About Ron G. Miller-
Ron next to the engine from an SB-17 which crashed on the Olympic penninsula in Washington State.
My motto is- "Old enough to know better, but young enough to do it anyway!"
My other motto is "Experience is what you get when you were expecting something else!"
I am the 40, er 50 -something son of Capt. and Mrs. R.C. Miller presently of Kirkland, Washington. Capt. Miller had a 26 year Naval career as a Naval Aviator flying the F-3H Demon and the F-4B Phantom. Capt. Miller commanded fighter squadron VF-11 in 1971.
I went to Duke University on a Navy ROTC scholarship. While there I majored in Electrical Engineering, ran 2 marathons during senior year and opted for nuclear submarines on graduation.
I attained Certificated Flight Instructor rating for Gliders during college while working summer weekends with my father at the Warrenton Soaring Center in Warrenton Virginia. I have been a ham radio operator since age 14.
Upon graduation from college I was commissioned an Ensign in the US Navy and went to US Naval Nuclear Power School then Submarine School and was finally ordered to the USS CINCINNATTI (SSN-693). While on USS CINCINNATTI (SSN-693) I qualified in Submarines and made an around-the-world deployment to the Indian Ocean, passed thru the Panama Canal, and deployed under the Arctic icepack.
After the Navy, wife L. and I moved to Ft. Collins Colorado where we both worked for a major computer manufacturer.
After accomplishing Private Pilot - Single Engine Land rating (that means I was allowed to fly a plane with a motor) life couldn't have been any better.
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome-
Unfortunately in 1985 L. fell ill with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. During the next 6 years she would be bedridden for 4.5 of them. Sleeping 20 hours a day, she could only recline the remaining time and displayed symptoms of dyslexia- something she had never experienced before. She has since improved to the degree that she can do some quiet housebound activities (such as website development) but the life we thought we were going to have, went astray. CFS is still, 19 years later, a controversial diagnosis. Most medical programs don't cover it, most employers won't supplement income for it, and many otherwise competent M.D.s will "diagnose" mental illness because they can't find anything wrong using their tests. It's this mental illness diagnosis that breaks most of the marriages for CFS patients. In this engineer's opinion, such a diagnosis is complete hogwash. In our opinion, if AIDS weren't the crisis that it is, CFS would be the next biggest one since it is a total disaster for the person with the condition and nearly nothing is known about it- including whether it is contagious or not. In addition, during the Clinton Administration, the Center for Disease Control chose to divert the money earmarked for CFS research into their general and miscellaneous office supplies funds. For this the CDC deserves to be overturned and supervised by adults for a change. (I won't say what I really think about them....)
In 2003 the medication which got her on her feet for about 10 years (called Kutapressin) was totally discontinued. She relapsed. And the CDC says there is 'no evidence' that the medication helps. Riiiiight. Update 2006 (from L) - A substitute for Kutapressin, called NEXAVIR has been put into production and it seems to be the same thing and is helping. It isn't a cure but it's a big help. There's a rumor that the people we have to thank for the medicine's return are parents of children with symptoms of Autism, who had responded to Kutapressin before it went off the market. Thank you parents, and take that CDC!
Oct. 2009- If it's not one thing, it's another. L has Ovarian Cancer. Cancer is a not-surprising development for female CFS patients. My wreckchasing activities went on hold as we deal with this new development.
Sept. 2011- L's Stage 3b cancer required major surgery. After surgery she concluded that chemo likely wouldn't help (for ovarian) and would make her feel like she had CFS and could compromise her immune system. So she skipped chemo. After healing from surgery there were 3 small abdominal tumors remaining (PET scan). 2 were destroyed in June with CyberKnife technology by Dr. McNeeley in Lafayette, CO.
Jan 2012- The 3rd tumor was irradiated in October. L. didn't bounce back from that as quickly as we'd hoped. In fact, it looked like she wasn't recovering at all for several weeks. But she recovered well enough to go to Seattle for Christmas (by car). After the Christmas trip she turned herself in for a PET scan and a CA125 blood draw. These to find out if the 3rd tumor had been eliminated and if there were any more forming. Well, Dr. Medgesy pronounced her CANCER FREE! The PET scan showed no new tumors (= no tumors at all) and the CA125 test was in the "normal" (noise) level meaning that there aren't hordes of little cancer colonies too small for the PET scan to see growing inside her. She didn't take chemo but instead chose a cancer suppressing diet (including Ketosis) which didn't compromise her immune system.
Hopefully her extra energy seen as the cancer burden was reduced will mean that she's also cured of CFS. (We can ask for that, can't we?)
Jan 2013 - Rising CA125 levels late last year suggested a CT scan. CT scan revealed 3 more tumors. Now it's consulting with Radiation Oncologists Dr. Petit and also with Dr. McNeeley to see if radiation can again be applied. Initial discussion indicates these are in much more difficult locations so.... we'll see.
Dec 2013 - One of the tumors grew too big to ignore. So after consulting 2 very kind surgeons she decided that their advice to take chemo to shrink the tumor to simplify surgery was worthwhile. So she started chemo. At the same time the large tumor started to bleed. So radiation was begun to cauterize it. Chemo hit her really, really hard resulting in 3 blood transfusions in about 7 weeks. Since radiation can also clean up the tumor she stopped chemo due to it's harsh effects.
