Remembering Capt. Miller

On December 18, 1943, Capt. Glenn Miller gathered his Army Air Force Band for a radio broadcast out of New York City.

The 2001st AAF’s base unit (radio production) was created less than two weeks prior to Miller’s broadcast with the following expressed purpose, as stated in declassified Air Force documents dated April 30, 1944: “To glorify the unsung heroes of the [AAF] training command—the ground crews, to recruit aviation cadets and Air WACs, to inform the American public of the job that the Training Command is doing to hasten the day of victory, and to provide entertainment for the morale of soldiers here and abroad.”

The broadcast of December 18, which can be streamed below, includes, among other offerings, a medley of holiday songs, Johnny Desmond‘s rendition of “Along the Santa Fe Trail,” the orchestra’s arrangement of “Deep Purple,” and from that popular theatrical hit of the day, “Oklahoma,” a rendition of “Oh, What a Beautiful Morning!”

Just less than a year after this program was broadcast, on Dec. 15, 1944, the plane carrying Capt. Miller, who was on his way to entertain U.S. troops in France, disappeared in bad weather over the English Channel. His remains were never recovered.

We hope you enjoy this 67-year-old holiday broadcast.

Glenn Miller and the Army Air Force Orchestra — “I Sustain the Wings” (38:27)