William (Bud) Milliron was born June 10, 1924 on the Indian reservation in Salamanca NY to James Leroy and Edna (nee McManigle) Milliron. Bud was the eldest of 3 brothers and had 3 sisters. The family moved to Buffalo NY and his father worked for Bethlehem Steel. During the Great Depression Bud went to work and served in the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC). By the time Bud had turned 18 the war had already begun. He tried to lie about his age to enlist in the Navy and finally enlisted on June 17, 1942.
After basic training in Newport Rhode Island, the Navy sent Bud to gunnery school in Little Creek Virginia. It was here that he earned his first rate as a Gunners Mate and was sent to the Armed Guard. The Armed Guard were Navy personnel and guns that were placed aboard Merchant Marine ships to defend them against enemy attacks.
Bud’s second ship was the Liberty Ship S.S. Benjamin Williams. On the voyage across the Atlantic the Williams had to drop out of the convoy when the cargo began to break loose and threatened the ship’s integrity. One man was lost overboard in the rough seas. Eventually they reached England and rejoined a convoy of 60 ships. On their way to Murmansk, Russia, half the convoy broke off as the German battleship Bismarck had been spotted and the hunt was on to sink her.
The third ship that Bud was on was the S.S. John McDonnough. The McDonnough was a cargo ship. On the first voyage that Bud was on with her, the deck was loaded with Jeeps while the hold was filled with ammunition and a portable runway system. She sailed for England in May and was harbored there until June 1, 1944. On that day the McDonnough and two other ships set sail in the English Channel during the invasion of OmahaBeach. The two ships in front of the McDonnough, The S.S. Charles Morgan was bombed and sunk by enemy air activity and the S.S. Francis Harrington hit a mine and was disabled. The McDonnough was able to make it through without incident and was one of the first ships at the Omaha Beachhead for D Day.
After the war he was discharged from the Navy, but like many went right back in. He served for two years repairing the instruments on the Navy’s PBY seaplanes. It was during this time that he met his future wife, Dorothy. She was only 16 at the time and after several proposals she agreed to marry him when she turned 18, but on the condition that he leave the Navy. They married in 1949 and together they settled in Buffalo, NY.
Bud then took a job as a security officer with Bethlehem Steel. Later he took a job as a West Seneca Police Officer until he retired in 1977. They moved to Sun Lakes AZ to be close to family in 2011.
Loving husband, father, grandfather and friend, Bud was a gentle and kindhearted man of deep faith. Bud was a lifetime member of the VFW and was honored as an All-American Post Commander.
He is survived by his beloved wife of 70 years, two daughters, granddaughter and brother.