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By admin | September 1st, 2009

Col. John Miller, 2009 Denig winner dies suddenly

Col. John Grider Miller (USMC Ret.)

Col. John Grider Miller (USMC Ret.)

Retired Marine Colonel John Grider Miller, selected as this year’s recipient of the Brig. Gen. Robert L. Denig Memorial Distinguished Performance Award, died suddenly at his home in Annapolis, MD on Monday, August 31.

Miller was to have received our prestigious award on September 17 at our annual Merit Awards Banquet in Hampton, VA.  Cause of death is not known at this time.  Funeral arrangements will be announced as they are received.

Colonel Miller has been one of the Corps most prolific writers as Deputy Director of History and Museums and as speechwriter to three Commandants.  Following retirement he served 15 years as Managing Editor of the U. S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings Magazine.   He is best known for his book, Bridge at Dong Ha – the John Ripley story – optioned as a motion picture.  At his death he was engaged in writing a history of the Marine Barracks at 8th and I. 

His nomination by past president Keith Oliver is as follows:

John has been one of the Corps’ most prolific (and consulted) literary keepers of flame since his company grade officer days, wrapping up an illustrious infantry officer’s career as Deputy Director of History and Museums and speechwriter to three Commandants.

More importantly, and in keeping with the Denig Award’s criteria, he has been a tireless wordsmith on behalf of the Green Machine, relieving the great Clay Barrow as Managing Editor of the U.S. Naval Institute’s Proceedings magazine. During a robust, 15-year run, John succeeded in making the USNI mission and publications properly Marine Corps-flavored, bringing a new, editorial balance that served to make the Navy-Marine team a reality for an entire generation of our most talented leaders. He also helped stand up Naval History magazine in 1988 and was named managing editor of that fine publication, as well.

In addition to also writing for a wide number or periodicals as “John Grider Miller” (his literary name in honor of his Godfather, John M. Grider), he authored several books of special interest to Marines – none more so than his The Bridge at Dong Ha (the John Ripley story) which has been optioned as a motion picture. He is also engaged in writing a novel and a Marine Barracks 8th and I history.

A conference speaker at our Atlantic Beach confab, John has always found time to support the USMCCCA as well as any number of Marine Corps causes and organizations. He has been a particular and effective encouragement to numerous CC’s whom he helped “break into print” in both books and professional journals.

More widely, through one-on-one education More widely, through one-on-one education, lectures and editorials, John Miller’s positive stamp upon his fellow citizens’ Corps consciousness is peerless. He is a recipient of the Marine Corps Heritage Foundation’s Distinguished Service Award (1998) and the Navy League’s Alfred Thayer Mahan Award.
Small world department: Brigadier General Denig was a Naval Academy classmate of John’s father (and wife, Susan’s, father).


1 comment to Col. John Miller, 2009 Denig winner dies suddenly

  • avatar Bob McEwen

    One of the finest. I was honored that he joined us at Atlantic Beach conference. Who will fill his shoes? Every generation seems to bring forth such a leader in our discipline.

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