Don Miller loved airplanes and began flying at age 16 in a Piper J-3 Cub. At 17 he earned his private pilot’s license. After high school, Don attended Michigan State University on an Air Force ROTC scholarship and was commissioned as an Air Force officer in 1961. His initial training was as a pilot of the F-102 Delta Dagger. He later transitioned to the F-100 Super Sabre.
Miller served in Vietnam, where he flew combat missions during the Vietnam War with the 509th Fighter-Interceptor Squadron out of Da Nang and Tan Son Nhut Air Bases. (Don Miller was the last person to fly the F-100 number 56-3440, which now hangs in the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum.)
After his service in Vietnam, he joined with the Michigan Air National Guard, finishing his military career at the rank of colonel. Prior to his military retirement, he served as commander of Selfridge Air National Guard Base and director of operations for the 127th Tactical Fighter Wing. While serving as base commander, he married Candice Miller. They were married for 35 years.
Miller received his law degree from the University of Detroit in 1982 and served for seven years as a magistrate on the state Worker’s Compensation Appellate Commission. In 1988 became a circuit court judge until his retirement in 2010.
“Don was well-respected for his judicial temperament and leadership qualities. He spent his entire adult life serving the citizens of this country in one capacity or another,” said Macomb Circuit Court Chief Judge James Biernat Jr., who was appointed to Miller’s seat when Miller retired. (1)
His love of planes never dwindled and he continued to fly, building and piloting his own aircraft. Judge Miller and his home-built RV-8 were well known at his local airport.