William M. Miley
|William Maynadier Miley|
Major General William Miley
December 26, 1897|
Fort MacArthur, California
|Died||September 24, 1997
|Place of burial||Oddfellows Cemetery|
|Service/branch||United States Army|
|Years of service||1918-1955|
|Commands held||17th Airborne Division|
|Battles/wars||World War I
World War II
|Awards||Distinguished Service Medal (2)
Bronze Star (2)
(Mississippi State University)
William M. Miley was born at Fort MacArthur in California, to Sara Miley and Lt. Col. John D. Miley (for whom Fort Miley Military Reservation was named). His family had a long history of military service, with three generations before him serving in the United States Army. Two great-grandfathers, his grandfather, his father, his great-uncle, his uncle and his son all graduated from West Point.
Education and World War I
Miley himself attended West Point, where he earned a national intercollegiate championship in gymnastics (in the tumbling, rings, and parallel bars events), and graduated in 1918. Immediately after graduation he served in the First Division in France (during World War I).
Inter War Service
Following World War I, Miley held a series of assignments, including as a professor of military science at what was then Mississippi State College, in Starkville, Mississippi. It was during this time that he met and married his wife, Julia Sudduth. Other assignments included serving as Athletic Director at West Point, and infantry assignments in Panama, the Philippines, and at Fort Sam Houston.
World War II and later
After his promotion to lieutenant colonel, he was ordered to organize and command the 503rd Parachute Infantry Regiment. Shortly afterward he was appointed Assistant Division Commander of the 82nd Airborne Division at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, serving under General Matthew Ridgway.
In 1943, Miley organized the activation of the 17th Airborne Division at Camp Mackall in North Carolina. He was the sole commander of the 17th during the war, leading the Division through such actions as the Battle of the Bulge and Operation Varsity. The Division was deactivated in 1945, but reactivated briefly in 1948 as a training unit.
After the war, Miley was appointed to command the 11th Airborne Division while it occupied Japan, and after its return to Fort Campbell, Kentucky. He had several later assignments, including serving as Director of the Joint Airborne Troop Board, Commander of United States Army Alaska, under the Alaskan Command. He also served as Chief of Staff of the former Continental Army Command (which became The United States Army Forces Command in 1973). He retired from the military in 1955, with a rank of major general.
Following his retirement from the military, Miley worked for Merrill Lynch, Pierce, Fenner & Beane, until his retirement in 1976, at which time he returned to Starkville, Mississippi. General Miley was the second to last living division commander of World War II. He died in Starkville in Sept 1997 at the age of 99. Only Major General Ralph C. Smith of the 27th Infantry Division would live longer, passing away in January 1998 at the age of 104.
Awards and decorations
|Army Distinguished Service Medal with oak leaf cluster|
|Bronze Star with oak leaf cluster|
- Bio of Maj. Gen. Miley. Retrieved on December 29, 2009.
- U.S. Army Infantry Homepage
- SB2888 (As Sent to Governor) - 1998 Regular Session