Thursday, November 19, 2009


When our kids are sitting in their history classes this is the man they should learn about. And others like him. People that put country and duty above themselves. People that will rush headlong into certain death because it is the right thing to do. Heroes and leaders, these people don't expect special rewards just for showing up and they don't expect to be treated any differently than anyone else. They do their duty with honor and in doing so lift up themselves and their country. These are the kind of people that have made America the great country that it is (or, perhaps unfortunately, was).

Keep Col. Millett and all the other WWII vets in your prayers. The "Greatest Generation" is dwindling. Many of those that have come after them have forgotten their sacrifices. We are going to be asked to stand and deliver in the very near future. We need to understand what made them great if we are to have any chance at all of regaining the country that they spilled so much blood to protect.

"Lewis L. Millett, 88, a career Army officer who was briefly and somewhat misleadingly court-martialed for desertion during World War II and went on to receive the Medal of Honor for leading a bayonet charge during the Korean War, died Nov. 14 at a veterans hospital in Loma Linda, Calif. He had congestive heart failure.

Col. Millett, who sported a red handlebar mustache, cut an audacious and unconventional path during his 35 years of military service. He led daring attacks in two wars and was instrumental in starting a reconnaissance commando school to train small units for covert operations in Vietnam.

He also was an Army deserter. He later said he had been so eager to "help fight fascism and Hitler" that he left an Air Corps gunnery school in mid-1941 -- months before the U.S. entry into World War II -- to enlist with the Canadian army and go overseas. He manned an antiaircraft gun during the London blitz before rejoining the U.S. Army, which had by that time declared war and apparently was not being overly meticulous in its background checks....

...During the Korean War, he received the military's highest awards for valor, including the Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross, for two bayonet charges he led as a company commander in February 1951.

"We had acquired some Chinese documents stating that Americans were afraid of hand-to-hand fighting and cold steel," he told Military History. "When I read that, I thought, 'I'll show you, you sons of bitches!' "

Washington Post

"When he became a company commander in the Korean War, serving as a captain in the 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division, he seemed a visage from battlefields past with his red handlebar mustache. On Feb. 7, 1951, he employed a tactic of bygone wars with a fury that overwhelmed the enemy.

During the fighting near Osan, South Korea, Captain Millett’s unit encountered Communist troops atop a spot called Hill 180.

It would be remembered as Bayonet Hill for what the military historian Brig. Gen. S. L. A. Marshall would call “the most complete bayonet charge by American troops since Cold Harbor,” a reference to the carnage at an 1864 Civil War battle in Virginia.

After ordering his men to fix bayonets, Captain Millett charged up the hill in front of them in the face of heavy fire, blasting away with his carbine, throwing grenades and, most spectacularly, wielding his bayonet when he encountered three enemy soldiers in a V-shaped gun position.

“I assaulted an antitank rifle crew,” he told Military History magazine in 2002. “The man at the point was the gunner. I bayoneted him. The next man reached for something, I think it was a machine pistol, but I bayoneted him — got him in the throat.”

The third soldier had a submachine gun.

“I guess the sight of me, red-faced and screaming, made him freeze,” he recalled. “Otherwise he would have killed me. I lunged forward and the bayonet went into his forehead. With the adrenaline flowing you’re strong as a bull. It was like going into a watermelon.”

Captain Millett was wounded by grenade fragments, but his men took the hill. President Harry S. Truman presented him with the Medal of Honor in July 1951. As the citation put it, “His dauntless leadership and personal courage so inspired his men that they stormed into the hostile position and used their bayonets with such lethal effect that the enemy fled in wild disorder.”

El Paso Inc.

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