Smyrna To Observe Veterans’ Day

Frank MillenSmyrna will celebrate Veterans Day Nov. 11, in a ceremony at 11 a.m. at the Veterans Memorial at 800 King Street featuring hometown hero Frank Millen.

Millen, a retired USAF 26-year veteran, was a Chief Master Sergeant, earned a Silver Star, two Distinguished Flying Crosses and flew over 8,00 hours of combat missions in Southeast Asia from 1970 to 1973. He is also a husband, father, grandfather and community leader.

Millen has been in one plane crash and in four planes that nearly didn’t land in one piece. “One flight was in the middle of the night,” he says.

“It was March 29, 1971, and we were in the one and only best aircraft ever built: the Lockheed/Martin C-130E Hercules. We had about two dozen Vietnamese men, women and kids on board. Our number two engine oil sump pump failed and a massive amount of oil flowed into the engine’s tail pipe and caught fire. We looked like a rocket with flames shooting out as far as the tail. The bright orange glow reflected in the side windows and made the inside of the plane look like the inside of a pumpkin. We eventually extinguished the flames and landed at a nearby emergency airfield. Just another day in flight,” Millen reminisces nonchalantly, omitting that he earned a Distinguished Flying Cross that day.

In time, he earned a Silver Star, another Distinguished Flying Cross and six Air Medals, flew Bob Hope, made dozens of airdrops to American soldiers and Vietnamese villagers, took part in the 1972 North Vietnamese Easter Offensive, lost many friends, etc. His Silver Star came on the last day of the war when his C-130 came under heavy mortar fire. Shrapnel hit the plane, disabled an engine, flattened a tire and damaged the main hydraulics. His crew saved the plane from certain destruction by making a dangerous takeoff and flying it Thailand. Forty-eight hours later, he was on the first American plane to land in Hanoi.

Rounding out the program, the Whitefield Academy Concert Band and the Campbell Middle School Choir, both perennial crowd favorites, will perform the National Anthem, America the Beautiful and more.
In case of inclement weather, the event will be inside the adjacent Smyrna Community Center.

Sponsors include the City of Smyrna, the Smyrna Veterans Committee, the Veterans Memorial Association of Smyrna, American Legion Post 160 and the Smyrna Rotary Club.

From the November 2015 issue of The Bright Side, Cobb County Georgia’s Newspaper covering Smyrna, Vinings, Mableton, Powder Springs and Austell, GA.