PARKVILLE, Mo. — Park University placed another permanent marker in homage to its military history and continued the tradition of recognizing the abundance of active and former members of the armed services on campus.
On a breezy but pleasant afternoon, school officials and guests turned out to dedicate a plaque in honor of the late Lewis L. Millett — a 1963 graduate of then Park College and decorated member of the U.S. Army. He was quoted as saying, “I fought in three wars and volunteered for all of them,” seeing his service as necessary to help protect the freedoms Americans enjoy.
The ceremony occurred Nov. 7 at the Thompson Commons Courtyard on the campus’ hillside overlooking Highway 9 and the Missouri River corresponding with the upcoming observance of Veterans Day.
“Today, we honor a man who gave his service in a conflict that is now passed and in some cases, forgotten by many,” said Dr. Paul Edwards, a U.S Army veteran and founder of the Center for the Study of the Korean War located in Independence, Mo., during brief opening remarks.
A native of Mechanic Falls, Maine, Millett received the Medal of Honor for service in the Korean War. His historical marker, which arrived earlier in the week, now sits next to a similar one honoring George Seanor Robb and 10 Park College students and alumni who died fighting in World War I.
Robb also received the Medal of Honor for his service, and a flag with a light blue field and 13 five-pointed stars hangs on a pole in the courtyard. An honor guard ceremonially raised the Medal of Honor flag before the playing of Taps concluded the service.
Millett’s Medal of Honor citation includes harrowing details of a bayonet charge he led near Hill 180 in Soam-Ni, South Korea. His own descriptions were even more graphic, notating three North Korean soldiers he killed in hand-to-hand combat.
“(Millett) distinguished himself by conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action,” the citation reads. “… The superb leadership, conspicuous courage and consummate devotion to duty demonstrated by Capt. 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.”
Millett — who died Nov. 14, 2009, at the age of 88 — also received the Distinguished Service Cross, Silver Star, Legions of Merit (3) and Purple Heart (4) during a lengthy military tenure that ended after he earned the rank of Colonel. He served 35 years, including a brief desertion to join the Canadian Army, with time spent involved in World War II, the Korean War and the Vietnam War.