OBServation SquadRON Sixty Seven
The USS MILIUS is the 19th and BEST of the Navy’s new class of Arleigh Burke Guided Missile Destroyers. The ship is named for the late Captain Paul L. Milius, an OP-2E reconnaissance pilot who was shot down during Vietnam. She was commissioned into the fleet on November 23, 1996
Manning the Rails
July 1, 2005
2005 VO-67 Reunion
USS Milius Tour
On Friday July 1, 2005, as part of its fourth reunion activities, former members of VO-67, their families, friends and associates were invited to tour the great Aegis guided missile destroyer, USS Milius. The chartered buses delivered our group of around 175 to pier 10 where we were greeted by commanding officer CDR Sheridan, XO Lt. Commander Bodine, Command Master Chief Orloff and the crew of USS Milius. The visiting reunion guests were broken up into smaller groups and given a complete and informative tour of this fine war ship from bow to stern. The USS Milius is packed with the latest technology and staffed by the finest sailors the Navy has to offer.
The VO-67 reunion guests presented the Milius crew with an encased model of Captain Milius' OP-2E aircraft, MR-7. This outstanding model was donated by the Andy Zedebski family. Andy was a member of Crew-7 and was aboard when the aircraft was brought down by enemy ground fire in 1968. A special plaque was also presented to the crew. The plaque can be seen in the pictures on this web page.
The visiting members of VO-67 were presented by the crew of Milius, an embossed 5-inch shell fired from the ships forward gun during a resent battle in the "War on Terror". This shell will be placed in the VO-67 archives for all to see.
In a short and special ceremony, Sue Jenkins presented the remains of Airman Snoopy - Seagram's to the VO-67 archives. Snoopy Seagram's, the Crew-2 mascot, was recovered from the Laos crash sight. Sue has been Snoopy's caretaker for several years.
We are indeed proud of DDG-69, the USS Milius, her Command and Crew. We look forward to a continued relationship in the future.
Presentation of Ceremonial Bell
From Ships Crew USS Milius
Observation Squadron Sixty-Seven (VO-67)
November 30, 2001
Speech given by CDR. Harley CO of the USS Milius
(Edited by Bob Reynolds and Dave Steffy)
Milius Warriors, distinguished guests, ladies and gentlemen. Today we gather to celebrate our ships great birthday and to remember the history that allows such a celebration. It is fitting on this occasion to remember that it is people, brave men and women who make up our great Navy, both past and present. It is people that choose to be a part of this great earth and not merely on it , who truly set the course of our history .It is people like our namesake, Captain Paul Milius and the brave men of VO-67 who set the example for us to follow. An example of honor, of courage, and of commitment.
So, it is in recognition of these traits that distinguish these men that I make this presentation to our VO-67 friends today. We are grateful for the special bond that we share with you as warriors, as sailors and as friends. It is this story: 'Shall the good man teach his son, and shall never go by this day to the ending of the world for we in it shall be remembered'. We few, we happy few, we band of brothers. And so for our " Band of Brothers" in VO-67 with greatest respect and admiration, I am honored to present to you from this great crew a ceremonial bell to both mark and honor our special relationship.
“OTHERS BEFORE MYSELF”
DDG 69 is named in honor of the Navy pilot Captain Paul L. Milius. He was born 11 February, 1928, the youngest of four children, in Denver, Iowa, a small, rural community in Bremer County in the northeastern part of the state. He and the fifteen other members of the senior class graduated from Readlyn High School in May of 1946.
In April of 1946, just weeks before graduation, Captain Milius received his selective service notification and reported to his pre-induction physical examination at the local examining board on the second floor of the Waverly Savings Bank building in Waverly, Iowa. By 21 May of that year, the eighteen year old son of C.H. and Christina Milius was in “boot camp” at the Naval Training Center in San Diego, California, serving on active duty in the United States Navy.
