my dad’s father (Felix Grundy Miller). Miller was named for Aunt Emily’s father: Gustavus Hindman Miller. For the family, losing Miller in WWII was one of the most devastating events of their lives. I know my dad never really got over the loss.
The attached picture is of my dad (Felix Grundy Miller, Jr.) and Miller. My dad is on the left and Miller is on the right. (My dad served in the Pacific for the Navy during World War II). I’m not sure when/where the picture was taken, but they both look young!
Miller grew up on Lookout Mountain. My dad and Miller attended Sewanee Miltary Academy together for a few years. Today there is still a scholarship at St. Andrew’s Sewanee School honoring Miller that was established by Miller’s parents in 1947:
I’ve attached a picture of his name in the Sewanee Military Academy memorial in All Saints Chapel to alumni lost in World War II.
From there, Miller attended the Choate School in Connecticut for his last three years of high school and then went to college at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. We have a letter from an archivist at Choates who confirmed that Miller graduated from Choate in 1939. At MIT, in the Memorial Lobby in the area under the MIT’s Great Dome there are engraved lists for alumni who lost their lives in WWI, WWII, the Korean War and the Vietnam War. Miller’s name is included on the list for World War II.
Finally, in the National Archives in College Park Maryland are original documents detailing General Orders for issuing various awards. Members of the Coulthart family (no relation to us) have built a website dedicated to their family history. Part of that effort included cataloging much of the information at the National Archives related to the Army’s 134th Infantry Regiment.
In that website is a copy of the document and citation awarding the Silver Star to Miller. There are some indications that Miller may have also received the Purple Heart, but I have not been able to confirm that information.
Felicia Miller James