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Lt. Miley, William M.

Lt. William "Buzz" Miley Jr. 511 PIR 11th airborne

Company G, 511th PIR 

February 12, 1922 - November 22, 2008 (Age 86) - Gravesite

Citations: Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal, Combat Infantry Badge with Star and the Master Parachutist Badge, World War II Victory Medal, American Campaign Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal

Bio: A U.S. Army Special Forces pioneer who fought in three wars passed away Nov. 22, in Memphis, Tenn.

Born into a long line of Soldiers, Miley served 31 years in the United States Army. He was commissioned through Infantry Officers Candidate School in 1942 at Fort Benning, Ga., and completed parachutist training in 1943. He served in combat in the Pacific Theater with the 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment, 11th Airborne Division.

After occupation duty in Japan, he served again in the 11th Airborne Division at Fort Campbell, Ky., in 1950-1951. Miley fought in Korea from 1951-1952 with the 187th Regimental Combat Team (Airborne).

Subsequently, he commanded the Airborne Department at Fort Benning from 1953-1955, and then served as the Secretary of the General Staff of the Berlin Command.

Miley completed Special Forces training at Fort Bragg, N.C. in 1961, and served as a Green Beret until his retirement in 1973. During 1964-1965, he served in Vietnam training South Vietnamese Airborne units. Miley returned stateside as the deputy commander of the 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne).

Needing a seasoned combat veteran, Lt. Gen. William P. Yarborough placed Miley as the director of the Special Forces School in 1968. Under Miley's leadership, Special Forces training became more formalized and standards were implemented for those Soldiers attending the course.

Among Miley's awards and decorations are the Silver Star, Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Purple Heart, Meritorious Service Medal and Air Medal. He earned the Combat Infantry Badge with Star and the Master Parachutist Badge. Miley was also inducted into the Officer Candidate School and Airborne Halls of Fame.

Miley is preceded in death by his parents Maj. Gen. William M. Miley Sr., and Julia Sudduth Miley of Starkville, Miss.

Miley is survived by his wife Rita of Starkville; one brother Jack Miley of Williamsburg, Va.; two daughters, Sara Baglin of Montgomery Village, Md., and Ellen Vick (Morgan) of Murrells Inlet, S.C.; two grandsons, Joel Vick (Jennifer) of Conway, S.C., and Todd Vick of Murrells Inlet, S.C.; and one great-grandson Cooper Vick of Conway, S.C.

To learn more about William's historic unit and the intrepid men who fought in it, you can order Jeremy C. Holm's new book, WHEN ANGELS FALL: From Toccoa to Tokyo, The 511th Parachute Infantry Regiment in World War II by visiting our online store or purchasing a copy wherever books are sold.