San Antonio in Bexar County, Texas — The American South (West South Central)
Wilber B. Miller
Team Leader / Maintenance Personnel
— 1900–1994 —
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 map. Marker is in this post office area: San Antonio TX 78222, United States of America. Touch 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); USAF Officer Candidate School (approx. 3½ miles away); OCS Class 62-A (approx. 3½ miles away); Aviation Cadets (approx. 3½ miles away); One More Roll (approx. 3½ miles away); Order of Daedalians / Fighter Aces Association (approx. 3½ 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. “Kelly Forever” the Kelly AFB Veteran’s Monument. (Submitted on February 20, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland.)
2. Wilber Miller's Story: Black Air Force Civilians in World War II. (Submitted on February 24, 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
He eagerly demonstrated his diverse talents and aptitudes at every opportunity and was ready at the start of World War II when he was promoted and called upon to select the first African American candidates for the expanded (but still racially segregated) employment opportunities that were suddenly created. He was subsequently tasked with choosing and leading those who would be sent to Tuskegee, Alabama where the country’s “Black Air Force” was taking shape. Ably assisted by his friend and fellow Duncan employee Ollie Watson, Miller and his team of 49 men and one young woman (Ms. Virginia Porter) received advanced training under White instructors as they established the new air depot at Tuskegee Army Air Field and provided ongoing maintenance support for the primary phase training aircraft used by the now legendary “Tuskegee Airmen.”
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
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 January 25, 2020. It was originally submitted on February 20, 2008, by Richard E. Miller of Oxon Hill, Maryland. This page has been viewed 2,699 times since then and 89 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.