OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- On Feb. 5, 1951, Capt. Lewis Millett fought enemies until he reached the top of Hill 180, which was a significant turning point of the Korean War. Battle of Bayonet Hill was the last major bayonet charge in American history, according to the organizers of a memorial ceremony Feb. 7, 2020.
Soldiers of the 35th Air Defense Artillery Brigade and the 3rd Battlefield Coordination Detachment participated in the annual Battle of Bayonet Hill ceremony at Osan Air Base, South Korea, to remember Millett and his Soldiers who would take Hill 180 and thus achieve a major turning point in the war. Airmen from 7th Air Force based at Osan AB also stood in formation with the Soldiers.
The ceremony was presided over by Col. Shayne Mullins, 3rd Battlefield Coordination Detachment commander, and retired Col. William Alexander, 2nd Infantry Division, Eighth Army Museum director.
The Battle of Bayonet Hill ceremony featured a wreath-laying and a rifle salute provide by the 35th ADA.
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 their bayonets and charge up a hill towards the 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. 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 fighters 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. Millett would later become a colonel in the Army.
Hill 180, located at Osan Air Base, has played host to a memorial site and an annual ceremony.