lcpl eugene c mills, iii
Gene left his home town of Laurel, Maryland to become a United States Marine on Father's Day in 2008. He knew just before he turned 11 years old that he would do everything in his power to protect his family and country. After watching the collapse of New York City's Twin Towers on television, he stated, "I am joining the military to protect our Country ".
On 22 JUN 2012, 1st Battalion / 8th Marines were battle ready to assist in "Operation JAWS5.” They deployed to Sangin Valley, Helmand province, Afghanistan. LCpl. Mills was a fire team leader for BRAVO company and had already led his men in over 100 combat missions. 1/8 had just 5 days left on their deployment when this critical mission was ordered. LCpl. Mills called his father 2 days earlier, "I'll be home in a month Pops, promise me beer & crabs & cigars.”
In the early morning hours, LCpl. Mills climbed to a rooftop establishing high ground. The position was key to ensure the safety of Marines on the ground. Almost immediately, 1/8 came under attack by a sizeable Taliban force. At times, the Taliban was as close as 50 meters. LCpl. Mills' accurate 40mm grenade fire kept the Taliban from advancing on 1/8's position. LCpl. Mills carefully launched numerous 40mm grenades, killing several terrorists and their commanding officer, forcing the enemy to hastily retreat. As stated in LCpl. Mills' valor citation, "LCpl. Mills deployed accurate 40mm grenades which was key in decimating the Taliban command presence.”
As the Taliban began to retreat and the fighting stopped, Marines from 1/8 started to regroup. LCpl. Mills moved to a different location on the roof to cover Marines on the ground. Gunfire erupted and LCpl. Mills was struck in the neck at the shoulder. As his Corpsman went to his aid, LCpl. Mills yelled, "I am okay, tell Maitre to stay low and return fire.” These are the last words he would ever speak.
Gene is a son, a brother, a warrior and a hero, bravely offering the ultimate sacrifice to protect his country and to make this world a better place.
"Man hath no greater love than to lay his life down for his brother."
It is our honor to tell his story.