Captain Milius was discharged from active duty in March of 1948. His enlisted naval experience in the aviation community had only enhanced his lifelong intrigue with aircraft and his desire to fly. Knowing the route to the cockpit begins with a college degree, he enrolled in Iowa State Teachers College, now the University of Northern Iowa, in Cedar Falls. Captain Milius continued to serve in the Naval Reserve throughout his time in college. In 1950, after attaining a two year degree, he applied for and was accepted into the Naval Aviation Cadet (NAVCAD) Program. In August 1950, he was back on active duty at the NAS Pensacola, Florida, attending the U.S. Naval School, Pre-Flight course. He successfully completed this course on 16 December 1950 and was sent to advanced training at the NAS Corpus Christi, Texas. On 16 December 1951, Aviation Cadet Milius was awarded the naval aviators wings of gold. On 21 December, he accepted the appointment and took the oath of office as an Ensign in the United States Naval Reserve with the naval aviators designator of 1325. On 30 December, he married his high school sweetheart (and class valedictorian), Darlene Meyerhoff.
Captain Milius’ early duty assignments as a naval aviator trained him in the Airborne Early Warning community. He spent the first three years of his career, from 1952 through 1955, attached to Airborne Early Squadron TWO (VW-2) at NAS Patuxent River, Maryland, where he gained extensive experience flying the multiengine Lockheed Constellation (WV-1) aircraft. He was subsequently posted to the NAS Hutchinson, Kansas, where he served as a flight instructor for the P-2V patrol aircraft until 1957. His daughter Annette, and son, David, were born during these years.
Following two years as a student at the General Line School in Monterey, California, then Lieutenant Milius was assigned to Air Antisubmarine Squadron TWENTY-THREE in San Francisco flying the S-2 aircraft. He served briefly with Air Antisubmarine Squadron TWENTY-FIVE in Long Beach, California, before he was reassigned to ships company onboard the aircraft carrier USS KEARSARGE (CVS-33). There he served in a variety of duties including Catapult and Arresting Gear Officer from November 1960 through November 1962. While onboard USS KEARSARGE (CVS-33), Captain Milius participated in the mission to retrieve Walter Schirra’s Mercury “Sigma 7” space capsule in 1962 and made two Western Pacific deployments. In 1962, now Lieutenant Commander Milius was assigned to NAS Miramar, California, where he served with Air Antisubmarine Squadron FORTY-ONE (VS-41), filling a variety of squadron billets specifically related to antisubmarine warfare and S-2 aircraft tactics.
Following an assignment as Airborne ASW training officer at the Fleet Air Electronic Training Unit Pacific, in NAS Alameda, California, then Commander Milius volunteered for duty in the newly established Observation Squadron SIXTY-SEVEN (VO-67). The new unit utilized converted P-2V aircraft, now known as the OP-2E, heavily armored and fitted with advanced land detection systems, for ground reconnaissance missions. The squadron deployed to Khno Phnom Airport in Thailand in 1967 and immediately began flying surveillance missions in the vicinity of the Ho Chi Min Trail. At 1157 local time on February 27, 1968, Commander Milius and the crew of his OP-2E aircraft were on an operational surveillance mission over Laos when the aircraft was hit in the radar well by a large explosive projectile, presumed a 37MM antiaircraft fire. One crew member was mortally wounded by the initial blast and fire broke out in the aircraft. As it became clear that the aircraft could not be saved, Captain Milius took the controls from the pilot, Lieutenant Bernie Walsh, and gave the crew the order to bail out. Captain Milius continued to control the aircraft to enable his crew to escape. Of eight surviving crew members of the initial blast, all but Captain Milius were safely rescued on the ground by the 37th Air Rescue Recovery Squadron Jolly Green Giants. Although Captain Milius was seen exiting the burning aircraft, heavy enemy fire in that area led to search efforts being discontinued before he could be recovered. He was subsequently declared Missing In Action in Southeast Asia in 1968. Captain Milius’ status was changed to Presumed Killed In Action ten years later. He was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross in 1978.
Warship Milius’s motto, “ALii Prae Me”, or “Others Before Myself”, was chosen to reflect the Personal ethic held throughout Captain Milius’ military career and his selfless act under fire.
Explanation of the Symbolism in the Crest and Shield
The ship's crest is designed in remembrance of the military service of the ship's namesake, Captain Paul Lloyd Milius, and the courage and dedication that promoted his selfless act of heroism.
