102-Year-Old Navy Veteran Receives Rare Navy Honor
The 102-year-old Steward Andy Mills was honored with a new barracks in his name.
In a report from the Daily Astorian, the retired Navy chief was the guest of honor during a ceremony at the naval base in Coronado, California, near San Diego, on Thursday. As one of the maritime branch’s first black chiefs Mills risked his life for the service even though he endured racism from his colleagues.
During the event, he recalled how, in 1942, following the attack of the USS Yorktown by the Japanese during the Battle of Midway, an officer requested that one of the black crew members (it was Mills and someone else) go back on the ship with a paymaster to retrieve some documents from a safe. Ultimately, Mills volunteered and opened the safe after the paymaster failed to do so, retrieving a collection of documents and bills before the Japanese attacked again.
“Click. I went up there and turned it. Click,” Mills said. “Money fell all out of it.”
The decision to name a new barracks after Mills came about two years ago when he met Captain Stephen Barnett at an event in San Diego, with the latter moved by the former’s bravery despite the mistreatment he endured.
“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 — and that remains a cornerstone of his character now,” Barnett said during the ceremony.
The new barracks will house 934 sailors.