Colonel (Retired) Lewis L. "Red" Millett

Medal of Honor

December 15, 1920 - 14 November 2009

BIOGRAPHY

Colonel (Retired) Lewis L. "Red" Millett was born on December 15, 1920 in Mechanic Falls, Maine. [He joined the National Guard at the age of seventeen with the 101st Field Artillery, Massachusetts National Guard.] In 1940, Lewis Millet left high school at the end of his junior year where PFC Millett enlisted in the Army Air Corps serving as an air gunner. Increasingly upset with German aggression in Europe and the Nazis' treatment of jews and anxious to get into combat, he deserted the Army after two years (at the start of World War II) and went to Canada to join the Canadian Army. Millet was fighting overseas with the Canadians when the United States entered the war.
Lewis "Red" Millett, COL (Ret) on Hill 180 on 7 Feb 1951
When American troops began arriving in England in 1942, Millet took advantage of a provision that allowed American citizens serving with an allied country to transfer into the U.S. military. He went the American Embassy and asked to be transferred back and was placed with the 1st Armored Division in North Africa. By the time his records caught up with him [showing he deserted years earlier] Millet had earned a silver star, a bronze star, was a buck sergeant, had spent six months in Africa, six months in Italy.

After serving in various positions and attaining the rank of Sergeant, Millett received a battlefield commission. Following World War II, Millett joined the 103rd Infantry, Maine National Guard. He served with the 103rd for four years before joining the 27th Infantry Regiment "Wolfhounds" in Japan. As a member of the Wolfhound Regiment, Millett deployed to Korea where he served with valor and distinction. While serving as commander of Easy Company he led a bayonet charge - THE bayonet charge later named The Battle of 'Bayonet Hill' 180 [Osan Air Base (K-55), Republic of Korea, 7 February 1951], for which this VFW Post 10216 is named for, against heavily fortified enemy positions, earning the nation's highest military award, the Medal of Honor. Easy Company killed forty-seven, and another sixty were reported wounded. Of the dead, eighteen died of bayonet wounds.

Following Captain Millett’s service in Korea, he was assigned to the Continental Army Command as Aide de Camp and then as Training and Operations Officer for the Military Advisor Group. In 1956, Millett attended the Infantry Officer’s Advanced Course and Ranger School as a Major. Following his stay at Fort Benning he was assigned to the 101st Airborne Division where he founded the Recondo School. Millett became heavily involved in the Special Operations community following his service with the 101st. He helped establish the Vietnamese Ranger School and the Commando training program in Laos before moving to the Command and General Staff College. Colonel Millett retired in 1973 after serving as the Deputy Commander of the 2d Corps.

Colonel Millett served in three wars – WWII, Korea and Vietnam. Millett’s awards include the Medal of Honor, Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Legion of Merit (with 2 oak leaf clusters), Air Medal (with numeral 2), Purple Heart (with 3 oak leaf clusters), Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry and Vietnam Campaign Ribbon among others.

Colonel Millett passed away on 14 November 2009. Colonel Lewis L. Millett's funeral

MEDAL of HONOR

War: Korea

Rank: Captain, US Army, Company E , 27th Infantry Regiment

Location of action: Vicinity of Soam-Ni Korea

Date of action: February 7, 1951

Medal received from: President Harry Truman July 15, 1951

Official Citation:


RETURNING TO KOREA

Colonel Millitt made several visits back to Korea and his name-sake VFW Post 10216, beginning in 1998, which was his first trip back to Korea since the war.

In Feb 1998 VFW Post 10216 sponsored retired COL Millett's first return to his historic battle location since the battle. As Guest Speaker during the annual Hill 180 Memorial ceremony on 6 Feb, 1998 he gave this memorable speech.
"AMERICA, THE LAST FREE SOCIETY FOUNDED IN LIBERTY UNDER GOD, STILL EXISTS A THREAD OF HOPE IN THE FABRIC OF A WORLD REPLETE WITH TYRANNY TOWARDS MAN AND TREASON TOWARDS GOD. WE ARE STILL FREE BECAUSE MEN OF HONOR AND COURAGE DEEPLY BELIEVED THAT THE DEFENSE OF LIBERTY IS A NOBLE CAUSE.

Shortly after the liberation of Rome in 1944, I had the opportunity to visit the Sistine Chapel and observe Michelangelo's portrayal of our Creator reaching out to touch the fashioned clay that would be mankind. When our Creator breathed the fire of life into the dust that was to be man, He imbued in man's soul a spark of Freedom. Tyrants, since the dawn of creation have attempted to destroy man's desire to worship his Creator and to stifle and smother that spark of Freedom.