The translation of the Latin motto "ALII PRAE ME" is
Dark blue and gold are colors traditionally used by the Navy and denote the sea and excellence. The shield itself reflects the power of the Aegis shield. The double-edged battle-ax symbolizes the power of the modern guided missile destroyer. The battle-ax harnesses is a warning that peace should be maintained; provoked and unleashed, the battle-ax is a punishing offensive weapon capable of delivering crushing blows. The trident reflects the prowess of MILIUS, capable of projecting sea power on the land, in the air, and on and beneath the sea. The crossed swords are the modern Navy sword of today and the cutlass of the John Paul Jones ear symbolizing the enduring tradition and heritage of the United States Navy. The border, for unity, is red highlighting readiness for action and sacrifice, if necessary. The seven bolts on the border represent the seven lives saved by Captain Milius' heroic action.
The lion suggests Captain Milius' extraordinary heroism as the aircraft commander in Observation Squadron Sixty-Seven for which he received the Navy Cross, represented by the cross plate, and underscored his selfless courage and inspiring devotion to duty.
"OTHERS BEFORE MYSELF"
Hear my voice, America! Though I speak through the mist of 200 years, my shout for freedom will echo through liberty's halls for many centuries to come. Hear me speak, for my words are of truth and justice, and the rights of man. For those ideals I have spilled my blood upon the world's troubled waters. Listen well, for my time is eternal ~ yours is but a moment. I am the spirit of heroes past and future.
I am the American Sailor. I was born upon the icy shores at Plymouth, rocked upon the waves of the Atlantic, and nursed in the wilderness of Virginia. I cut my teeth on New England codfish, and I was clothed in southern cotton. I built muscle at the halyards of New Bedford whalers, and I gained my sea legs high atop mizzen of yankee clipper ships.
Yes, I am the American Sailor, one of the greatest seamen the world has ever known. The sea is my home and my words are tempered by the sound of paddle wheels on the Mississippi and the song of whales off Greenland's barren shore. My eyes have grown dim from the glare of sunshine on blue water, and my heart is full of star-strewn nights under the Southern Cross. My hands are raw from winter storms while sailing down round the Horn, and they are blistered from the heat of cannon broadside while defending our nation. I am the American Sailor, and I have seen the sunset of a thousand distant, lonely lands.
I am the American Sailor. It was I who stood tall beside John Paul Jones as he shouted, "I have not yet begun to fight!" I fought upon the Lake Erie with Perry, and I rode with Stephen Decatur into Tripoli Harbor to burn Philadelphia. I met Guerriere aboard Constitution, and I was lashed to the mast with Admiral Farragut at Mobile Bay. I have heard the clang of Confederate shot against the sides of Monitor. I have suffered the cold with Peary at the North Pole, and I responded when Dewy said, "You may fire when ready Gridley," at Manila Bay. It was I who transported supplies through submarine infested waters when our soldier's were called "over there." I was there as Admiral Byrd crossed the South Pole. It was I who went down with the Arizona at Pearl Harbor, who supported our troops at Inchon, and patrolled dark deadly waters of the Mekong Delta.
I am the American Sailor and I wear many faces. I am a pilot soaring across God's blue canopy and I am a Seabee atop a dusty bulldozer in the South Pacific. I am a corpsman nursing the wounded in the jungle, and I am a torpedoman in the Nautilus deep beneath the North Pole. I am hard and I am strong. But it was my eyes that filled with tears when my brother went down with the Thresher, and it was my heart that rejoiced when Commander Shepherd rocketed into orbit above the earth. It was I who languished in a Viet Cong prison camp, and it was I who walked upon the moon. It was I who saved the Stark and the Samuel B. Roberts in the mine infested waters of the Persian Gulf. It was I who pulled my brothers from the smoke filled compartments of the Bonefish and wept when my shipmates died on the Iowa and White Plains. When called again, I was there, on the tip of the spear for Operations Desert Shield and Desert Storm.
I am the American Sailor. I am white and black, yellow, red and brown. I am Christian, Jew, Muslim and Buddhist. I am Irish, Filipino, African, French, Chinese, and Indian. And my standard is the outstretched hand of Liberty. Today, I serve around the world; on land, in the air, on and under the sea. I serve proudly, at peace once again, but with the fervent prayer that I need not be called again. Tell your children of me. Tell them of my sacrifice, and how my spirit soars above their country. I have spread the mantle of my nation over the ocean, and I will guard her forever.
I am her heritage and yours.
I Am The American Sailor..........
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