Miles J. Rudolph Issue Date: January 10, 2018
Miles J. Rudolph, 96, passed away Friday, Dec. 29, 2017 in Green Bay.
Born May 30, 1921 in the Town of Fredonia, to the late Oscar and Christine (Wilmes) Rudolph, he graduated from Port Washington High School in 1939. He assisted his family with farm duties and the threshing business, but wanted to participate in the war effort, so at age 19, he volunteered for the Army Air Corps on Aug. 12, 1940 in Milwaukee.
He attained the rank of Sergeant after serving as an aircraft engine mechanic in Illinois and Oklahoma where he worked on all types of airplanes. He was selected for flight training school in San Antonio, Tx., later at Sikeston, Mo. and Enid Ok. and then advanced flight training in Victoria, Tx. and West Dover Field, Mo.
On Aug. 30, 1943, he entered active service where he was a flight leader for 12 aircraft and 12 officers. By March 1944, he was in Woodchurch, Kent and flew sorties over the English Channel and on D-Day providing fighter support to the ground forces on the coast of France.
He was a pilot in the 378th and the 410th Fighter Squadron, flying P-47 Thunderbolts On the last of 81 missions, after bombing a German airfield, his wingman signaled a bomb on his plane had not been released and was hanging on the rear of the plane. He was going back to drop it on the airfield but a German Luftwaffe pilot in a Focke-Wulf FW190 arrived and shot his plane and him.
After successfully parachuting out of the plane on Dec. 23, 1944, he landed in a field and was taken a prisoner of war. He was in the hospital and later transported to Stalag Luft I, a POW camp for pilots and officers on the Baltic Sea. His camp was liberated by Russians on horseback, May 2, 1945. He arrived back in the states in late May and left the service as a Captain in May 1946.
He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross, Air Medal with 15 Oakleaf Clusters, Purple Heart and eight additional medals.
He met his future wife, Doris Olson through his Aunt Lizette and they married on May 3, 1947. At that time, he was a crop duster and stunt pilot. After his two children, Richard and Barbara were born, he gave up flying and worked as a mechanic for American Can Co. in Milwaukee. They moved in 1956 to Green Bay where he worked as a mechanic and in quality control for National Can Corporation until retiring at age 60.
He enjoyed being active in sports such as bowling, waterskiing and golfing, had a knack for carpentry and remodeling and built homes and cottages for the family. Active with his children, he was a respectful, loving husband, Packer fan, and a devout Catholic, never missing Mass, whether at home, the cottage or on vacation.
He is survived by two children, Richard Rudolph, Pembine and Barbara Rudolph, Madison; two grandchildren; a great-grandchild, Ethan Rudolph, Chicago, Ill.; a brother, Wallace Rudolph, Denver, Co.; three nephews, Robert, Thomas and Richard Habich and two nieces, Karen Dable and Jill Habich.
Along with his parents, he was preceded in death by his wife, Doris; a brother, Eugene Rudolph, Saukville and a sister, MaryAnn Habick, Grafton.
Friends may call at St. Philip the Apostle Catholic Church, 312 Victoria St., Green Bay on Friday, Jan. 12, from 9:30 a.m. until time of the Funeral Mass at 11 a.m., with Rev. Bill Hoffman officiating. Burial will be in Saukville Union Cemetery. A memorial fund has been established in his name. Proko Wall Funeral Home of Green Bay is assisting the family with arrangements.
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