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Tonkel, Miller J. (1919-2003) | Purdue University Libraries, Archives and Special Collections

Name: Tonkel, Miller J. (1919-2003)

Historical Note: Miller J. Tonkel was born August 14, 1919 in Fort Wayne, Indiana.  He attended Purdue University from 1940 to 1942 and received a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering.  In 1943 he was commissioned into the Corps of Coast and Geodetic Survey.  Tonkel's postgraduate education included special oceanographic studies at the University of Washington, graduation from the Armed Forces Staff College and the Federal Executive Institute at Charlottesville, Virginia, and participation in the Brookings Institutions' Advanced Study Program Conference for Federal Science Executives.  In the United States military, Captain Tonkel served with hydrographic and oceanographic operations in waters off the North American continent and in the North Pacific, including the first systematized oceanographic survey of the north central Pacific and underwater atomic tests in the Pacific. Tonkel also held commands in the Gulf of Mexico, Pacific, and Alaskan areas. During World War II, Tonkel served as Regimental Survey Officer with the 11th Marine Artillery, 1st Marine Division in Okinawa, Tientsin, China, and Guam from 1945 to 1947. He received the Bronze Star at this time. Other awards received by Tonkel include the Department of Commerce Bronze Medal, the Society of American Military Engineers KARO Award, WWII medals for Marine Corps Service and the Victory Medal.  Tonkel retired from the military on February 27, 1977 after more than 34 years of service in the United States military.  Miller J. Tonkel died on July 16, 2003 in Anderson, South Carolina.

"Profiles in Time-C&GS Biographies, Captain Miller J. Tonkel." NOAA History. NOAA Corps Bulletin, February 1, 1977. Retrieved on August 3, 2009 from


Note Author: Shauna Borger

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