Tribute to Edgar "Eddie" Miles
Branch of Service: US Navy
Served aboard: USS Tucker, USS Laub
Specialty: Signalman, First Class
Edgar Ernest Miles was born on September 1, 1922 in Phillipsburg, Kansas. He graduated from Phillipsburg High School in May 1940. A few years before, his brothers, Frank and Charles, joined the Armed Forces and young Eddie thought this would be a great opportunity to travel, see the world and get an education. He went to Denver to enlist and was asked to work in the recruiting office. However, his adventurous side got the best of him and he was inducted into the Navy and sent to San Diego on January 4, 1941.
At the San Diego Naval Training Base, Eddie qualified for Signal School. He was shipped to Hawaii and was assigned to his first ship, Destroyer #374, the USS Tucker. He went aboard as a deckhand, since there were no spaces for signalmen. His squadron operated with the original aircraft carriers, the USS Lexington and the USS Saratoga. While he was training at the Super Sonic School in San Diego, one of his shipmates on the USS Tucker fired the first shot at the Japanese at Pearl Harbor. He was immediately ordered back on the USS Tucker. In August 1942, his ship was sunk just prior to the Invasion of Guadalcanal. He was rescued by a seaplane, flown to a cove at Espiritu Santo and returned to the United States by the USS Long Island.
Next, he was assigned to the ship, Destroyer #602, the USS Laub, serving as Signalman First Class and Acting Chief. Their mission was mainly to escort ships across the Atlantic Ocean from New York to various ports and back. In 1943, his ship was part of the invasion near Sicily. The attack, named Operation “Husky,” lasted about two weeks. According to his accounts, the Allies captured 132,000 prisoners, 260 tanks and 520 guns, and reported 8,600 Italians and Germans dead. The Allies suffered with 5,532 soldiers killed, 2,800 missing and 14,400 wounded. Eddie was discharged from the Navy in September 1945 and served in the Reserves.
After returning to Phillipsburg, Kansas, he married Virginia (Ginger) Louise Post on February 22, 1946. The couple opened a dry cleaning store in 1946 and then started Miles Furniture and Miles Funeral Home in 1949. He was in the furniture business until retirement in 1986 and it is still operating as a family business. Eddie was very active in the community as a Mason, a Rotarian, a First Christian Church Deacon and a charter member of the Phillipsburg VFW. He was also instrumental in establishing the Elks Lodge, the Phillips County Hospital, and Fort Bissell in Phillipsburg.
Eddie and Ginger had three children, two daughters and one son. They also have six grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. Dancing (mostly the jitterbug) was one of their favorite pastimes as Eddie had perfected it while granted liberty at the different ports. After retirement, Eddie and Ginger enjoyed spending their winters in Yuma, Arizona and then coming home to Phillipsburg to spend time with their family. Eddie truly valued his service to his country. These experiences made a lasting impression that followed him throughout his life.
Submitted by the E. E. Miles Family
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