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Milius (DDG-69)


Paul Lloyd Milius, born on 11 February 1928, in Denver, Bremer County, Iowa, the youngest of four children. Milius grew up in the rural area, graduating with the other 15 students of Readlyn High School’s Class of 1946. That April, just weeks before his graduation, he received his selective service notification and reported to his pre-induction examination board on the second floor of the Waverly Savings Bank in Waverly, Iowa. That summer he completed recruit training at Naval Training Center San Diego, Calif., and then served in naval aviation.

Milius (DDG-69) 1996-

He was discharged from active duty in March 1948, but his enlisted experience and lifelong interest in aviation increased his desire to fly. He enrolled in Iowa State Teacher’s College at Cedar Falls, continuing his service in the Naval Reserve while attending classes. In 1950 he was accepted into the Naval Aviation Cadet Program, completing the pre-flight course at Naval Air Station (NAS) Pensacola, Fla., from 12 August-16 December 1950. Milius then completed his basic pilot training at NAS Corpus Christi, Texas, receiving his naval aviator’s wings on 16 December 1951. On 21 December he took the oath of office as an ensign in the Naval Reserve. The day before New Year’s Eve he married his high school sweetheart (and class valedictorian), Darlene L. Meyerhoff. Their union produced two children, David L. and Annette C.

Milius’ early assignments carried him into the airborne early warning community. He spent the first three years of his commissioned aviation career serving with Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VW) 2 at NAS Patuxent River, Md., flying Lockheed WV-1 Constellations. From 1955-1957 he instructed students in the operation of Lockheed P2V Neptunes at NAS Hutchinson, Kansas.

Following two years at the General Line School at Monterey, Calif., he flew Grumman S2F Trackers with Air Antisubmarine Squadron (VS) 23 at San Francisco, Calif. He served briefly with VS-25 at Long Beach, Calif., before being reassigned to the ship’s company on board antisubmarine warfare support aircraft carrier Kearsarge (CVS-33). He carried out a variety of duties on board Kearsarge, including catapult officer and arresting gear officer, from November 1960-November 1962. Milius made two deployments with the ship to the Western Pacific. Just before he was transferred he also participated in the recovery of Cmdr. Walter M. Schirra, when the astronaut and space capsule Sigma 7 splashed down in the Pacific 275 miles northeast of Midway Island, near 32°5’N, 174°28’W, and about 9,000 yards from primary recovery ship Kearsarge, on 3 October 1962. Helicopters dropped swimmers near the capsule and Kearsarge hoisted Sigma 7 and Schirra on board the carrier. Milius then shifted to VS-41 at NAS Miramar, Calif., where he filled squadron billets relating to antisubmarine warfare tactics, followed by an assignment as an airborne antisubmarine warfare training officer at Fleet Air Electronic Training Unit Pacific at NAS Alameda, Calif.

In 1966 the Navy created a project initially designated Air Launched Acoustical Reconnaissance (ALARS) as part of the Trail Road Interdiction Mission (TRIM) program to monitor communist infiltration into South Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos, which veterans dubbed the “McNamara Line” after Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara. In August 1966 a scientific study group proposed a broader air-supported barrier system and the following month the Secretary of Defense established the Defense Communications Planning Group to implement the concept. Beginning in November 1967, 12 Lockheed OP-2E Neptunes from Observation Squadron (VO) 67 deployed to Nakhon Phanom Royal Thai Air Force Base, Thailand. The Neptunes flew armed reconnaissance flights to seed suspected communist infiltration routes with Air Delivered Seismic Intrusion Detectors (ADSIDs). Enemy 37 millimeter gunfire repeatedly drove the flights to five thousand feet, but sensors dropped from the higher altitude impacted the soil and prohibited the transmissions of the antennae. Milius volunteered for duty with the squadron.

