Eglin Air Force Base: Florida Family History

by Mike Miller
(Mount Dora, Florida)

Lt Colonel Fred I. (Fritz) Eglin

Lt Colonel Fred I. (Fritz) Eglin

Lt Colonel Fred I. (Fritz) Eglin
Edwin Henry Miller
Fritz Maxwell Miller
Mike Miller

Genealogy and family history have always interested me.

It wasn't until a few years ago that I realized my family has a link with Eglin Air Force Base in the Florida Panhandle.

Eglin is one of the largest Air Force bases in the world; maybe it's the largest, I haven't researched that yet. It contains something like 500,000 acres around Valparaiso, Florida and Fort Walton Beach on the Gulf of Mexico.

The Army Air Corps started putting the land together in 1931 that eventually became this huge base. They were looking for a bombing and gunnery range to serve their aircraft out of Maxwell Field, Alabama.

There were very few people in those days living along the Gulf coast near Valparaiso, Florida and it seemed like a great place for bombing and shooting without putting any people in harm's way. So they created the Valparaiso Bombing And Gunnery Base.

In 1937, the base was renamed Eglin Field to honor Lt. Col. Frederick I. Eglin, an Army Air Corps pilot who was killed on January 1, 1937 in a plane crash.

The base has played important roles in our national defense, including becoming the site for the training of World War Two pilots.

It was also one of the key bases that helped Lt Col Jimmy Doolittle prepare his B-25 crews for the bombing raid over Tokyo early in World War Two. It has supported America during five wars.

The family history goes back to Wabash College in Crawfordsville, Indiana, in 1908. My grandfather, Ed Miller, was on the Wabash football team and played as "Indian" Miller, a tribute to his part Miami Indian heritage.

His best friend on that Wabash team was Fred "Fritz" Eglin. When my father was born in 1912, he was named Fritz in honor of my grandfather's old college buddy.

And now you know the rest of the story.

In a way, the circle was completed when I took my U.S. Navy survival training course in the swamps of Eglin Air Force Base in the 1960s.

Comments for Eglin Air Force Base: Florida Family History

Click here to add your own comments

Jan 10, 2016
Good story
by: John victor

Great story.

Click here to add your own comments

Join in and write your own page! It's easy to do. How? Simply click here to return to Florida Towns.

Much of the information in our website is available in a series of books for each of Florida's eight geographical regions, along with a separate book covering the entire state titled Florida Backroads Travel. All books are available in Kindle versions and some in soft cover format also.

Click on the book cover for free previews of these books at Amazon.



This  book   shows you 50 nifty places to visit on less than a tank of gas from major Florida cities.

Click on the cover for a free preview at Amazon.com


Email

First Name




Enjoy our free monthly ezine with news of day trips, towns, inns, festivals, food, history and more.

Recent Articles

  1. Winter Beach Florida: Where Sunshine Spends the Winter

    Mar 27, 17 06:03 PM

    Winter Beach Florida is the old town history has forgotten.

    Read More

  2. Florida Towns: From Pioneer Villages To Large Modern Cities

    Mar 27, 17 05:42 PM

    Florida towns come in many shapes, sizes and flavors. There is a town for you whether you are looking for fun, Florida history, culture, shopping, dining or a place to settle down.

    Read More

  3. Florida Backroads Travel Site Map

    Mar 27, 17 05:40 PM

    The Florida Backroads Travel site map shows all of the website pages so you can find your way around.

    Read More