OSAN AIR BASE, South Korea –
American and South Korean military officials remembered the Soldiers who
fixed bayonets and charged up a mountain into withering enemy fire 63
years ago during the Battle of Hill 180.
During an anniversary ceremony on Osan Air Base Feb. 7, military
leaders and troops honored the heroics of the 27th Infantry Regiment's
Company E at the site where the legendary Korean War bayonet charge took
American and South Korean military leaders attended the ceremony,
including the senior U.S. Army and U.S. Air Force commanders in Korea,
Eighth Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Bernard S. Champoux and 7th Air
Force Commander Lt. Gen. Jan-Marc Jouas.
The 63rd anniversary ceremony for the Battle of Hill 180 was hosted by
the 3rd Battlefield Coordination Detachment-Korea, commanded by U.S.
Army Col. Joseph P. Gleichenhaus.
"While the faces change, the colors remain the same," said
Gleichenhaus, a field artillery officer from El Paso, Texas. "The colors
of our alliance do remain the same."
Republic of Korea Army Brig Gen. Bae Jong-gil, the chief of the
Combined Forces Command (C3) Combined Joint Fires Element, was the guest
speaker at the anniversary ceremony.
"We are here to remember Captain [Lewis] Millett and the Soldiers of E
Company," said Bae, adding that the American and South Korean Soldiers
and Airmen assembled on the hill for the ceremony represented
"sacrifice, freedom and hope."
"Today as we commemorate the noble battle that took place 63 years ago,
the most important thing is to remember why they fought, what their
legacy is and what they would want us to do," said Bae. "The indomitable
will of the men of E Company, led by Capt. Millett of the 27th
Regiment, 25th Division, Eighth U.S. Army is what allowed Korea as we
know it today to exist."
The battle occurred when Company E was on point near Osan during
Operation Thunderbolt on Feb. 7, 1951. The Soldiers came under heavy
machine gun fire from Communist Chinese forces entrenched on top of Hill
A combat veteran who earned a battlefield commission during World War
II, Capt. Lewis Millett commanded Company E. Millett previously read a
translated enemy report that claimed U.S. troops were unwilling to
engage in close combat. He decided that Company E would prove this
Facing intense enemy fire, Millett yelled, "Fix bayonets. Everyone goes with me!"
With Millett leading from the front, Company E ran up the mountain. At
times, Millett ran so far in front of his troops that he had to dodge
grenades from both sides.
In the fierce close-quarters battle that followed, Company E defeated the enemy and took the hill.
For their heroic charge, Company E earned the nickname "Cold Steel
Easy" and for his courageous battlefield leadership, Lewis Millett
earned the Medal of Honor, the nation's highest military honor.
One year later, Osan Air Base was built around the hill. Today, Hill
180 is called "Bayonet Hill" and Millett Road runs up the hill on the
base, home to the 7th Air Force and 51st Fighter Wing.
Although injured during the charge, Millett would go on to serve with
distinction in the Vietnam War and retire from the U.S. Army as a
Eighth Army Commanding General Lt. Gen. Bernard S. Champoux previously
commanded the 1st Battalion, 27th Infantry Regiment "Wolfhounds" and
25th Infantry Division. Champoux said the bayonet charge is part of the
U.S. Army's storied legacy of service and sacrifice in Korea.
"The Wolfhounds actions during the Battle of Hill 180 demonstrate the
depth of our commitment to defending freedom on the Korean Peninsula,"
said Champoux. "We stand on the shoulders of giants in Korea, giants
like Lew Millett, and we are proud to uphold their legacy on Freedom's