Lt. Bernard Walsh flew Sophomore 50, an OP-2E Neptune, BuNo. 131484, on a seeding mission from Nakhon Phanom on 27 February 1968. Milius sat in the right seat as the plane commander, and Lt. (j.g.) Richard E. Jacobs, Ens. Thomas G. Wells, ATN2 Roger L. Arntzen, AO2 Ralph L. Gonzales Jr., ATN2 John F. Hartzheim, ADR3 George C.C. Wing, and ADR3 Andrew G. Zdebski comprised the rest of the crew. The Neptune dropped four ADSIDs from an altitude of 5,976 feet above mean sea level (5,000 feet above the ground), and just as it dropped the fifth at 1157, enemy fire struck the plane just below the flight deck (near the radar well area) severely damaging the hydraulic and electrical systems. The crewmen encountered flames and acrid smoke and fumes in the area of the flight deck and bomb bay.

Milius took control, added full power, and climbed to the right to gain altitude, valiantly ordering his men to abandon the Neptune. Jacobs removed the astrohatch to eliminate the smoke. The flames engulfing the area, however, prevented the men from escaping through the forward exit, and they attempted to get out via the rear hatch. As Jacobs turned to proceed aft and bail out, he discovered Hartzheim lying in the aisle, where he had taken the full force of the antiaircraft projectile. Jacobs carried the fallen crewman over the wing beam and to the after station. Wells determinedly crawled several times into the flames unsuccessfully searching for the fire extinguisher, burning his hands, before he and Milius parachuted. The Neptune continued in a right turn and slammed into the ground near 17°5ˈN, 106°8ˈE. USAF Douglas A-1 Skyraiders of the 602nd Fighter Commando Squadron flew combat air patrol while Jolly Green 20 and Jolly Green 67, USAF Sikorsky HH-3Es of the 37th Air Rescue Squadron, braved enemy small arms fire from a hill about 500 yards west of the downed plane and rescued the other men, Wells and Zdbeski suffering wounds that required medical treatment at a hospital. Searchers failed to locate Milius, and he received the posthumous award of the Navy Cross for his “heroic efforts and inspiring devotion to duty.” The USAF absorbed the TRIM program in June 1968.

The first U.S. Navy ship named Milius.

(DDG-69: displacement 8,960; length 505'; beam 66'; draft 32'; speed 30+ knots; complement 356; armament 1 5-inch, 2 Mk 41 Vertical Launch System (VLS) for BGM-109 Tomahawks, RIM-156 SM-2MR Standards, and RUM-139 VL-ASROC Antisubmarine Rockets, 8 RGM-84 Harpoons (2 Mk 141 launchers), 2 Mk 15 Close In Weapon Systems (CIWS), 4 .50 caliber machine guns, and 6 Mk 32 torpedo tubes, aircraft operate (but not embark) 1 Sikorsky SH-60B Light Airborne Multi-Purpose System (LAMPS) Mk III Seahawk; class Arleigh Burke)

Milius (DDG-69) was laid down on 8 August 1994 at Pascagoula, Miss., by Northrop Grumman Ship Systems; launched on 28 October 1995; sponsored by Mrs. Annette C. Milius, daughter of the late Capt. Milius; and commissioned on 23 November 1996, Cmdr. Daine E. Eisold in command.

Milius (DDG-69) 1996-Seal


Dark blue and gold are the colors traditionally associated with the Navy and represent the sea and excellence. The shield itself reflects the power of the Aegis shield. The double-edged battle-axe symbolizes the power of a modern guided missile destroyer. The battle-axe harnessed is a warning to all that peace should be maintained; provoked and unleashed, the battle-axe is a punishing offensive weapon capable of delivering crushing blows. The trident reflects the prowess of Milius (DDG-69), capable of projecting sea power on 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 era, symbolizing the enduring traditions 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 that Milius heroically saved.


The lion suggests Capt. (then Cmdr.) Milius’ extraordinary heroism as the aircraft commander in VO-67 for which he received the Navy Cross, represented by the cross pate, and underscores his selfless courage and inspirational devotion to duty.


