Lt. Colonel John R. Millar, Jr.

Lt. Colonel John R. Millar, Jr.

Lieutenant Colonel John (Jack) Robert Millar, Jr.,was born on June 11, 1918, in Marietta, Georgia.  He graduated from Marietta High School in June, 1935, and from the Citadel in 1939, as a 2nd Lieutenant.

He entered United States Army Air Corps in March 1940, where he completed advanced training at Kelly Field, Texas, and received his wings in December, 1940.  He was assigned to Maxwell Field, Alabama, as a flight instructor and was transferred to Cochran Field, Georgia, as an instructor for the United States, and the Royal Air Force cadets.  In March, 1942, he was selected to represent the Southeast Training Command on a secret mission with the Royal Air Force, in England.  On August 17, 1942, he flew with the first B-17 raids over Nazi occupied Europe.  In 1942, General Eisenhower designated him to deliver the plans for the African Second Front Invasion to President Roosevelt and General Marshall at the White House.  Upon completion of this assignment, he was assigned to the Naval Air Station, Chamblee, Georgia, to work with the Navy’s instrument flying program.  In 1943, he was assigned to Randolph Field, Texas, where he wrote the Army Air Corps Instrument Training Manual.  The Air Corps Instrument Instructors School was opened in Bryan, Texas, in 1943, and Captain Millar was assigned as group commander.  In July, 1943, Brigadier General Kenneth Wolfe drafted Captain Millar to join the 58th Very Heavy Bombardment Wing Headquarters Staff in charge of instrument training for all B-29 pilots.  Major Millar requested a combat assignment and was named Squadron Operations Officer of the 793rd Squadron, 468th Group.

During 1942-43, the Bell aircraft B-29 plant was built in Marietta, Georgia, and upon completion, Millar landed the first military plane at what is now Dobbins AFB, Georgia, and flight tested many of the Bell planes.  He was assigned to one of Bell’s first B-29’s that he named the “Georgia Peach.”  The 58th Very Heavy Wing was destined for India and China, and in 1944, Major Millar and his crew flew the “Georgia Peach” to Kharagpur, India.  As planes and crews began arriving from the States, General Wolfe ordered Millar to fly across the Himalaya Mountains to the four China bases and establish instrument landing procedures for the B-29s.  In 1944, Millar and his crew took off from Chengtu, China, in the “Georgia Peach” for the first land based air raid over Japan.  The target was Yawata Iron and Steel Works, the flying time was over 17 hours and was the longest air mission ever flown at that time.  With this first mission over Japan, Millar became the only person to have flown on the first B-17 raids over Europe and first land based raid over Japan.  Millar flew 31 operational missions in the China-Burma-India theater.  The 468th Group history recorded that he set the record for hauling the most gasoline over the hump for storage in China. He rotated back to the states and was assigned to the Air Staff Course, Command and General Staff College.  He was subsequently reassigned to Smoky Hill AB, Salina Kansas, as director of flying training for all B-29 training bases.  He was at Maxwell Field, Alabama, when the first atomic bomb was exploded at Alamogorda on July 16, 1945.  Flying from Maxwell to Salina early in the morning of July 17, 1945, Millar encountered an electrical storm and was personally struck by lightning in the cockpit.  The resulting crash killed ten and three survived.  Major Millar was permanently injured and spent almost two years in hospitals.  He was promoted to Lt Colonel and retired on physical disability in December 1946.

John Millar graduated from Emory Law School in 1950 and received a PhD from Florida State University in 1954.