Thurman I. Miller 

Thurman I. Miller is a writer, retired coal miner, and veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps, enlisting in 1940 and serving in World War II with unit K-3-5 of the First Marine Division on Guadalcanal and Cape Gloucester.  After returning stateside as a Gunny Sergeant he was an instructor at the USMC's Officer Candidate Applicant Battalion at Camp Lejuene.   The Emmy-winning HBO miniseries The Pacific is based in part on the story of his Marine Corps outfit. Born in 1919 and still keeping up a busy schedule of speaking engagements, he has written extensively about his wartime experiences in the South Pacific, growing up in rural Appalachia in the Roaring Twenties and the Depression, and working more than three decades in the coal mining industry.  He formerly served as President of the West Virginia Chapter of the First Marine Division and currently lives in Mt. Hope, WV.   For additional photos and much more, become friends with Thurman on Facebook 

News!   

Thurman signed copies of his latest book "Earned in Blood" at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington, KY on November 2.

Thurman was featured in the Sunday, Sept. 1, edition of the Charleston (WV) Gazette--

http://www.wvgazette.com/Life/Peoplelife/201308280301

Thurman's latest book "Earned in Blood: My Journey from Old Breed Marine to the Most Dangerous Job in America" with an introduction by Richard Frank, was released by St. Martin's Press May 21, 2013!  Order a copy

"I was moved to both tears and anger while reading this memoir of a Marine who fought through steamy jungles and across boiling beaches in the Pacific, only to find postwar betrayal in West Virginia's coal country.  It's a dramatic and compelling story, one every American should read and ponder."

Homer Hickam, author of Rocket Boys/October Sky, The Keeper's Son, and many more.

Additional Praise for Earned in Blood:

"When I finished reading this compelling work, my mind reflected not only on what I had just experienced, but also on how it fits both into the long sweep of writing on war and the American literature on World War II... One can now read Thurman Miller’s book and follow K/3/5 from pre-war to Cape Gloucester. Sledge’s book takes up the story for the last two campaigns of the company at Peleliu and Okinawa. And further enriching this unique situation, R.V. Burgin’s Islands of the Damned provides a vivid portrait of K/3/5 from Cape Gloucester to Okinawa. Thus, these memoirs provide an opportunity to see the 1st Marine Division’s four campaigns through the eyes of veterans of a single rifle company. In sum, Earned in Blood provides the reader with a vivid panorama told with directness and honesty of an exceptional personal journey through peace and war--a peace and war both without and within." 
     Richard Frank, historian, author of Guadalcanal: The Definitive Account of the Landmark Battle and other books

"Thurman Miller takes us through his hard but rich Appalachian boyhood, his harrowing experience as a Marine in the battles for Guadalcanal and New Britain, and his lifelong struggle with the aftereffects of all he gave to serve his country.  In addition to recurring bouts of malaria, he suffered flashbacks so powerful that, when working as a coal miner, he saw his dead buddies piled up on the conveyor belt.  Only the sheer strength of his spirit, the support of a loving family, and the reunion with his brother Marines made Mr. Miller’s survival possible.  His heart-searing story reminds us that a grateful nation is never grateful enough."
     George Ella Lyon, author of With a Hammer for My Heart and numerous other books

“In my opinion, T.I. Miller is as fine a Marine as ever put on the uniform. In training and in combat, he was my mentor, my example, and my inspiration.” 
     R.V. Burgin, author of Islands of the Damned: A Marine At War in the Pacific

“At the end of this book I am left with a profound respect for this man, and filled with awe and gratitude. The levels of horror that he--and so many of his friends--endured in the name of service to country, home, and freedom is simply unimaginable.”
     Marcus Brotherton, author of A Company of Heroes and Shifty’s War

News

Selected Media Calendar (this is a partial listing)

> Thurman was a recent featured author at The Tamarack in Beckley, WV

 

> Thurman was a featured guest at the Ohio Valley Military Society's Show of Shows in Louisville, Kentucky, along with his old comrade R.V. Burgin (pictured below, featured in The Pacific miniseries and author of Islands of the Damned) and Brad Freeman, Buck Compton, and Earl McClung of the Band of Brothers series and book.

 

 PIC_0020.JPG (228698 bytes)  with Mr. Burgin

 

>Thurman was a guest of honor for the Eglin Air Force Base Armed Forces Appreciation Day, along with several soldiers from the Band of Brothers miniseries and several of his Marine Corps buddies featured in The Pacific miniseries. The weekend finished with an Emmy-watching party at the USS Alabama Battleship Park in Mobile. (The Pacific won for best miniseries.)
Flyer for the Event
/ Photos

 

>Video introduction to Mr. Miller's life (7 minutes - excerpt from 90 minute documentary interview produced by Rare Earth Media.)

>WLEX TV interview

>WOAY TV interview

>WVVA TV interview  

> Audio conversation among  members of K-3-5, First Marine Division, Guadalcanal (75 min.) Part 1 Part 2

Contact info: 
 

 

April 2009 - speaking at Mountain State University, Beckley, WV 

April 2009 - Coal Cultural Class speech, Erma Byrd Higher Education Center

April, 2010 - speaking at Mountain State University, Beckley, WV 

May 29, 2010 - Book signing, Tamarack, Beckley, WV

Nov. 9, 2009 - Book signing, Sophia Public Library book 

Aug. 25, 2010 - Armed Forces Appreciation Day and Emmy-watching party, Ft. Walton Beach, FL

Nov. 11, 2010 - Barnes and Noble Veteran's Day panel discussion, Lexington, KY

Feb. 25, 2011 - Show of Shows, Ohio Valley Military Society, Louisville, KY

September, 2011 - Coal Camp historical presentation, as featured on WVPB and National Public Radio

June 16, 2012 - book signing, Lexington Convention Center, Lexington, KY 

June 15-17, 2013 - Niagara Falls, Canada; Erie Canal Discovery Center, Lockport, NY

July 6, 2013 - Book signing at Tamarack, Beckley, WV

Nov. 2, 2013 - Book signing at Joseph-Beth Booksellers in Lexington, KY


The night before we landed on Guadalcanal we used money to light our last cigarettes; it would be of no use to us on the island. I kept this fragment as a souvenir.


My original Australian-made First Marine Division patch, issued in 1943. The Old Breed survives.

Earned in Blood, Thurman's first book with a major publisher, replaces the three previous books shown below, which are now out of print.
Product Details

War and Work (2001) is the epic story of a young man’s journey from a poor Appalachian childhood through the most notorious battles of World War II, followed by a thirty-year career in the mining industry. With dozens of historic photos and a down-to-earth, often humorous style the book shows off an uncommon wisdom, intelligence, and humility.
Sample chapters

Combining original essays, historical material, and interviews, Coal Bloom (2003) draws a stark portrait of a generation struggling through the Depression and the Great War to create an entirely new America. 
Winner of the Coal Heritage Research award.

Sample chapters / Bibliography

Always Faithful, Always Free 
(2008) draws on all ten decades of the author's life to paint a vivid portrait of the fast-disappearing Greatest Generation, from the struggles of the Depression and World War II through the creation of an entirely new America, set against the personal journey of devotion to his beloved wife of 64 years.
More about Always Faithful, Always Free

All material on this site, including photos, text, and layout, copyright 2013 David T. Miller. All rights reserved.

 >Also visit Thurman & David's site about the historical coal camp of Helen, WV