The translation of the Latin motto is “Others Before Myself.”

In response to Saudi émigré Usama bin Lāden’s two fatāwās (Islamic legal pronouncements), in which he instructed Muslims to kill Americans, al-Qaeda terrorists detonated truck bombs at the U.S. Embassies at Nairobi, Kenya, and Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania, killing at least 301 people including 12 Americans, and injuring an estimated 5,000 victims, on 7 August 1998. On 20 August, the U.S. launched Operation Infinite Reach [Resolute Response], two simultaneous retaliatory raids in response to the twin al-Qaeda attacks.

Guided missile cruisers Cowpens (CG-63) and Shiloh (CG-67), destroyer Elliott (DD-967), Milius, and attack submarine Columbia (SSN-771) operating with the Abraham Lincoln (CVN-72) Carrier Battle Group in the North Arabian Sea, fired 73 BGM-109 Tomahawk Land Attack Missiles (TLAMs) at the Zhawar Kili al-Badr terrorist training and support complex, located 30 miles southwest of Khowst, Afghanistan. Destroyers Briscoe (DD-977) and Hayler (DD-997), steaming in the Red Sea, launched six more TLAMs against the al-Shifa pharmaceutical plant near Khartoum, Sudan. Intelligence analysts suspected the plant of having ties to bin Lāden, and of manufacturing precursor chemicals for the deadly VX series of nerve gas. The Sudanese and critics claimed that the plant did not produce VX.

Additional ships involved in these actions included amphibious assault ship Essex (LHD-2), dock landing ship Anchorage (LSD-36), and amphibious transport dock Duluth (LPD-6), with the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit embarked. Forward deployed Lockheed EP-3E Aries IIs of Fleet Air Reconnaissance Squadron (VQ) 1 and P-3C Orions of Patrol Squadron (VP) 9 operated as part of Task Force 57. The attacks killed at least 11 terrorists. Abraham Lincoln evaluated the “pivotal” role of her command, control, communications, computers, and information suite in the two simultaneous operations on two separate continents, and in the dissemination of the initial battle damage assessment.

Milius deployed for Operation Iraqi Freedom I and overnight on 21 and 22 March 2003, she joined 29 other U.S. and British ships and submarines that fired TLAMs against Iraqi military targets during the initial battles.

Milius (DDG-69) 1996-030322-N-1035L-002
Milius launches a TLAM toward Iraqi military targets, 22 March 2003. (Photographer’s Mate 1st Class Thomas Lynaugh, U.S. Navy Photograph 030322-N-1035L-002, Navy NewsStand)
Milius (DDG-69) 1996-030520-N-0295M-010
The destroyer fires her gun during a training exercise while returning from Operation Iraqi Freedom I, 20 May 2003 (Photographer’s Mate 2nd Class Daniel J. McLain, U.S. Navy Photograph 030520-N-0295M-010, Navy NewsStand)

She came about following the initial fighting and sailed for home. An Indonesian ferry meanwhile sailed from Sula to Buru, Indonesian islands, on 2 May 2003, but suffered electrical generator and diesel propulsion engine failure on 7 May and drifted for three days, the castaways unsuccessfully attempting to alert passing ships to their plight. Milius operated with Constellation (CV-64) about 36 nautical miles southeast of Pulau-Sanana Island, Indonesia, on 10 May, when the aircraft carrier’s officer of the deck sighted people on board the ferry signaling for help with a flashing light, waving a white flag, and shooting flares. The destroyer launched a team in a rigid hull inflatable boat (RHIB) to access the situation. The RHIB crew boarded the ferry and restored her electrical power, but could not repair the engine. None of the 27 people on board the vessel spoke English, so a helo flew an Indonesian speaking interpreter from Constellation, enabling the Americans to provide the mariners food and water. Milius took the derelict vessel in tow to Pulau-Sanana, the people on board chanting “USA! USA!”

