This collection consists of a series of detailed letters written by brothers, Dennis and Terrence Miller during and after their military service from 1965 to 1971. The letters are organized in folders based on the writer/s and year/s of correspondence. Terrence “Terry” Miller joined the United States Navy in 1965 and completed his training through Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. He recounts to his family, Clifford “Kip”, Edna, and younger brother, Dennis Miller his successes throughout boot camp. Along with his letters, Terry added drawings of target practice (1 March, 1965) and trench exercises (23 March, 1965), he completed throughout his time in Fort Leonard Wood. He kept records of the conditions of the Fort, weather, medical services, routines and regiments, and fellow soldiers. By the summer of 1965, Terry completed his training and became part of mess hall staff. Some of the letters Terry wrote were on official United States Army and Fort Leonard Wood stationary.
Dennis “Denny” Miller was drafted into the United States Army in 1965. Denny wrote home to his parents and brother on a consistent basis during the two years of his service. Like his brother, he too trained at Fort Leonard Wood but also trained in ammunitions work at Redstone Arsenal, Alabama and Fort Bragg, North Carolina. During his time in training, Denny wrote about holiday celebrations in the Army and popular sports and products of the era. In the beginning of 1967, Denny was deployed to Vietnam where his base suffered an attack by Vietnamese forces (February 4, 1967). He wrote on the Army’s response to the attack by increasing personnel, protection, and watch duties. Alongside security issues, he wrote about the diet provided to US soldiers, leisure time in or around the barracks, local weather and activities, grief felt over the death of a close friend, and samples of poetry from both Denny and his friends. Over the years, Denny wrote to his family on a series of stationary including: official United States Army, Fort Leonard Wood, United States Special Forces, Fort Bragg, North Carolina, 101st airborne division, map of Vietnam, and United States forces republic of Vietnam stationary. Included in his collection is two letters written on official United States Army armament forms.
The Miller’s kept in contact with friends and family during this time. Clifford and Edna Miller wrote letters to a Puerto Rican soldier and friend of Dennis’, Miguel Figueroa, who later sent them a colored photograph of himself. They also kept in contact with their nephew Larry Henderson, who served in the 25th infantry of the United States Army. Denny after leaving the Army in 1967, kept in close contact with his military friends and their families. Craig Cook wrote to Denny from Vietnam while serving in the Navy, giving an intimate description of his location and housing, which was built out of barges. Barbara Henderson, his cousin wrote to Denny on yellow and orange butterfly stationary on her excitement about seeing him soon. Stephen “Mike” Spinner wrote at length about working as a Coca Cola delivery driver, the use of his GI Bill, and dating and college dorm life for single men and women in the 1960s. His parents, Vernon and Edith “Ede” also wrote Denny through the years, mainly discussing the possibility of visiting their home in Lansing, Michigan and the activities of Mike. Robert Brooks sent newspaper clippings of an ex commander awarded for bravery in Vietnam. Roger Avok sent Denny a letter with a small Christmas card attached. Michael and his wife, Sharon Jendras wrote about the birth of their son in 1971. Other fellow soldiers that wrote to him about life after the Army and adjusting to civilian life include: Gary Adams, William Cserek, Larry Almauch/Almasch, and Douglas Hinebaugh.
In addition to letters, this collection contains Dennis Miller’s military documents and associated artifacts, such as Vietnamese currency, a US Army driving ID, and draft letters. During his time in different bases and Vietnam, Dennis took photographs of his friends and fellow soldiers, as well as the barracks around him. He kept a collection of 35mm photo negatives and slightly larger photo negatives available for researchers. Dennis also sent his family a series of holiday, birthday cards, and a
Pacific Stars and Stripes newspaper clipping. Both brothers sent their parents a postcard each, Terry’s blank but stamped with Fort Leonard Wood’s symbol and Denny’s depicting Fort Leonard Wood.