Everyday Americans are able to strive for their dreams and sleep safely at night because of the countless sacrifices of our Soldiers. Several times a month we’ll highlight an artifact, exhibit, or story that illustrates the Infantry’s legacy of valor and sacrifice as part of our ‘A Time to Remember’ series.
This week is the anniversary of Captain Lewis Millett’s Bayonet Attack during the Korean War. On February 7, 1951, Millett led his Soldiers from Easy Company, 2D Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment, 25th Infantry Division atop Hill 180 near Soam-Ni, Korea. With only bayonets and hand grenades, the company fought a hand-to-hand assault against heavy opposing fire. Millett and his Soldiers used their bayonets with such lethality that the enemy fled in disbelief.
Even after he was wounded by grenade fragments, CPT Millett refused to be evacuated until the mission was secure. President Harry Truman later presented CPT Millett with the Congressional Medal of Honor in July 1951. Millett, a WWII, Korean and Vietnam Veteran rose to the rank of Colonel. He died in November 2009.
Millett, along with his weapon, the bayonet, is the perfect representation of the Infantry’s role of importance in the last 100 yards of any battle. Although the last major American bayonet charge was during the Korean War, the bayonet remains in military training. The Marine Corps still equips Marines with the bayonet. The U.S. Army issued the M9 Bayonet knife which was used since the 1980’s. In 2010, the Army discontinued Bayonet drills in favor of calisthenics training.
Visitors can see a recreation of Millett’s Bayonet Attack on the Last 100 Yards ramp at the museum as well as tour the Spirit of the Bayonet exhibit. The exhibit, located in the Grand Hall, showcases 11 examples of bayonets used throughout the last 238 years of our military history, including the 1795 Socket up to the current U.S. Multipurpose model. CPT Millett’s story is also presented in the Hall of Valor.