Homeward Bound

T/Sgt. Ray McKinley leads the Army Air Forces Band (Special) at Nuremburg Stadium, Germany on July 1, 1945 in a concert for 10,000 victorious GIs (the site of Reich Chancellor and Führer Adolf Hitler’s infamous 1930s speeches)

Chapter 9 


The AAF Band (Special) returns home and is honored by President Truman and Canadian Prime Minister King. Over the succeeding decades, questions remain about what actually happened to Glenn Miller. This chapter answers all the questions for the first time since 1945 in a comprehensive review of the facts with no punches pulled regarding the cause of Miller’s death and who was responsible. The lasting legacy and importance of Glenn Miller’s life, career and service are summarized with the unmistakable conclusion that he was a true American hero who made the supreme sacrifice for his country. The true story is inspiring seventy years hence.

Army Air Forces Band personnel are congratulated by Gen. Eisenhower and Gen. Arnold at the National Press Club, Washington, DC, November 13, 1945


The outstanding string section of the American Band of the AEF is led by concertmaster Sgt. George Ockner on one of their AEFP “Strings With Wings” programs, recorded Nay 31, 1945 at the Olympia Theatre in Paris and first broadcast July 20,. 1945. These programs compared with the popular music and jazz repertoire of the ABAEF and its other sub-units displays the wide range of music presented by Maj. Glenn Miller’s Army Air Forces radio production unit.


“The relentless scuttlebutt following his disappearance has failed to dent the formidable influence that Glenn Miller continues to enjoy. Critics argue that the enduring Miller aura is simply a romanticized result of disappearing at the height of his fame and artistic influence. Glenn Miller is actually the most significant musical persona of his era because he transcends it. With a combination of skill, intuition, and good fortune, Miller established a band that precisely met public taste with musical integrity. He then went further to set a completely new standard of musical leadership and unparalleled public service. He was an innovative leader in the successful wartime broadcasting efforts of the Army Air Forces and SHAEF. Skillfully utilizing the unlimited wartime resources of the government, he put together the very best musical organization that ever existed. Enduring an exhausting schedule to bring American music to GIs overseas, his Army Air Forces Band (Special) became the embodiment of American culture for the Allied forces in the ETO as well as the people of Britain and Europe. People in the occupied countries and within the German Reich risked imprisonment if not their lives to listen to Glenn Miller’s music over ABSIE, AEFP, AFN and the BBC.

“A sizable number of people born many years after he disappeared continue to discover and enjoy Glenn Miller’s music. There is lasting value and quality in what Miller offered. This comes from a combination of serious purpose and creative ability on the part of a man who produced a superior musical product from an organized group of musicians that was attractive to people who heard and appreciated it while Miller was alive and furthermore in the decades since his disappearance. Miller was a demanding man who expected a lot from himself professionally, and he expected no less from the individuals with whom he worked. If he had not been so discriminating or demanding, it is doubtful that his product would have had the lasting value that it does.”

Glenn Miller looking over his California ranch “Tuxedo Junction” in 1942 … what might have been …