How much did Millett hate America’s enemies? In 1941, while serving as an Army Air Corps air gunner, he heard President Roosevelt declare that America would not go to war in Europe, so he deserted and joined the Canadian Army to fight Nazis. While waiting in England to fight, the U.S. Army caught up and he was allowed a transfer back to his native military in 1942 joining the 1st Armored Division fighting in North Africa. While there, he was awarded the Silver Star for driving a burning ammunition-filled halftrack away from his fellow soldiers, then leaping away to safety just before it exploded.
Millett then got promoted into the Officer Corps — despite the court-martial for desertion — and eventually served in Korea as a Company Commander. As Commander of Easy Company, he led a bayonet charge against heavily fortified enemy positions, earning the nation’s highest military awards for valor: the Medal of Honor and the Distinguished Service Cross for leading two different bayonet charges. Easy Company killed forty-seven while another sixty had reportedly been wounded and evacuated off the hill during the battle. Of the dead, eighteen died of bayonet wounds.
Millett became heavily involved in the Special Operations community following his service with the 101st. He helped establish the Vietnamese Ranger School and the Commando training program in Laos before moving to the Command and General Staff College. Colonel Millett retired in 1973 after serving as the Deputy Commander of the 2nd Corps.
“We had acquired some Chinese documents stating that Americans were afraid of hand-to-hand fighting and cold steel,” he told Military History. “When I read that, I thought, ‘I’ll show you, you sons of bitches!’”