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The Infantry School
Ft Benning, GA

11 October 1948

SUBJECT: Letter of Recommendation

1.  This letter will serve to introduce Mr. OKEY MILLS of BECKLEY, WEST VIRGINIA

2.  Shortly after the 508th Parachute Infantry Regiment, United States Army was activated on 20th October 1942, Mr. MILLS reported for duty among the earliest arrivals.  His character, attitude. physical fitness and general appearance easily won him a place in the regiment which processed some 5000 recruit volunteers before 2400 were selected for parachute jump training.

3.  During the training phase prior to our entry into combat, Mr. MILLS demonstrated qualities requisite to the soldier's success in battle.  He manifested an outstanding degree of understanding and common sense which marked him later as a leader.  His deportment as a gentleman was always outstanding and he set the standard for many of his fellowmen.  Early in training his deportment and common sense won him a promotion and, and he became Squad Leader of an 81mm mortar squad.

4.  In combat Mr. MILLS proved himself to be sound.  His actions were in keeping with and a reflection of his courage, intelligence and character.  He advanced to Section Leader and in the later stages of the war I personally recommended him for a direct commission as an officer based on his fine work as a non-commissioned officer.

5.  It was with the termination of hostilities that we in the regular service regretted the loss of Mr. MILLS, but we felt he was a profitable gain to the civilian population of his home.

6. Mr. Mills, from many frequent and intimate observations, treaded on firm ground.  He possesses those fundament qualities courage, intelligence and character.  Above this he displayed a high degree of common sense and the deportment of a gentleman which marked him as a leader.  He was admired and respected not only by his superiors but also by his subordinates which paid tremendous dividends.

7.  I recommend Mr. OKEY MILLS for any position he may be seeking with enthusiasm.  Based on personal contact as his former Battalion and later Regimental Commander, I should count it a special privilege to have him serve with me again.

Lt. Colonel, Parachute Infantry

[The Raleigh Register (Beckley, WV), Sunday, October 24, 1948, Page 8]


Being Elected

WE DON'T BLAME THEM, for OAKY A. MILLS has promised to clean house and to set things aright here in our county.

BUT  every honest, clear thinking Raleigh county voter, both Democrat and Republican, interested in this important office being run on a fair, impartial ands trustworthy basis will cast his vote tomorrow for Mr. MILLS.

WORLD WAR II VETERANS are backing OKEY, for they know him to be one of the squarest, honest and capable ex-GIs ever met.  They have read the recommendation from his former Commanding Officer, lt. Col. Louis G. Mendez, Jr. , of the Fort Benning, Ga. Infantry School, and know such officers do not give out such words of praise very often.

So, OAKY A. MILLS is OK with us,  We urge you to mark your ballot


and make him the next sheriff of Raleigh County.

(This ad contributed by Democratic and Republican WWII veteran friends of Mr. Mills)

Sheriff Signs Up
With Paratroopers

  Sheriff Okey A. Mills has joined the local Organized Reserve Corps paratroopers unit. it was announced today.
   He requested assignment to Company K of the 298th Parachute Infantry Regiment, which is now being formed here, according to Major Carl C. Dunham, local Organized Reserve Corps unit instructor.  Sheriff Mills, a wartime jumpmaster with the 508th Parachute Regiment made 13 jumps and held a sergeants rank.
   Meanwhile, Major Dunham reported the ranks of the new parachute unit early half full.  Of the eight officers and 30 men allotted to the company, three officers and 14 enlisted men have signed for the training that will qualify them to jump.  First Lieutenant Carl L. Neff is commanding officer.
   An organizational meeting is scheduled for May 22.

[The Raleigh Register (Beckley, WV), Thursday, May 11, 1950, Page 14]

[Jumpmaster Note:: the Organized Reserve Corps was later merged into the United States Army] Reserve


Okey Mills, 85, of Crab Orchard, died Friday, Jan. 5, 2001, in a Beckley hospital following a long illness.

Born March 7, 1915, in Sweeneysburg, he was a son of the late Rufus C. and Zona Cook Mills. Mr. Mills was a graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School and Beckley College. He was an avid sports fan and enjoyed hunting, fishing and golf. He played on the first American Legion softball team in 1930, also played semi-pro ball for several leagues and was chosen for the All-Sport Greatest in the West Virginia Bicentennial.

During World War II he served three years in the 508th Parachute Infantry that was attached to the 82nd Airborne Division. He was a veteran of the Normandy and Holland invasions, later served in Frankfurt, Germany, and his unit served as Gen. Eisenhower's honor guard.

Mr. Mills first worked in law enforcement in 1933 as assistant jailer. He also served as jailer in 1935-36. He was the first man in West Virginia to serve five terms as sheriff, starting in 1948. He was also elected in 1956, 1964, 1972 and 1976. During the years he did not hold elected office he served as sergeant-at-arms in the House of Delegates, 1953- 54, was a safety instructor for the Department of Mines, 1955-56, worked as the business manager for Pinecrest Hospital, 1961-63, and was a former partner in Mountain State Hearing.

He was the past president and a life member of the West Virginia Sheriffs Association, past president and member of the County Officials Association, and chairman of the Raleigh County Democratic Executive Committee. Active in civic affairs, he was a member of the American Legion, VFW, DAV, FOP and the Elks and Moose lodges. He was a charter member and past president of the MacArthur-Crab Orchard Lions Club, a past chairman of District N, Lions Club International, past president and an active member of the 508th Paratroopers Association, and a charter member of the Raleigh County All Wars Veterans Museum.

Mr. Mills was an active member of Crab Orchard Baptist Church, where he served on numerous committees.

He was preceded in death by two brothers, Orphus and Ordie Mills; and two sisters, Vera O. Jamison and Orpha Winwood. Survivors include his wife of more than 49 years, Lettie Neely Mills; nephews and nieces, Donna J. Buydos of Ohio, Melvin Jamison of Beckley, Arthur Mills of Skelton and Vera Skiles of Bradley; and several great-nephews and great-nieces.

Service will be 3 p.m. Monday at Crab Orchard Baptist Church with the Revs. Phil Shields and Melvin Jamison officiating. Entombment will follow in Blue Ridge Memorial Gardens Mausoleum, Beckley. Friends may call 6 to 9 p.m. today at Melton Mortuary, Beckley, and one hour before service Monday at the church.

Pallbearers will be John David Riffe, Gene Deck, Ellis Riffe, Dick Cook, Tracey Riffe, Mel Hancock, Jack Roop, Bob Johnson, Ray Yates and George Sparks. Honorary pallbearers will be members of the 508th Paratroopers Association, the Raleigh County Sheriff's Department, men of Crab Orchard Baptist Church and members of the Raleigh County All Wars Veterans Museum.

Donations of sympathy may be made to the MacArthur-Crab Orchard Lions Club, Crab Orchard Baptist Church or Raleigh County All Wars Veterans Museum. Arrangements by Melton Mortuary, Beckley.

[Source: Woodrow Wilson High School Alumni Page, Obituaries, Page 5]

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