During the American Legion Colonel Benson W. Hough Post 457 Annual Dinner on Nov. 10, members bestowed the Legionnaire Of The Year Award to Vietnam Veteran and Delaware resident Thomas Mills.
Mills joined the U.S. Navy while he was still in high school. During the summer he went to Boot Camp and returned home and graduated from high school. He reported for duty at the Navy Yard in Philadelphia and was assigned to Attack Squadron 75.
Mills spent two tours in Vietnam, and on the first tour he received his American Legion membership in the mail from his mother while he was in a foxhole fighting. He has been a member of the American Legion for over 52 years.
During the TET Offensive, Mills was wounded and reassigned to Washington D.C., where he served as driver for the Chief of Naval Operations for four years. During his career with the Navy he served on Aircraft Carriers, Frigates, and General Purpose Amphibious Assault Ships.
Mills spent four years at Guantanamo, Cuba, and after that tour was medically retired in San Diego, California.
Post 457 Adjutant Gene Fuller said Mills is one of the most active members of the post.
“Thomas has worked as a volunteer at Grady Hospital for many years,” Fuller said. “He also volunteers for the Delaware County Meals on Wheels Program. And presently serves as Captain of the Delaware County Veterans Association Funeral Honor Guard that provides Military Funeral Honors for Delaware County’s deceased Veterans when requested by their family.”
While presenting the When presenting the Post 457 Legionnaire Of The Year Award, post commander Scott Bloch said he was proud to be a part of a group that has dedicated members like Thomas Mills.
“I could not think of a more deserving person to be honored with this award,” Bloch said.
In accepting the award, Mills said he was proud to be a part of Post 457, and that he would continue to serve his community as long as his health would permit.
Reporter Lenny C. Lepola can be reached at 614-266-6093.