Decorated War Veteran to Speak
at Annual Awards Banquet
When members of the Wichita Crime Commission gather this coming October at their annual awards banquet paying tribute to law enforcement they’ll hear remarks by a law enforcement professional who is also a decorated Vietnam War veteran. His message: Honoring those who put themselves in harm’s way to serve their fellow citizens. And, when it comes to service to community and country, few people can match the record of Hugh Mills.
After joining the U.S. Army as an enlisted man, Mills was selected for Officer Candidate School and served as a helicopter and fixed-wing pilot during the Vietnam War. Flying many combat missions as a helicopter pilot participating in combat assaults and downed airman rescues, Mills developed helicopter air combat techniques that saved the lives of many soldiers and airmen.
Col. Mills, author of the book Low Level Hell, is one of the Vietnam War’s most decorated veterans. His decorations include three Silver Stars, three Bronze Stars, three Purple Hearts, Four Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Meritorious Service Medal, multiple Air Medals, six of which were for valor, and the Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star.
One of Mills’ Bronze Stars, which is decorated with a “V” for valor, was awarded after he landed his helicopter during a firefight and personally captured a North Vietnamese Army officer at gunpoint. Because of that action, Mills is one of very few airmen to receive a Bronze Star for Valor during ground combat.
In 2008, Mills was honored by the Kansas City, Missouri Police Department for the daring night rescue of two kayakers swept away in a storm. Hovering under low clouds at night and in blowing rain with a broken searchlight and non-functional infrared night vision devise, both of which were damaged by a lightning strike to his helicopter, he located the boaters clinging to a tree stump. Using only his helicopter’s landing light, he guided rescuers to the stranded couple.
“The purpose of the Wichita Crime Commission’s Annual Awards Banquet is to recognize and honor those who put themselves in harm’s way to make our community safer and more secure,” said Awards Banquet Committee Chairman Larry Sell. “We believe Col. Mills’ message honoring law enforcement will be a fitting tribute to all law enforcement and criminal justice professionals who protect and serve us."
The Wichita Crime Commission’s 58thAnnual Awards Banquet will be held on the evening of Thursday, October 27th at the Hilton Airport Hotel and Conference Center. Tickets to the event may be purchased through the Wichita Crime Commission by calling 316-267-1235 or by emailing Julie Hower at firstname.lastname@example.org.