OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- As we celebrate National Medal of Honor Day March 25, here at Osan Air Base we recognize U.S. Army Capt. Lewis Millett for his actions during the Korean War.
On Feb. 5, 1951, Capt. Millett led Easy Company, 27th Infantry Regiment, through a rice paddy field toward Chinese and Korean forces. After being pinned down by enemy fire, Millett ordered his soldiers to, “fix bayonets,” and charge up a hill towards their enemy.
After two days of battle, Millett and his men were pushed back to the base of the hill and again were facing heavy enemy fire. He knew he needed to get his men to higher ground. Millett yelled to his men, “We’re going up the hill. Fix bayonets. Charge! Everyone goes with me!”
On the way up the hill, Millett ran ahead of his soldiers having to dodge both enemy and friendly grenades. He was able to dodge eight of them, but the ninth left shrapnel in his legs and back.
Millett continued to the top of the hill and signaled to his men that the hill was theirs. Nine soldiers and approximately 100 enemy soldiers were killed during the battle.
Millet was presented the Medal of Honor July 15, 1951, by President Harry Truman for his actions during what would become known as the Battle of Bayonet Hill.
While the battle is unquestionably considered a turning point in the Korea War, there are various opinions surrounding the exact location of the hill.
Hill 180, located on Osan Air Base, plays host to a memorial site and an annual ceremony and is thought by many to be the location where Millett earned the Medal of Honor.
Other evidence supports the idea that the battle may have been fought on another hill west of Anyang, Republic of Korea.