(Photos of Joe Miller as sailor, his anti-war button, and 1968 anti-war rallies in Chicago)
After six years and ten months on active duty, I was discharged from the Navy on February 3, 1968. I was excited and apprehensive about this drastic, but welcome, change.
Two years earlier, I had reported to the base Administrative Office, Helicopter Training Squadron Eight (HT-8), at Ellyson Field, near Pensacola, Florida. My wife and daughter were with me, and we knew I was getting out in two years. HT-8 produced Navy and Marine helicopter pilots, a good number of whom went off to war in Vietnam. Most of the instructors already had flying experience in and around Vietnam.
In January, 1967, I was promoted, and there was new pressure to reenlist. “Gee, Joe, you only need to put in thirteen more years and you can retire at age 38.” I made it very clear that I was not interested.