On 26 December 2004, a magnitude 9.0 earthquake occurred off the west coast of Sumatra, Indonesia, triggering a tsunami across the Indian Ocean littoral. The waves reached heights of 30 feet in shallow waters and a width sometimes extending to six miles, and the disaster killed more than 230,000 people. Combined Support Force 536 coordinated Operation Unified Assistance, multinational relief efforts. United States naval forces often reached disaster zones before international aid agencies, and aircraft delivered supplies and emergency responders to otherwise inaccessible inland areas. Abraham Lincoln lay at Hong Kong when the disaster struck. Orders directed the ship to assist relief efforts, and she sailed from Hong Kong on 28 December. Upon arrival in the stricken region, the ship maneuvered off the Indonesian coast from positions near Banda Aceh on the northern tip of Sumatra, which provided strategic locations near to the areas devastated by the tsunami, facilitating efforts to reach victims of the tragedy.

Additional ships that supported these operations included amphibious assault ships Bonhomme Richard (LHD-6) and Essex  (that relieved Bonhomme Richard on 18 January 2005) dock landing ships Fort McHenry (LSD-43) and Rushmore (LSD-47), amphibious transport dock Duluth, guided missile cruiser Bunker Hill (CG-52), Milius, guided missile frigate Thach (FFG-43), and Coast Guard high endurance cutter Munro (WHEC-724). At various times, vessels of the Military Sealift Command also supported Unified Assistance including hospital ship Mercy (T-AH-19), combat store ships Niagara Falls (T-AFS 3) and San Jose (T-AFS-7), and fleet replenishment oilers John Ericsson (T-AO-194), Tippecanoe (T-AO-199) and Yukon (T-AO-202). Maritime prepositioning ships of the command that took part in these humanitarian relief operations comprised container and roll-on/roll-off ships PFC James Anderson, Jr. (T-AK-3002), Cpl Louis J. Hauge, Jr. (T-AK-3000), 1st Lt Alex Bonnyman (T-AK-3002), 1st Lt Harry L. Martin (T-AK-3015), 1st Lt Jack Lummus (T-AK-3011), and Maj Stephen W. Pless (T-AK-3007). Oceanographic survey ships John McDonnell (T-AGS-51) and Mary Sears (T-AGS-65) conducted hydrographic surveys of the ocean bottom off the Indonesian coast, near the epicenter of the earthquake, to collect data to assist in predicting natural disasters.

Four Sikorsky SH-60B Seahawks of Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron Light (HSL) 47 and some SH-60Fs and HH-60Hs of Helicopter Antisubmarine Squadron (HS) 2, embarked on board Abraham Lincoln, began to ferry supplies from collection points in Sumatra to victims, during the early morning hours of 1 January 2005. The helicopter intensive nature of the support missions required the Seahawks to log over 1,000 hours , more than three times the expected wear-and-tear on the helos during their standard deployments.

Milius (DDG-69) 1996-050116-N-3823K-133
A Sikorsky SH-60B Seahawk delivers supplies to Indonesian tsunami victims, at 18 January 2005. (Unattributed U.S. Navy Photograph 050116-N-3823K-133, Navy NewsStand)

Because some of the Marines embarked on board the amphibious ships had deployed to Iraq, the ships eventually gathered reinforcements that included four Sikorsky MH-53E Sea Dragons of Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 15 Detachment 2, based in Bahrain, six Boeing Vertol CH-46E Sea Knights deployed from Okinawa, Japan, and two additional MH-60S Seahawks of Helicopter Combat Support Squadron (HC) 5, embarked on board Niagara Falls. A wide range of other naval aviation forces also supported the operation, including Fleet Logistics Support Squadron (VRC) 30, Helicopter Combat Support Squadron (HC) 11, Marine Aerial Refueler Transport Squadron (VMGR) 352, and a Coast Guard Lockheed HC-130H Hercules. Furthermore, Lockheed P-3C Orions of Patrol Squadrons (VPs) 4 and 8 relayed images of ravaged areas to support centers, enabling analysts to direct relief efforts where victims most needed help.