April 2014 she is once again cancer-free.
April 2016 - Cancer free doesn't really mean cancer free forever. On January 23, 2017 she entered home hospice care because the tumors and grown and were located where they couldn't be treated by radiation and prior radiation treatments had created scar tissue which precluded surgery. On the afternoon of February 15, 2017 she passed away. She was loved by all who knew her and most especially by me.
Job adventures (abridged version). In August 2001 after nearly 18 years with Hewlett-Packard Co. I, along with 6000 other employees, was laid off.
I then went to Truck Driving school because I figured I'd not work as an engineer again due to outsourcing/offshoring. Surprisingly, I didn't get a job driving a truck ("no experience").
Instead I worked for Mr. Karl Schakel, an 80 year-old entrepreneur whose driving was becoming shaky. I was his personal driver and office assistant. I'd drive him to/from his office and his appointments and do any internet research which he might think of. Unfortunately , 9 months later, Mr. Schakel died after several weeks in the hospital. That was an awfully hard way to lose a job. He was a good guy.
A few months later I began job sharing with a wonderful friend (Pete Rawson) until he decided he'd rather be retired (again) and I became the sole occupant of that job. I was a Volt ETW working at Agilent Technologies in Colorado Springs. (I live in Ft. Collins, 135 miles away) The job was really interesting and the people were fun but I was a temp and didn't have any reason to expect it to last past March 2003 (well, it lasted into June before I moved on). Pete facilitated my move into the job with great preparation and he even let me sleep in a spare bedroom of his house and his gracious wife fed me dinner so I had a friendly place to stay during my week long sojourns during the work week. Pete and his wife Nancy get a whole book of gold stars from me! (Jan 2012 My good friend Pete died of lung cancer over a year ago. I miss him.)
In April of 2003 I interviewed for a Reliability Engineer position with Lockheed-Martin in Boulder. The people were friendly and the job seemed like something I could be pretty good at. In mid-June I received a call again from Lockheed-Martin to come visit with them and was offered the job which I happily accepted. So now I'm a Reliability Engineer working for Lockheed-Martin on the ground portion of the Space Based Infra-Red missile detection system. (SBIRS) I note with glee that it is a job that is NOT going to be sent to China (because it requires a DoD Security Clearance)!
I am exceptionally fortunate to have been assigned Dan Canon as my responsibility to be his Lockheed buddy when he started work a month after I did. Dan is a busy young man (triathlete with wife and two daughters going to graduate school on the side) who also owns a 1969 Piper Cherokee 140. Dan and I hit it off so well that he gave me a key to his airplane with instructions to help him fly it regularly. (Regular use is the best possible way to make machinery last a long time.) So I do. I've helped Dan and his mechanic with owner assisted annuals as well as owner assisted upgrades. We've put on a PowerFlow Exhaust system, a 1/4" one-piece windshield. I 've helped the mechanic with a repair by changing a tire and clearing and greasing the wheel bearings. I get pretty much all the benefits of airplane ownership without the cash outlays. (I put in a lot of work on the plane as my contribution.) In return I've been flying the same machine for many hours and learning it in great detail which brings a significant increase in the safety of going flying. Thanks Dan! But of course all good things come to an end and in 2007 Dan landed a job in NY state and in September after doing the annual inspection he flew the plane away to its new home. Great fun while it lasted!
Jan 2013- With Congress' actions known as sequestration, employment at defense contractors now seems to be a day to day affair. No one knows what programs will be cut or when. And Obamacare health care changes also raise uncertainty about whether work has any connection to health care coverage in future. We certainly live in "interesting times." (In the Chinese sense)
August 2017- After the passing of my beloved wife I had little reason to continue the long commute to/from Boulder so I retired. I turned my job responsibilities over to one of the few people in the program who was a helpful teammate, taught him how to do the job and left with no regrets. I still have occasional dreams where the daily irritations of working in that environment return to pester me. But.... I'm retired!
I have at various times ridden motorcycles, fly-fished, backpacked, shot pistols and rifles, and worked on my1964 Unimog truck as well as looked for airplane crash sites. Now that the trauma of layoffs and unemployment seems to be behind me, I'm starting to get back into these things again. The commute to Boulder however, is wearing as well as consuming many hours per week. Brian Richardson has fired up the Aviation Archeology interest group within the Colorado Aviation Historical Society and the wrecks I've found the last few years have been in association with that talented group.
Mogbert the Unimog has been sold
What is a unimog?
Other trip reports from death-march backpack trips are available at the Rocky Mountain National Park unofficial website. http://estes.on-line.com/rmnp/rmnp-trp.html (look for Ron Miller - firstname.lastname@example.org - as author though that address hasn't been valid for 8 years)
I also authored this tongue-in-cheek piece which has received significant circulation on the internet among certain circles: If Guns Were Treated Like Cars.
I also have some old 4 wheeling articles online.
Last Modified: 5/27/2018