Dennis Keith Millison
U.S. Marine Corps – Vietnam
What was it like to be a rifleman in a Marine company on night operations in Vietnam? At times, utterly confusing, terrifying – and sometimes fatal. That’s what PFC Dennis Keith Millison experienced on February 26, 1969. He was on a search and destroy mission with his unit – Company L, 3rd Battalion, 4th Marines.
The report in the newspaper said that he “died Friday of fragmentary wounds suffered when an enemy mine exploded in Quang Tri Province, near the demilitarized zone.” That gives no sense of what really happened
We can get a slight, distant glimpse of what it was like by reading declassified official handwritten reports made by a commander during that night’s battle. These are not after-action reports written in the comfort of a base camp, but notes made during and immediately after the fighting. It’s difficult to read because the handwriting is understandably scribbly, and it’s filled with esoteric abbreviations. But here’s a sampling:
“Sudden tremendous amount of incoming 82 mm, RPG, satchel charges with main thrust of pull from north east finger. All maj bunkers were hit with first barrage. (CO, P, FDC, 81’s and arty plt cps). During hand to hand combat outside CP E-6 gained pomm with 2/4 who beyad supporting arty fire right on posit. in wire. Satchel charges, [other explosions] going off throughout inside perimeter. From this point on it was every man for himself. 0700 h medevac bird attempted to reach FSB Russell. From daylight to 1030h gained cas. count getting status of sit. found 25 en KIA conf. inside wire, will not be able to check outside perimeter.”
Sometime during that conflict, PFC Millison risked his life to pull a wounded friend out of harm’s way. When returning to the battle, he apparently triggered an explosive device. Records indicate that only six other Marines of the 3rd Division were killed that day.
PFC Millison was the son of Mr. and Mrs. Keith Millison of Sharon. After graduating from Sharon High School, he worked at GATX for over two years. When he received his draft notice, he chose to enlist in the Marine Corps.
He was survived by his parents, a daughter Melinda Denise, a brother Gary L., and grandmothers Mrs. Helen Harshman and Mrs. Elzetta Millison.
He was the second Sharon serviceman killed in Vietnam.
On the Vietnam Veterans Memorial Panel W31 Line 66