San Antonio in Bexar County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
Wilber B. Miller
Team Leader / Maintenance Personnel
— 1900–1994 —
In 1941, the War Department announced the creation of the 99th Pursuit Squadron, the first all-African American combat unit in the Army Air Forces. This unit trained at Tuskegee Institute in Alabama. Fifty African-American Kelly workers (49 men and 1 woman) left Texas to serve as mechanics and support personnel for the Tuskegee Flying School. Team leader for this “49+1” group from Kelly was Wilber Miller. The spirit and dedication of these trailblazers is a continuing legacy and a reminder of the heritage of service to our nation shared by all of Kelly’s African-American personnel.
Erected 1995 by Kelly Heritage Foundation.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African Americans • Air & Space • War, World II. A significant historical year for this entry is 1941.
Location. 29° 23.512′ N, 98° 33.471′ W. Marker is in San Antonio, Texas, in Bexar County. Marker can be reached from So. General McMullen Drive, half a mile south of U.S. 90. It is at the Kelly Air Force Base Veteran’s Monument in Memorial Park. Touch for mapTouch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Kelly Air Force Base (approx. 0.6 miles away); "Kelly No. 2" Flight Line (approx. 1.1 miles away); Lydia Mendoza (approx. 1.9 miles away); Our Lady of the Lake University (approx. 2˝ miles away); Alejo de la Encarnación Pérez (approx. 3.2 miles away); Col. José Francisco Ruiz (approx. 3.2 miles away); Placido Olivarri (approx. 3.2 miles away); Moses Lapham (approx. 3.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in San Antonio.
More about this marker. Marker is beneath the bust of Wilber B. Miller, one of fourteen notable civilians and servicemembers so commemorated in the “ring of honor” at the Kelly Air Force Base Veteran’s Monument in Memorial Park, just inside what was once the main entrance to the Kelly Air Force Base, an area now known as “Port San Antonio.”
Also see . . .
1. Wilber Britt Miller. Find A Grave website entry (Submitted on September 26, 2022, by Larry Gertner of New York, New York.)
2. “Kelly Forever” the Kelly AFB Veteran’s Monument. (Submitted on February 20, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
A San Antonio native, Wilber Miller was a U.S. Navy veteran of World War I and also served with the U.S. Army's 25th Infantry Regiment on the Mexican border in the early 1920s. In 1935 he secured the coveted position of a mechanic’s helper (the only civil service rating for which Blacks were eligible at the time) at what was then known as Duncan Army Air Field.
In 1944 Miller was re-called to San Antonio where (not surprisingly) stresses were developing within the greatly expanded and newly diverse civilian work force (Anglo-, Latino- and Afro-American) that threatened to explode into the kind of violence that plagued similar communities around the country. Miller found himself in a “hot seat,” given the job of “Employee Counselor for Negroes.”
A member of Kelly’s multi-ethnic Morale Committee, he also chaired a separate Negro Morale Committee organizing
In 1946 he received an Award of Merit from the Commanding General of Kelly Air Force Base for his wartime contributions, and by the time of his retirement in 1970 he had accumulated over twenty citations for outstanding service.
— Submitted February 24, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.
Additional keywords. Kelly AFB Veteran’s Monument; Kelly AFB Veteran’s Memorial Park; Ollie Watson; Virginia Porter; Navy messmen; 25th Infantry.
Credits. This page was last revised on September 26, 2022. It was originally submitted on February 20, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 2,792 times since then and 81 times this year. Last updated on September 10, 2012, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. Photos: 1. submitted on February 20, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. 2, 3. submitted on February 24, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. 4. submitted on May 15, 2011, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. • Craig Swain was the editor who published this page.