Dedicated to the deserving: Veteran recognized for service

  • Published
  • By By Airman 1st Class Victoria H. Taylor
  • 633rd Air Base Wing Public Affairs
As the officials at the Air Force Personnel Center thoroughly reviewed retired U.S. Air Force Senior Master Sgt. John T. Millan's request for a replacement set of awards and decorations, it was apparent something was missing.

In addition to the replacement ribbons he requested, AFPC officials noticed Millan was due more awards and decorations based on his service record.

On March 15, the culmination of these efforts led to a ceremony conducted by U.S. Sen. Mark Warner as he presented Millan's family members with a new set of medals and decorations earned throughout his esteemed military service in the Korean and Vietnam Wars.

Unfortunately Millan was unable to attend his own ceremony at the Veterans Memorial Hospital in Hampton, Va., due to his hospitalization earlier that morning after suffering a stroke.

A total of 17 awards and adornments were presented on behalf of the Department of the Air Force.

Unfortunately, the day after the delivery of his well-deserved decorations, Millan passed away in the Hampton Veterans Affairs Medical Center at the age of 83.

"I believe the awards that meant most to him were those that were from the Korean War because he loved the people he deployed with," said John Millan Jr. "He always told stories of them. He was a very selfless person and loved the people who he served with and [his] country. I believe I'll miss that most about him."

As a thirty-year veteran of the Air Force and a fifteen-year retiree of the Naval Air Rework Facility in Norfolk, Va., Millan had many stories to share.

Retired Senior Master Sgt. Millan enlisted in 1947 at the ripe age of 17, right after the Air Force was formed as a separate branch of military from the Army Air Corps. He began as a generator mechanic and soon after his enlistment was assigned to a multi-force combat Marine platoon in the Korean War.

After the Korean War, Millan chose to continue active duty and stay in the Air Force, later to go to Vietnam where he continued his service to the country he loved so much.

"Our nation owes so much to military men and women, our veterans and their families," said Warner during the ceremony. "All of us respect Mr. Millan's military service in Korea and Vietnam, as well as his involvement in support of other veterans throughout his lifetime."

Millan was able to watch from the hospital as his family members each were given one of the many awards presented by U.S. Sen. Warner on behalf of AFPC. He then later passed away, knowing he was given the recognition he deserved.

The awards and adornments presented were:
  • Meritorious Service Medal
  • Air Force Commendation Medal
  • Air Force Outstanding Unit Award with two bronze oak leaf clusters
  • Air Force Good Conduct Medal with three bronze oak leaf clusters
  • Good Conduct Medal with four bronze loops
  • World War II Victory Medal
  • Army of Occupation Medal with Japan Clasp
  • National Defense Service Medal with one bronze service star
  • Korean Service Medal with one silver service star
  • Vietnam Service Medal with four bronze service stars
  • Air Force Longevity Service Award with one silver & one bronze oak leaf cluster
  • Noncommissioned Officer Professional Military Education Ribbon
  • Small Arms Expert Marksmanship Ribbon
  • Republic of Vietnam Gallantry Cross with Palm
  • United Nations Service Medal
  • Vietnam Campaign Medal
  • Korean War Service Medal