Captain, U.S. Army
Company Commander - Company E, 2nd Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Division
Place and date: Vicinity of Hill 180, Soam-Ni, Korea, 7 February 1951.
Medal of Honor Citation:
Captain Millett distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action. While personally leading his company in an attack against a strongly held position, he noted that the 1st Platoon was pinned down by small arms small-arms, automatic, and antitank fire. Captain Millett ordered the 3rd Platoon forward, placed himself at the head of the two platoons, and, with fixed bayonet, led the assault up the fire-swept hill. In the fierce charge, he bayoneted two enemy soldiers and boldly continued on, throwing grenades, clubbing and bayoneting the enemy, while urging his men forward by shouting encouragement. Despite vicious opposing fire, the whirlwind hand-to-hand assault carried to the crest of the hill. 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. During this fierce onslaught, Captain Millett was wounded by grenade fragments but refused evacuation until the objective was taken and firmly secured. The superb leadership, conspicuous courage, and consummate devotion to duty demonstrated by Captain Millett were directly responsible for the successful accomplishment of a hazardous mission and reflect the highest credit on himself and the heroic traditions of the military service.
Three days before the Medal of Honor action, he led a bayonet assault against another hill. The enemy ran away before we got into their holes. They took the hill, though they had casualties. One of his lieutenants, Don Wilson, was shot through the chest and he went out under fire with a litter to evacuate him. For this action Col. Millett was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross.
Medal of Honor recipient Lewis Millett dies at age 88
Saturday, November 14, 2009
By GENE GHIOTTO
Medal of Honor recipient Lewis Millett of Idyllwild died Saturday morning at Jerry L. Pettis Memorial VA Medical Center in Loma Linda. He was 88.
"He had a brief hospitalization. He came in the day before Veterans Day," said hospital spokeswoman Annie Tuttle.
Col. Millett had various health problems over the last three to five years, including diabetes, said Mike Goldware, a family spokesman.
A cause of death was not announced. Funeral arrangements were pending.
Col. Millett was a regular at patriotic events locally and across the country. In April, Col. Millett served as grand marshal for the Salute to Veterans Parade in Riverside. Earlier this year, a park in San Jacinto was dedicated in his name.
"He was a regular at the (Riverside) National Cemetery," Goldware said. "If he could get on board a military transport, he would go anywhere for the troops."
Col. Millett was born in Mechanic Falls, Maine, on Dec. 15, 1920. He enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1940 and served as an air gunner, then joined the Canadian Army when it appeared the United States would not enter World War II.
"He joined the Royal Canadian Army after President Roosevelt said in a speech that no American boy would fight on foreign soil," Goldware said.
He returned to the U.S. Army in 1942 upon the United States' entrance into World War II and served in the 1st Armored Division. After making sergeant, he was awarded a battlefield commission.
According to his Medal of Honor Citation, then-Capt. Millett distinguished himself "above and beyond the call of duty in action" in Korea, after he and his men came under heavy enemy fire on Feb. 7, 1951.
He ordered and led a bayonet counterattack up the hill, killing enemy soldiers in hand-to-hand assault during which he was wounded by a grenade blast. But by early afternoon, his company had taken the hill.
He was presented the Medal of Honor by President Harry S. Truman in July 1951.
He retired as a colonel in 1973 after a 31-year career in which he served in World War II, Korea War and the Vietnam War.