Director of Bands

Chapter 2

DIRECTOR OF BANDS

Capt. Glenn Miller is transferred to the Army Air Forces Training Command; and assigned to build a network of radio production units, base bands and other entertainment activities, including his own elite radio production unit. Along the way, he also arguably created the best musical organization that ever existed. The time period of December 5, 1942 to June 14, 1944 is described and how Miller fit with the public relations effort of the AAF. The unqualified support Miller won from the AAF brass including Gen. H. H. Arnold, Gen. Barton K. Yount and Gen. Walter Weaver is documented, as is Miller’s invaluable importance as a public relations and recruiting asset.

Woolsey Hall, Yale University, June 1943

 

Capt. Alton G. Miller – Frequent Flyer

I SUSTAIN THE WINGS

THE ARMY AIR FORCES TRAINING COMMAND ORCHESTRA DIRECTED BY CAPT. GLENN MILLER

Broadcast Saturday, June 3, 1944, 11:30 pm – Midnight
Vanderbilt Theater, New York (NBC) (WEAF)

 

The status of Capt. Alton G. Miller as of November 22, 1943

PREVIEW

“The men in the RPU respected and feared Miller. They knew him as a person with very definite ideas about how he wanted things done. He was very particular about how he wanted his music presented and his radio programs produced. This made him revered, respected, and popular with some and resented by others. That is not unusual when a leader has a strong personality.

“Glenn Miller was a natural military officer with a predisposition toward discipline. This irritated some of the sophisticated musicians, who were intuitively less than dutiful soldiers. Many of the men were publicly acclaimed and among the finest performers in the world. They had strong personalities and were challenging to command. At one point, Miller ordered men with mustaches to shave them off. Although this met his goal of presenting a clean-cut AAF image and was probably done to assuage officious midlevel officers, the band bristled at what they believed to be an unwarranted order. Although he was often sociable and could exude warmth, considering the diverse talent, personalities and temperament among his men, Miller’s forceful and often rigid management style was arguably quite necessary to ensure the existence and success of his organization.

“Men who had known or worked with Miller as civilians noted that in addition to his insistence on “spit and polish,” the captain quite clearly required proper respect for military rank. Because of his integrity, consistency, and fairness, Miller retained the respect of his organization even as some of the men resented his orders and demands.”

 

Request for the transfer of Capt. Glenn Miller’s Radio Production Unit by Gen. Dwight D. Eisenhower, Supreme Commander, Allied Expeditionary Force, May 24, 1944