In the coliseum of Rome, on the steppes of Russia, in the concentration camps of Europe, in the rice paddies of China, on the jungle floor of Vietnam and Cambodia, in the mountains of Laos and Afghanistan, on the desert of Arabia, in the land once called Yugoslavia lie the bodies and bones, the dust of countless millions who are martyrs to the cause of Freedom.
In 1856 a poet stood in a square in Budapest, Hungary, and shouted to a multitude fighting against the tyranny of Russia, "Shall we free men be, or slave? Choose the lot your spirit craves!" Thousands of young Americans who never heard these words have volunteered to fight against the cause of tyranny because they believed in Freedom.

It has been my privilege to fight in Africa, Europe and Asia, to serve in many foreign lands and to meet the people, Kings and Commoner, Presidents and peasants of those countries. I have helped to temper the iron of a blacksmith in Greece, to teach the children in Japan, to pull the nets of the fisherman from out the China Sea. I have dug the grub-hoe into the side of a hill in Vietnam and helped the mountain people plant their highland rice, I have delivered sustenance and toys to orphanages in the War zone and watched the children’s' smiles illuminate the day.

Among all the ideas and customs, the hopes and desires of people whom I encountered, whether they be soldier or strangers, king or peasant, rich or poor, they all had but one desire --to be left alone in peace, to be free. But the price of Freedom comes high. The sacrifices that purchased our liberty cannot be commemorated with a few words, or even one book, or with a one day observance, or a brief speech.

Today many make heroes of those who achieve fame and fortune as troubadours of song or who portray, as actors on stage and screen, the hero we would want to be. The real heroes remain unsung, lost and buried, some in foreign lands. They achieved in their young lives far more than the tinsel fame of the movie hero and never received the screaming adulation from the immature who worship at the shrine of the Jungle rock and roll. They did not receive the roaring acclamation of the masses in our sports coliseums. They lived, often in misery, in stupefying heat, in bone-freezing cold. They died tough. Some died with sweat, some with blood, some with tears in their eyes. They sacrificed themselves for our freedom in strange places called Kasserine, Sbeitla, Gafsa, Salerno, Anzio, Cassino, Rotundo, Mount Lungo, Guadacanal, Luzon, Okinawa, Masan, Taegu, Sinanju, Chosin, Khe San, Dat To, Khontum, Pleiku--battles that bring to mind Valley Forge, Gettysburg, Chateau Thierry, the Argonne, places where my forefathers, your antecedents fought and bled.

When our Creator reached out and gave mankind life, he also provided our soul with a spark of freedom which is the pathway to the liberties we enjoy. Our comrades-in-arms, who served so nobly and sacrificed so dearly were the shield and armor for all of us who enjoy the privilege, the liberty, the bounties of this nation. They accepted a challenge, we must accept a similar demand. They had a duty, a responsibility, a cause to serve embodied in the Declaration of Independence, in the Constitution of the United States and in the free society in which we live. They served these Institutions and the United States of America, and you and I with courage, devotion, duty, loyalty, sacrifice and honor. We who received the benefits of that sacrifice, that duty, that loyalty also have a responsibility and duty to serve that spark of freedom given to us by God. It is the essence of the Judaeo-Christian faith that mankind received liberty from his Creator, that man is free to choose, that man has a God-given right to liberty. We live in a country that at its birth was created with this premise, "All men are created equal, all men are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these rights are life, and liberty."

To our comrades who died in service to their country a fitting memorial to them would be these words carved in gold:

"TELL THE NATION THAT WE LIE HERE OBEDIENT TO THEIR LAWS AID THE NOBLE CAUSE OF LIBERTY." MAY GOD GIVE US THE WISDOM, THE INTEGRITY, THE COURAGE TO SERVE THE CAUSE OF FREEDOM. FOR WE UNDERSTAND THAT HE WHO FAILS TO FIGHT FOR FREEDOM, OR SERVE THE CAUSE OF LIBERTY WILL DIE A COWARD OR LIVE AS A SLAVE. MAY OUR CREATOR FOREVER KEEP THIS THE LAND OF LIBERTY.


The American Soldier - the Soldier of Liberty
With acknowledgments to Father David Desmond O'Brien former Sergeant USMC

It is the Soldier not the reporter that gives us Freedom of the Press

It is the Soldier not the poet who brings us Freedom of Speech.

It is the Soldier not the campus agitator that gives us the Freedom to demonstrate.

It is the Soldier who salutes the Flag, who fights beneath that Flag whose coffin is draped by that Flag who gives the protector the opportunity to burn that Flag. (Father O'Brien)

It is the Soldier who fights and dies, not the politician that gives us the Freedom that we enjoy.

It was Soldiers Washington, Lincoln, Kennedy, Truman, Reagan, Bush who tried as elected officials to continue the service of Duty,

Honor, Country in their civil service to Liberty." (Col Millett)
COL Millett returned many times over the following years to participate in the Hill 180 ceremonies and spend time with the members of the VFW post named in his honor.