Style Icon: Major Allison Campbell Miller


Major Allison Campbell Miller

Alabama Air National Guard Instructor Pilot

Written by Tracy James Robinson, Photography by Chuck St. John

Allison climbs aboard a KC-135R in Levi's jeans, Fever Top, & Chocolat Blu shoes. Cross necklace from Snoozy's kids; bracelet from Bromberg's.

Ever think of a leather jacket as life saving? And I don’t mean, “OMG, I can’t live without that jacket” kind of life saving. I mean “I’m a stranger in a strange land, get me to a hospital then safely home” kind of life saving. Sewn into the inside of Major Allison Miller’s leather bomber jacket is what is known as a “Blood Chit,” a notice printed on silk carried by the military, usually aircraft personnel, that displays messages printed in various languages asking civilians to help the service member in case they are shot down. In return for assistance, the service member will tear off a corner of the Blood Chit which has a specific serial number that the local national can turn in for a reward. Now that’s called fashion with a purpose.

“Purpose” pretty much sums up Vestavia native Allison Miller’s life, with service to her family, church, state and country as her primary focus. One would never guess that this pretty brunette Liberty Park mother of three, who loves her morning coffee and Southern Living magazines, is also an air tanker pilot with over 300 combat hours over Iraq and Afghanistan. (In layman’s terms, a tanker pilot flies an enormous plane that refuels other planes in mid-air.)

Between her junior and senior year at Vestavia Hills High School, Allison’s experience as an exchange student in the Soviet Union had such a profound effect on her, that it would later alter the course of her life. Realizing she never wanted communism in her beloved USA, Allison pledged she would one day serve her country. Not long after graduating in 1993 with a degree in Aviation from Auburn University, she joined the Alabama Air National Guard and became the first female the Birmingham-based 117th Air Refueling Wing sent to pilot training. Growing up a “girly girl,” Allison admits no one would have ever guessed she would one day don a flight suit, helmet and combat

Karen Kane dress; Gap denim jacket; Old Gringo boots; Anna Kendrick cross necklace.

boots.

Speaking of that flight suit, Allison shakes her head when reviewing its features. An uncomfortable zipper placement on the female suit demonstrates that, clearly, a woman had nothing to do with the design, thus Allison wears the male suit, made of flame resistant Nomex material. When one wears the same uniform every day for 15 years, seemingly small changes in attire cause a stir, Allison explains, stubbing her new sand colored steel-toed boots into the tarmac. She much preferred the traditional black leather combat boots she wore for 15 years (as in the same pair), having them resoled many times before finally giving them up and giving in to the new style.  High on tradition, though, is the 106th Squadron’s patch, sewn onto the right sleeve of Allison’s flight suit. The patch is the oldest continuously used flying patch of an Air Force flying unit in the country. The emblem’s design has its origin in the Coat of Arms of the Birmingham family of England. The only change made in the Coat of Arms was in the colors, the background and the lion’s paws in saltire being the color of the US Air Service, blue and yellow.

In her civilian life, simplicity reigns, with Allison favoring casual, comfortable styles from Anthropologie as well as the Sundance and Garnet Hill catalogs. “Jeans and a white t-shirt pretty much sum up my look,” Allison shrugs. Artisan jewelry, Italian leather sandals or cowboy boots add personality. And she still gets to dabble in the leanings of her girlhood via a 13-years running volunteer stint as a Back Stage Mom for the Miss Alabama pageant.

“I think style is an overall impression,” Allison states. The fact that Allison’s style can in a day evolve

Inside the cargo hold, Allison wears a striped Karen Kane dress; Tiny sweater, Old Gringo boots; Invictus watch; friendship bracelet, a gift from her son.

from her role as mom in a t-shirt and jeans readying her kids for school, to her job as Guardsman in a flight suit and bomber jacket piloting a KC-135R aerial refueling aircraft…makes quite an impression indeed.

Girls Gone Godly leather cuff, made by artist & Huntsville native Vickye Storey

An Anna Kendrick cross hangs with an acrylic bead neklace

The motto of Allison's squadron is "Summo Est Opportunitas," meaning "There is Opportunity at the Top."

Allison received her bomber jacket whenshe received her wings, upon graduation on pilot training. Sewn into the lining of the jacket is what is known as a "blood chit."

An appropriate saying on Allison's wallet, made by Natural Life. Her latest piece from artist Julie Abbott sits atop her helmet bag.

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One Response to “Style Icon: Major Allison Campbell Miller”

  1. Era Campbell says:

    That’s My Girl! Her heart is bigger than her smile. Allison loves to give and is a care taker to say the least. Allison would do anything for anyone and asking nothing in return. She loves the Lord and truly ask for His will to be done in her life. Allison is a very humble child of God! To Him, she gives all the Glory!

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