FT. BRAGG STORIES: 'It Was A Hard Time'

Jun 24, 2018

Lieutenant Colonel Frank Miller served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam before retiring to Fayetteville to run a grocery store in the late 60s and early 70s.

 The Boulevard Supermarket on Bragg Boulevard was a small mom-and-pop store catering to the many young G.I's who cycled through Fort Bragg on their way to the Vietnam war.

"Everybody knew the Colonel," recalled Frank's daughter Meg Miller, now 60. She remembers he carried a chained wallet on one hip and a gun on the other.  

In the era of the draft, she recalled reluctant soldiers struggling to make ends meet, and saw her father trying to help when he could. 

He'd loan money to get soldiers through to pay day, or offer diapers to cash-strapped wives when their husbands were in the field.  

  "I think he knew either what they had been through, or what they were going to go through," said Miller. "He was part of the support system that wasn't there otherwise, and he knew it wasn't there because it hadn’t been there for him."  

The trauma of war weighed heavily on Frank Miller, especially after his retirement from the army.  

"I think war changed my father, and not for the better," said Miller. She said he struggled for decades with depression, anger, and alcoholism. 

He sought solace at bars in the company of other veterans, but Miller mourns the lack of formal treatment and support available for her father.

"There wasn't anything in place to really help him out."

Ft. Bragg Stories is a collaboration between the Fayetteville Observer and WUNC's American Homefront Project to commemorate a century of history at Fort Bragg through personal narratives. You can hear other stories in the series here. If you'd like to share your Fort Bragg story, you can send it here, or email fortbraggstories@wunc.org