Army Aviation Hall of Fame 2011 Induction - Nashville, TN
Hugh L. Mills, Jr. was one of the most decorated pilots during the Vietnam War. During his two tours in Vietnam as an aero scout and one as a cobra pilot, he flew more than 3,300 combat hours and developed many of the U.S. Army’s air cavalry aero scout tactics.
He was shot down 16 times and wounded three times, earning numerous decorations for valor, including three Silver Stars, the Legion of Merit, four Distinguished Flying Crosses and three Bronze Stars, one for valor in ground combat. The government of Vietnam awarded him the Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star and Palm, the Vietnamese Honor Medal First Class and the Civic Action Honor Medal First Class.
Mills, who commanded the aero scout platoon of the 4th Cavalry, was described by Major General A.E. Milloy, 1st Infantry Division commanding general, as “the most courageous small unit leader in the First Division with the highest kill ratio of any combat in the Big Red One.”
Among his accomplishments, were developing a pilot technique to correct the OH-6 Cayuse “Hughes Tail Spin,” which had killed numerous aviators; leading air cavalry raids into Laos, Cambodia and North Vietnam; commanding the Army’s first night-attack helicopter unit with crude night vision systems; and he was the first Army pilot to test the XM-8 40mm grenade launcher in combat.
Mills co-authored a book about his experiences in Vietnam, “Low Level Hell: A Scout Pilot in the Big Red One.” He retired in 1993 after 26 years of service.