Major General Kenneth P. Miles passed away Sunday, April 27, 2014, from prostate cancer, in his Palm Desert, Calif. home with his loving wife, Karen and close family members around him.
Ken Miles, an 86-year-old Palm Desert resident, died at home after a battle with prostate cancer, family friends said. He is interred at Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia.
During his life, he was a combat pilot who flew many missions over Korea, Japan and Vietnam for the United States Air Force. After he retired, he was a key figure in raising money for the air museum and for the McCallum Theatre for the Performing Arts in Palm Desert.
“He was the epitome of a gentleman and was a consummate warrior and a fantastic businessman,” museum chairman and CEO Fred Bell said. “He was a philanthropist and involved in the community in so many ways. He was a bright light in the valley. He was really a pillar of the community.”
Born in 1928, Miles served in the United States Air Force for 32 years. During his career, he flew 337 F-100 missions from 1967 to 1968 over Vietnam as Commander of the 614th TFS.
Miles received many honors and awards for his service, including the Silver Star, the third-highest honor given to military members for valor in combat. Other awards include the Legion of Merit medal, two Distinguished Flying Crosses and various other U.S. and foreign military designations.
After he retired from the military, Miles served on the board of the Palm Springs Air Museum. In 2010, the museum named its state-of-the-art Aviation Science Center in his honor.
And during a gala in February that honored decorated veterans, Miles pledged $250,000 for a new museum hangar that will house Vietnam-era aircraft.
“He certainly was a marvelous leader,” his wife, Karen Miles, told The Desert Sun on Sunday. “In the military, he was phenomenal — he did get a Silver Star — and he carried that leadership through everything he did.
Besides his wife, Miles is survived by three stepchildren — retired Col. Ross Miles and his wife Karen of San Antonio; Douglas Miles of Burlingame, Calif.; and Wendy Miles-Brower and her husband, Charles, of New York City — and by three grandchildren.