Honoring a Father’s Legacy With Aluminum Overcast

In 1942, the Firestone Tire & Rubber Company visited a high school in Canton, Ohio, and offered wartime production jobs to anyone interested. Charles Miller was attending school there and accepted a job.

Charles was a small guy with a thin frame. Firestone soon discovered that his stature could be used to its advantage by squeezing him into parts of airplanes to make repairs. For the next few years, Charles would work on B-17s and C-46s. Charles would later have a son, Charles Miller Jr., who would share his love of aviation.

His son recalled air shows with his father fondly. “Anytime we would go to an air show, he would always go and check out the wings where he used to work,” Charles Miller Jr. said. “We always dreamed of flying one together, but schedules and money just never lined up.”

Charles Miller Jr. served his country in the Gulf War and became ill after being exposed to depleted uranium. After a nasty fight in the hospital (including a time when doctors thought he might not make it, and he was given last rights), Charles started to make a recovery. His wife wanted to take him home. But our B-17 Aluminum Overcast was in town. And that is where he headed.

They waited for a few hours as the seats were full. Finally a seat opened, and Charles had the chance to fulfill the promise he had made to his father to fly in the B-17.

“I brought some of my father’s ashes on board, and I can tell you a lot of tears were shed,” Charles said.

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