Millikin, John

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Millikin, John, born 07-01-1888 in Indiana, graduated from West Point in 1910 with a Bachelor of Science Degree. He graduated from the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas in 1912, Millikin was promoted to Lieutenant Colonel of Cavalry 16-11-1918. He was honourably discharged from the National Army 15-03-1920, and reverted to his Regular Army rank of Captain. After World War I, Captain Millikin Graduated from the Cavalry School Advanced Course, and he returned to the Command and General Staff School at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas as a distinguished graduate ranking 30th out of 245 in 1926. He served as a faculty member from 1926 to 1930.

World War II

General Millikin commanded the 2nd Cavalry as part of the 1st Armoured Corps attached to the 2nd Army  during the Louisiana Manoeuvres in September 1941. Commanding General 33rd Division, nickname “Golden Cross”   September 1942 to September 1943.

The 33rd Division deployed to the pacific 07-07-1943, in Hawaii the division was divided into different units along the island chain. 18-10-1943 Major General Percy W. Clarkson  took command of the division. Percy Clarkson died 14-09-1962. The casualties of the 33rd Division, total 6.864 , killed in action 691 and wounded in action 6.173.

Major General Millikin took command of III Corps in October 1943 at Fort McPherson, Georgia.

On 23-08-1944, the corps headquarters departed California for Camp Myles Standish in Massachusetts. It deployed for the European Theatre of Operations on 05-09-1944. Upon arrival at Cherbourg, France, the corps was assigned to the Ninth Army , Twelfth United States Army Group , and given the code name “CENTURY” which it retained throughout the war. The corps headquarters was established at Carteret, in Normandy, and for six weeks, the corps received and processed all the troops of the 12th Army Group arriving over the Normandy beaches during that period. The corps also participated in the “Red Ball Express” by organizing 45 provisional truck companies to carry fuel and ammunition for the units on the front lines.

III Corps was assigned to the Third United States Army  on 10-10-1944, and moved to Etain, near Verdun, and into combat. The corps’ first fighting was for the Metz region, as it was moved to attack Fort Jeanne d’Arc, one of the last forts holding out in the region. That fort fell on 13-12-1944.

On 02-03-1945, Major General Millikin assigned the 14th Tank Battalion commanded by Lieutenant Colonel Leonard E. Engeman to the north flank and attached it to the 1st Division  .Sixteen members of the division were awarded the Medal of Honor. The division lost 3.616 killed in action, 15.208 wounded in action, and 664 died of wounds. The 9th Armoured’s Combat Command B, nicknamed “Phantom”  attacked towards the Erft river, and Combat Command A advanced towards the Ahr river. They were to then move south to capture Remagen and Sinzeg before linking up with the flanks of Lieutenant General George Smith Patton Third Army.

Seeing the bridge intact, Brigadier General William M. Hoge Commander of Combat Group A waited for a platoon of the 9th Infantry Division to reach the far bank, hoping the bridge would stand, and then called Major General John William Leonard to inform him the bridge had been captured.

Major General Millikin ordered that the 47th Infantry Regiment be motorized and dispatched to Remagen as soon as possible. Millikin relayed the news to General Omar “Brad” Bradley´s 12th US Army Group headquarters at 8:15 PM. Millikin attached the 7th Armoured Division to III Corps so they could relieve the 9th Infantry Division who were already crossing the Rhine. He also ordered the 2nd Infantry Division to relieve the 78th Infantry Division so it too could cross the Rhine and defend the bridgehead.

On 17-03-1945, First Army commander General Courtney Hicks Hodges relieved III Corps Commander Millikin of his command and Major General James Van Fleet took over. From the day the bridge had been captured until he was relieved of command, Millikin had never visited the eastern bank of the Rhine. Hodges and some of his staff had complained about the poor control of forces on both sides of the bridge and the lack of information on troop dispositions. Hodges also complained later that Millikin repeatedly disobeyed his orders including a directive to drive his forces north along the east bank and open a crossing for VII Corps, nickname “The Jayhawk Corps” , and that he failed to attach enough infantry support to the 9th Armoured Division. The Chief of Staff of the 9th Infantry Division, Colonel William Westmoreland,

 later commented that, “So irresolute was the III Corps Commander, so lacking in confidence, that I feared for the safety of the bridgehead.” Westmoreland died old age 91 on 18-07-2005 in Charleston, South Carolina.

Within a month, Millikin assumed command of the 13th Armoured Division, nickname “The Black Cats”  whose commander had been seriously wounded. Millikin, previously highly rated by General Patton, formally objected to an unsatisfactory rating given him after his relief on 07-05-1945 by Courtney Hodges, commander of the U.S. First Army. Millikin affirmed that, “under the existing conditions my actions taken on the ground were justified in the light of successful results.” General Bradley noted on the efficiency report that Millikin’s successor, General Van Fleet, “was better qualified to command the corps than General Millikin with his limited experience.” Bradley added that Millikin’s record should not be adversely affected by his relief.

Death and burial ground of Millikin, John.

Major General Millikin returned to the Regular Army 30-04-1946 in his permanent rank of Colonel, and was promoted to Brigadier General 24-01-1948. He retired 29-02-1948 and was promoted to Major General (Retired) June 29-06-1948. General Millikin died November 06-11-1970 and is buried with his wife Mildred, born March who died age 73 on 17-07-1967, on Arlington National Cemetery, Virginia, USA, Section 1-grave 168-D.

 

 

 

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