Dennis and Terrence Miller Papers, 1964-1971

Manuscript Collection #1296

  • Descriptive Summary
     
    Title: Dennis and Terrence Miller Papers
    Creator: Miller, Dennis "Denny"
    Miller, Terrence "Terry"
    Spinner, Stephen "Mike"
    Repository: ECU Manuscript Collection
    Language: English
    Abstract: This collection contains letters (1964-1967) written by brothers Terrence and Dennis Miller of St. Louis, Missouri, who joined the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. Letters written by Dennis Miller during 1967 document his time serving in Vietnam as part of 3rd BN, 60th Ord Co. Also included are letters written by fellow soldiers and friends (through 1971), service records, negatives, military payment certificates, and Vietnamese money.
    Extent: 0.9 Cubic feet, 2 archival boxes, Consisting of correspondence, negatives, currency, and military service records.
  • Description
     

    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.

  • Biographical / Historical Note
     

    Terrence “Terry” Clifford Miller was born to Clifford “Kip” and Edna Miller (nee Henderson) on March 5, 1941 in St Louis, Missouri. Terry joined the United States Army in 1964 and completed his basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. During his basic training he joined the cooking staff. Though he writes about how much he enjoyed his time in the Army, he suddenly dropped out for an unknown reason and returned home to his family. Instead, Terry decided to pursue a career in local restaurant and catering businesses. Over a lifetime he worked his way up to being promoted to a Food and Beverage Manager of many establishments including but not limited to; Butler’s Pantry, LoRusso’s Cucina, and The Culver Pavilion, a restaurant part of the Muny Opera, St Louis’ outside theatre. Terry passed away on June 13, 2011 at the age of 70. The obituary made no mention of a wife or children. Dennis “Denny” George Miller was born May 21, 1945, a few years after Terry. Denny was drafted by the United States Army in 1965 and much like his brother, completed basic training at Fort Leonard Wood. He also traveled for additional training to Redstone Arsenal, Alabama and Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In early 1967, Denny was sent to Vietnam where he completed his service there in 1968, taking a short leave in Tokyo, Japan. Denny returned to St Louis where he went into barbering school and has continued to live there. He kept in close contact with his friends and fellow soldiers, especially Mike Spinner, Gary Adams, and Michael Jendras. Clifford “Kip” Miller passed away on April 24, 1972 at the age of 57. His wife, Edna died years later on December 19, 2000. Father and son, Vernon and Stephen “Mike” Spinner kept in close contact with Denny after the Army. Vernon married a woman named Edith “Ede” nee Howard who also wrote to Denny. Mike attended college using his GI bill after working for a while delivering Coca Cola products; he married a woman named Susan “Suzie” or “Sue” in 1969. Mike and Sue had a son named Stephen Spinner on February 18, 1970. They also had another son by the name of Scott Spinner. Upon returning from the war, Mike returned to Lansing Michigan where he resides there today. Gary Adams moved to Washington State after the Army where he enjoyed hunting, fishing, and participating in Rodeos. Living in Coulee City, he married Ardell in 1969. Together they had three children: Wendy, Rowdy, and Rex. Gary later remarried to a woman named Gayle in 2011 and still resides in Coulee City. Michael Jendras married a woman named Sharon and moved from Chicago, IL to Bull Shoals, AR where they reside there today. They had a son in 1971 named Guy Jendras.

    Sources:

    Gaff, Dorthy. “Coulee City Neighbors in the News.” The News and Standard. October 13, 2011. Accessed February 16, 2017. http://cns.stparchive.com/Archive/CNS/CNS10132010p06.php?tags=gary|adams

    Nuwber. “Stephen M Spinner, MI.” Accessed February 16, 2017. https://nuwber.com/person/563a9bd2a219445d52977ec0

    Poe, Sue. “Great Weekend Despite Injuries.” The News and Standard. June 2, 1994. Accessed February 20, 2017. http://cns.stparchive.com/Archive/CNS/CNS06021994P04.php?tags=gary|adams

    Radaris. “Michael J. Jendraszkiewicz.” Accessed February 23, 2017. http://radaris.com/~Michael-Jendraszkiewicz/104039155

    Roberts, Dianne. “Adams boys Jr Rodeo winners.” The News and Standard. October 6, 1983. Accessed February 16, 2017. http://cns.stparchive.com/Archive/CNS/CNS10061983P08.php?tags=gary|adams

    Shepard Funeral Chapel . “Terry C. Miller.” Last modified June 15, 2011. http://www.shepardfuneralchapel.com/sitemaker/memsol.cgi?user_id=584986

    White Pages. “Dennis G Miller St Louis MO.” Accessed February 16, 2017. http://www.whitepages.com/name/Dennis-G-Miller/Saint-Louis-MO/5qpvfjf

    “Gary Adams Coulee City WA.” Accessed February 16, 2017. http://www.whitepages.com/name/Gary-Adams/Coulee-City-WA/a1d6nd4

    Others sources may be found in the Lansing State Journal and St. Louis Post-Dispatch digital archives

  • Administrative Information
     
    Accessions Information

    January 18, 2017, (processed), 0.90 cubic feet; This collection contains mainly letters written by brothers Terrence "Terry" and Dennis "Denny" Miller of St. Louis, Missouri, who joined the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. Terry's letters cover 1964 and discuss his basic training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Denny entered the Army in 1965 after being drafted and his letters discuss subsequent training at Fort Leonard Wood, Redstone Arsenal in Alabama, and Fort Bragg in North Carolina. He was sent to Vietnam in early 1967 and his letters continue from there through August of 1967. He also received letters through 1971 from fellow soldiers and friends. Also included are negatives taken in Vietnam, war service records, and Vietnamese money. Purchased with State funds from Between The Covers--Rare Books, Inc., Gloucester City, New Jersey.

    Acquisition Information

    Purchased from Between The Covers--Rare Books, Inc.

    Access Restrictions

    No restrictions

    Copyright Notice

    Literary rights to specific documents are retained by the authors or their descendants in accordance with U.S. copyright law.

    Preferred Citation

    Dennis and Terrence Miller Papers (#1296), East Carolina Manuscript Collection, J. Y. Joyner Library, East Carolina University, Greenville, North Carolina, USA

    Processing Information

    Processing completed March 13, 2017, by Janie Knutson.


Preliminary Inventory

Below is material taken from a preliminary inventory and represents content from the collection that is unprocessed.

  • Correspondence
     

    • Box 1
       
      Correspondence from Terry Miller 1964 Feb - July
      Correspondence from Dennis Miller 1965
      1966 Correspondence from Dennis Miller
      Correspondence from Dennis Miller Jan - March 1976
    • Box 2
       
      Correspondence from Dennis Miller 1967
      Correspondence from other soldiers and friends 1966-1967
      Jan - July 1968 Correspondence from friends and former soldiers
      Aug 1968-1971 Correspondence from friends

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Preliminary Inventory

  • Correspondence
     

    • Box 1
       
      Correspondence from Terry Miller 1964 Feb - July
      Correspondence from Dennis Miller 1965
      1966 Correspondence from Dennis Miller
      Correspondence from Dennis Miller Jan - March 1976
    • Box 2
       
      Correspondence from Dennis Miller 1967
      Correspondence from other soldiers and friends 1966-1967
      Jan - July 1968 Correspondence from friends and former soldiers
      Aug 1968-1971 Correspondence from friends

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