Americans, Koreans honor Bayonet Hill Soldiers
OSAN AIR BASE, Republic of Korea -- Few can say they have had the privilege of honoring the memory of veterans while standing on the very ground they fought on, but that is exactly what personnel from across the base took part in, Feb. 7.
Located near the 51st Fighter Wing Headquarters, Hill 180 is the site of a famous bayonet charge by U.S. Army Soldiers against Chinese forces 63 years ago during the Korean War.
U.S. Army Capt. Lewis Millett, 27th Infantry Regiment Easy Company commander, led a platoon sergeant and 12 other Soldiers in a courageous charge up the hill, and was later awarded the Medal of Honor.
"Fix bayonets!," said U.S. Army Col. Charles Mills, Combined Joint Fires Element deputy chief, echoing the words Millett used to direct his men during a narrative of the battle. "Charge! Everyone goes with me."
Dodging grenades and machine-gun fire, the Soldiers navigated their way up the hill, using their bayonets to neutralize any enemy threats. Millett took steel shrapnel to his back and legs, but continued to charge. Using a mixture of "grenades and cold steel," Millet and his men killed 47 of the enemy. Since 30 of those died as a result of bayonet wounds, the engagement would come to be known as the "Battle of Bayonet Hill."
U.S. Army Chief Warrant Officer 2 Edwin Reyes, 3rd Battlefield Coordination Detachment-Korea airspace management technician, helped organize both this and last year's event, and said it was an honor to pay tribute to another Soldier.
"In my opinion, there is no way that any war can be compared to the harsh times that Capt. Millett and his Soldiers went through," Reyes said.
Before the ceremonial laying of the wreaths to honor Millett and his men, ROKAF Maj .Gen. Jae-Bock Park, Combined Forces Command, expressed his appreciation for everyone's participation in the event and reminded those present to remember the significance of the Battle of Bayonet Hill.
"I believe the indomitable will of the men is what allowed the Republic of Korea as we know it to exist, and helped lay the foundation of the ROK and U.S. alliance," Park said.