An OKGenWeb Project
Contributed by Don Milner
ALL eleven sons of Jonas Milner served this country in uniform this past century. Al and Lynn Milner died in service during WWII and their names are inscribed on the war memorial at the state capitol. Also, see below news article from DAILY OKLAHOMAN about each in service.
The Daily Oklahoman
Wednesday, November 10, 1999
You bet Your Life!
by Ann DeFrange
There were no military heroes in our family, but we did have a lot of dedication and history spread over the century.
Don Milner wrote that in the cover letter for the material that arrived just in time for Veterans Day.
Disregard it. Don Milner is badly mistaken.
Not about the dedication and the history. About the heroes.
The package included a composite photo of 12 men wearing the uniforms of varied periods of different branches of the American Armed Services. They are baby-faced, but brave. They are handsome and aware of it. They appear to be uncertain of their futures, but determined.
They are Jonas Milner, who never served in the military, and his sons, all of whom did.
Jonas came to Allen, in Pontotoc County, in 1893, when he was 14. He farmed and raised cattle and brought oilfields rights. He married three times, outliving wives Dora, Mamie and Lillie, who together gave him 18 children.
Eleven of them were sons. All 11 served in the U.S. military.
Six sons saw active duty during World War II. Two died then.
With the letter and the photo is a copy of a story from a 1944 publication. It freezes the six older Milner men in time.
The eldest were twins. Orvid and Olvid, born in 1907.
Orvid joined the Army in 1941. He was busted from sergeant to Pfc for drinking and fighting, but he spent part of 1944 driving an ambulances at Anzio Beachhead.
Olvid was a mess sergeant in England. Even that was a risky assignment and Olvid won a Purple Heart for the shrapnel wound in his stomach.
Jonas Jr., born in 1920, served in the Army Air Corps, was stationed on the East Coast in the signal corps; he left the service as a captain.
Al entered the military, as several of his brothers did, through
the Alien unit of the Oklahoma National Guard. He was called to active duty with the 45th
Division and was a training sergeant in Texas when, in 1942, the 20 year old was driving
home on a New Year furlough Near Sulphur, he was killed in an auto wreck.
Because he died a wartime soldier, his name is engraved on the military memorial at the state Capitol.
Everett was the son born in 1924 and called to active duty in the National Guard. By age 20 the boy from Allen was a staff sergeant who had been to Africa, Sicily, India, Italy and Egypt. After a career in the U.S. Air Force, he retired as a major.
The name of Lynn E. Milner is on the state monument, too. He was 18 when he went to war in France as an infantry paratrooper in 1944. Three weeks later, his parachute failed to open over a battle zone. He is buried in France.
No war was in progress when R.F. "Fuzzy" Milner served in the Far East Air Forces in Japan. The brother called "Fuzzy" distinguished himself as All Japan Welterweight Boxing Champion and Golden Gloves title holder. He is retired in New Mexico, where he worked at White Sands.
Phillip joined the Allen National Guard and went to the Korean War with the 45th. In 1960 Phil, now deceased, was elected mayor of Allen.
Guy was a peacetime soldier-scientist working in ballistics research in Baltimore. Today, he lives in Ada and holds a position in the Chickasaw Tribe.
Max retired from ownership of a Claremore office supply firm, was a communications wireman in the USAF Reserves.
The baby in the family, Don O. Milner, served in the Allen National Guard unit for six years, with active duty at Fort Jackson, S.C.. His era was Vietnam, but not close enough that he served there. Today he is a medical technologist living in northwest Oklahoma City, and the self appointed family historian.
" I'm proud of my brothers," said Don Milner, and he believes
his father, who died in 1949, would be, too.
None of them performed daredevil acts or soared to great heights of fame, or left eloquent words to wage war by.
But they went along when they were needed, and they served where they were told and they believed in their country with a different kind of patriotism than we know today.
Like millions of other American soldiers, the Milner brothers drove the ambulances and cooked the mess and stung the wires so that others could go for the glory.
Don Milner was wrong about there being no heroes in the family.