History of COL Lewis L. Millett Hill 180 Memorial Post 10216

Osan Air Base (K-55), Republic of Korea


Originated: 1964

Chartered: December 14, 1970

First Post Elections: April 1971 (post becomes offical VFW Post 10216)

First Post Commander: Earle Dowd

Original Location: Victoria Hotel, Songton-Si, Korea, 1964 - 1977 (moved to Anjung-Ri for 1 year in 1969)

Current Location: Songtan Si, Pyongtaek, South Korea outside main gate of Osan AB in the basement level of Pacific Hotel. Mailing Address and Contact Information

First Commander-in-Chief: H. R. Rainwater

Past Commanders:  Complete list of Post Commanders (past/present) is listed on our website homepage.

Awards and Recognition:  Complete list of Post Awards is listed on our website homepage.

Annual History Report:  Annual History Document (May 2014)

Post Name: VFW Post 10216 is named in honor of Medal of Honor recipient Colonel Lewis L. Millett and the famous Korean War Battle of Bayonet Hill, where then Captain Millett earned his MOH. The Post was originally named “Hill 180 Memorial Post” and the charter was changed in 2010 following Colonel Millett’s death to “Colonel Lewis L. Millett Hill 180 Memorial Post”, thus maintaining the heritage of our original name while honoring the colonel.   Much of the documented history of VFW Post 10216 was lost in the flood of 2000 which destroyed the post.  All that seems to have been salvaged were some old water-logged photos and documents.

One of the longest continuously operating posts in Korea, Post 10216 started in 1964, chartered in 1970.  It was originally located in the basement of the Victoria Hotel from 1964-1977, then went through several relocations before finally finding a home in the basement of the Pacific Hotel.  As one enters the Post, you will find an atmosphere that is friendly and comfortable with plenty of tables, pool table, dart boards, the Canteen bar, walls decorated with pictures of a Korea/military/Osan AB theme and shelves of military aircraft models. In addition you will find special dedication walls to include (not limited to) the Tuskegee Airmen in honor of our own Tuskegee Airmen MSgt (Ret) James "Jim" Price who unfortunately passed away on 20 Jul 2008.  Jim was one of the founding members of the post. In Feb 1998 VFW Post 10216 sponsored now retired Colonel Millett's return to the scene of his historic battle for the very first time since that battle on Hill 180.  He was invited as the guest speaker during the annual Hill 180 Memorial Ceremony that year and on 6 Feb gave a most memorable and tear invoking speech.  Sponsored by VFW Post 10216 and the 8th US Army 3rd Battlefield Coordination Detachment-Korea (BDC) COL Millett returned to Osan AB every year following through 2003 to participate in the Hill 180 ceremonies and spend time with the members of the VFW post named in his honor. In Feb 2000 COL Millett helped dedicate a stone on Hill 180 to the first 6 US personnel to die at the onset of the Korean War.   In 2001 he attended the Hill 180 ceremony during a 50th Korean War anniversary specifically honoring his actions.  In 2002 the BCD dedicated the 'Millett Room' in the BCD headquarters building to him.  And in 2003 COL Millett spent time at the Osan BX signing pictures and visiting with the many service members and family members of the Osan and surrounding military community.  During each visit the Medal of Honor recipient has been honored and welcomed as a distinguished guest of VFW Post 10216.

1970, Pre-VFW and Authorized Post 10216 Osan AB, Korea Record Provided by the first post commander Earle Dowd

Dept. Pacific area Ade de Camp advisor: Neil Tremblay, TDY to Osan AB. From Triple Nickel, Japan
Commander: Earle L. Dowd.......previous active member
Sr vice: fritz barber ....previous active member
Jr vice: jack fowler ......... .new member
Quartermaster: frank b. George...previous member
Chaplain: William E. Tidrich
Asst. Chaplain: Jim Price
Adjutant: dick Walters
Transportation chairman: Jim price

Information on formation of veterans of foreign wars (VFW) post 10216, back in early l970 a discussion turned to possible VFW post between Neil Tremblay who was TDY from japan, And Earle Dowd assigned to Det 9 47rh ARRS (PEDRO) local base rescue.

Mr. Neil Tremblay introduced himself as Dept of PCAF Ade de camp to support PACAF area. Brought information that a third attempt to form a VFW post possible formation at Osan.

Neil opened many doors as he knew several VFW department PACAF POC's in Seoul, Korea. During the informal discussions as the possibility following a post, Information that twice prior an attempt was made to form a VFW charter which fell through, with approx. six names of people, no monies were

Located by dept. And formation all poc's of which were assigned charter membership and temp positions of post formation to organize, permission to operate a proposed VFW post on military grounds. A meeting was held with the Osan base commander, Airman’s, NCO & Officers club managers. The main topic was that we would not attempt to open a VFW canteen for profit on base and try to compete with club operations. The clubs furnished us meeting space w/o charge.

During several trips to Seoul VFW post & dept meeting, Jim Price supplied the transportation at no cost to us. During the formation period a post name was suggested. First was a name (Osan AB, or task force smith, hill 180. Second was a post number 180. Unlike the American legion, the VFW only uses a post number once. Number 180 is previously assigned and national assigns the numbers. Third idea was memorial post hill 180.

Now to get the word out, an informal no league bowling team was formed, with shirts etc. This worked fairly well, as every military member assigned to Korea was authorized the armed forces expeditionary medal, which as acceptable as full membership.

Post adjutant placed articles in the Osan newspaper as much as possible, as his duty was on the base paper etc.

We hosted meetings with Seoul, and folks from Camp Humphries who needed assistance in their quest to establish a VFW post on their base.

We did finally establish our charter, and dept. PCAF POC's come to Osan, to open a meeting.

In 1971 several members post 10215 were present for dept. Convention which was being held in Seoul. A good time was had by all. However in early t971 air rescue command discontinued rescue coverage at Suwon ab. Approx. 9 assigned crews including myself Earle Dowd with the air rescue Det 9, 47 ARR. Wing. As we downsized assigned acft from 4 to 2, PACAF wanted us out of Korea asap (approx. 2 month at the most). A special election was held with approval with Seoul.

All existing post officers elected and advanced one position if requested or new members elected. I was assigned to the new 1550th Air Crew Training and Test Wing, Hill AFB, Utah is where I still hang my hat. We were an air rescue and combat helicopter / C-130 acft training wing. -- Earle L. Dowd