102-Year-Old Trailblazing World War II Vet Receives Extremely Rare Navy Honor

Andy Mills, a 102-year-old Navy veteran of World War II before a ceremony at Naval Base Coronado, California, where a new naval barracks was named in his honor on Aug. 10.
U.S. Navy photo.

As many as 934 sailors will soon become intimately familiar with the name Andrew Mills, the namesake for a newly inaugurated barracks on Naval Base Coronado, California. And on Aug. 10, Mills, a Navy veteran, trailblazer and World War II hero who risked his life in the face of racial discrimination, was there to meet them.

“Oh beautiful,” the 102-year-old veteran said from his wheelchair during the ceremony, according to the Associated Press. “That’s one of the most beautiful things I’ve ever seen so far.”

Mills, one of the first black sailors to achieve the rank of chief in the Navy,  was honored in a public ceremony at Coronado, where he was given a hero’s welcome. “I think I have a lot of friends,” Mills joked during an interview with reporters. “It’s good to have friends.”

Andy Mills speaks with reporters during an Aug. 10 inauguration of Andrew Mills Hall, on Naval Base Coronado, California.U.S. Navy photo.

Naming a building after a living person is uncommon since it must be proven that the namesake demonstrated the Navy's core values — honor, courage, and commitment — throughout their career, not just one specific instance, San Diego Union Tribune reported. It also requires extensive documentation. It's a high standard, but one Mills clearly met — stretching back 75 years to the Battle of Midway.

Related:  A Navy Veteran’s Story Of Brotherhood During The Jim Crow Era »

Navy veteran Andy Mills attends an inauguration ceremony for Andrew Mills Hall - a new barracks at Naval Base Coronado, California, named in his honor.U.S. Navy photo

On June 4, 1942, during World War II, Mills was serving aboard the USS Yorktown when Japanese bombers attacked the aircraft carrier. Believing the vessel would sink, the crew abandoned ship.

But two days later, it was still afloat when the call came down — somebody needed to go aboard the badly damaged vessel to recover the ship’s payroll and other documents from a safe. Mills, overhearing one of the officers say, “I need one of those black boys over there" to retrieve the payroll, agreed to go, he recounted during the ceremony. The ship’s paymaster, along with Mills and another steward — a role reserved for minorities in the then-segregated Navy — went back aboard to retrieve the payroll. But even though he had the combination, the paymaster couldn’t get the safe open, so Mills stepped forward and gave it a try. “Click. I went up there and turned it. Click,” Mills said. “Money fell all out of it.”

Grabbing the cash and the other documents, the sailors made their way off the Yorktown. The next day, it was attacked again by the Japanese, and sunk on June 7.

The decision to name the new barracks came after the commanding officer of Naval Station Coronado at the time, Capt. Stephen Barnett, met Mills two years ago in San Diego at a parade.

Navy veteran Andy Mills during a ribbon cutting ceremony for Andrew Mills Hall, a newly built barracks named in his honor.U.S. Navy photo

"He wasn't treated like his shipmates but it never stopped him from his duty — a duty he carried out with courage, honor and commitment,” Barnett told the crowd at the ceremony. “And that remains a cornerstone of his character now.”


(Associated Press/Tom Williams)

Ronny Jackson, the former White House physician and retired Navy rear admiral who had a short run as the nominee for the Department of Veterans Affairs in 2018, now plans to run for a seat in Congress.

Read More Show Less

The Pentagon will implement an "operational pause" on the training of foreign students inside the United States as the military undergoes a review of screening procedures, according to senior defense officials.

Read More Show Less
In this Nov 24, 2009, file photo, a University of Phoenix billboard is shown in Chandler, Ariz. The University of Phoenix for-profit college and its parent company will pay $50 million and cancel $141 million in student debt to settle allegations of deceptive advertisement brought by the Federal Trade Commission. (AP Photo/Matt York)

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The University of Phoenix, which is owned by Apollo Education Group, has agreed to pay $191 million to settle charges that it falsely advertised close ties with major U.S. companies that could lead to jobs for students, the Federal Trade Commission said on Tuesday.

The University of Phoenix will pay $50 million to the FTC to return to consumers and cancel $141 million in student debt.

Some of the advertisements targeted military and Hispanic students, the FTC said.

Read More Show Less
Shane Reynolds, UCF Research Associate demonstrates an AR/VR system to train soldiers and Marines on how to improve their ability to detect improvised explosive devices. (Orlando Sentinel/Ricardo Ramirez Buxeda)

As UCF research associate Shane Reynolds guides his avatar over a virtual minefield using his iPad, small beeps and whistles reveal the location of the scourge of the modern war zone: Improvised Explosive Devices, or IEDs. He must take his time to sweep every last inch of the playing field to make sure his character doesn't miss any of the often-deadly bombs.

Despite his slow pace, Reynolds makes a small misstep and with a kaboom! a bomb blows up his player, graphically scattering body parts.

Read More Show Less
US Navy

The Navy has posthumously awarded aviator and aircrewman wings to three sailors killed in last week's shooting at Naval Air Station Pensacola.

"The selfless acts of heroism displayed by these young Sailors the morning of Dec. 6 are nothing short of incredible," Chief of Naval Air Training Rear Adm. Daniel Dwyer said in a statement.

Read More Show Less