Abraham Lincoln came about from Indonesian waters on 3 February 2005, and 11 days later Combined Support Force 536 ceased relief operations. President George W. Bush and former President William J. [Bill] Clinton visited Fort McHenry to thank servicemembers for their participation in Operation Unified Assistance, on 20 February. Despite earthquake aftershocks and logistic problems, U.S. aircraft flew 1,747 missions and transported 3,043 passengers during these operations. Sailors and marines in these aircraft and on board the ships delivered 5.92 million pounds of supplies to people in Indonesia, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.

Judge Florence-Marie Cooper of the U.S. District Court for the Central District of California embarked on board Milius while the ship trained in southern Californian waters on 27 December 2008. Cooper observed the ship’s operations as part of ongoing litigation concerning the potential effect of mid-frequency sonar upon the creatures of the sea. Following Cooper’s return ashore, the judge publicly acknowledged the importance of realistic training, calling mid-frequency sonar “a tool that has proven far more effective at detecting modern, quiet-running diesel submarines than passive sonar.” Cooper nonetheless issued a preliminary injunction imposing further limitations upon mid-frequency sonar use on 3 January 2008. The judge’s action created a 12 nautical mile coastal exclusion zone off southern California, and required the Navy to shut down sonar anytime that vessels or aircraft detected mammals within 2,200 yards. The move occurred just as the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group conducted JTFEx 03-08, a joint task force exercise, in those waters. “Despite the care the Court took in crafting the order,” Navy spokesman Cmdr. Jeff Davis said, “we do not believe it struck the right balance between national security and environmental concerns.”

President George W. Bush noted that with the provisions of the Coastal Zone Management Act of 27 October 1972, continuing JTFEx 03-08 concerned “the paramount interests of the United States.” On 16 January, Secretary of the Navy Donald C. Winter signed a decision of memorandum agreeing to alternative arrangements that included 29 voluntary adaptive management measures including: trained lookouts; listening passively for marine animals; employing night vision and thermal imaging equipment; establishing protective zones around ships; taking appropriate action when they discover marine mammals; and employing extra precautions during chokepoint exercises.

The U.S. Supreme Court agreed to review a preliminary injunction on 23 June. On 12 November, the court ruled for the Navy on the challenge to the service’s use of sonar for 14 anti-submarine warfare combat certification training exercises in southern Californian waters. The Navy agreed to train while applying mitigating measures set forth by a National Defense Exception and imposed by the President’s Council on Environmental Quality. In December the Navy entered into a settlement agreement to resolve the lawsuit with several plaintiffs, which included directing $14.75 million of research funds during the following three years to marine mammal topics of “mutual interest” to the parties concerned.

On 21 January 2009, the Navy made known the signature of a record of decision to continue the current level of training on the Southern California Range Complex. The report included an evaluation of the effects of sonar upon marine life. Two days later the service announced the signature of a record of decision concerning the Atlantic Fleet Active Sonar Training Environmental Impact Statement/Overseas Environmental Impact Statement. Based on the study and the effectiveness of the measures in place, the Navy selected the “No Action Alternative” to continue the protections in place.

Milius (DDG-69) 1996-120318-N-NG317-001
Heavy swells pound the ship while she deploys to the Arabian Gulf, 18 March 2012. (Ensign Robert Kelly, U.S. Navy Photograph 120318-N-NG317-001, Navy NewsStand)
Milius (DDG-69) 1996-120718-N-ZZ999-002
Milius patrols the Arabian Gulf while operating with Combined Task Force 55, 18 July 2012. (Electrician’s Mate 3rd Class Robert Bataille, U.S. Navy Photograph 120718-N-ZZ999-002, Navy NewsStand)

Detailed history under construction.

Mark L. Evans

10 December 2014

Published: Thu Oct 08 08:36:19 EDT 2015