Remembering: Lt. Col Herbert Mills, Jr.

Today we are honoring Lt. Col Herbert Mills, Jr. Herbert came to El Paso in 1939 from Sterling City and joined the Active 20-30 Club of El Paso #96 shortly thereafter. In 1940 he joined the Army and was stationed in Fort Bliss before being deployed to the European Theatre. While serving with the 33rd Armored Regiment, 3rd Armored Division he was awarded a Silver Star and Bronze Star for his actions. On November 17th, 1944 near Scherpenseel and Hastenrath, Germany, Lt. Col Mills led his task force over difficult terrain, across dense minefields and through devastating enemy fire to secure a vital objective. On the initial day of the assault, one of his tanks was hit blocking the advance of the column through a lane cleared of mines. Lieutenant Colonel Mills dismounted from his tank, personally directed engineers in clearing another lane, and led his force through the minefield. While reorganizing his position, a shell struck within a few feet of him, causing injury to his right leg. Though in much pain, he refused medical aid and continued his reconnaissance on foot to improve his positions. Although he lost all officers of his medium tank companies and thirty-three tanks, Lieutenant Colonel Mills kept his force effectively organized and, in the face of enemy opposition, captured his objective without infantry support. While Lieutenant Colonel Mills was in the process of communicating with higher headquarters to report that his mission was accomplished, a shell struck the building above his tank, fatally wounding him. For his actions he was awarded the army’s second-highest honor, the Distinguished Service Cross. He was survived by his wife Claire Mills and his two year old son Herbert Mills III.

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