|From The Denver Post denverpost.com
Navy honors fallen Littleton corpsman
By Howard Pankratz The Denver Post
Posted: 04/29/2009 12:56:38 PM MDT
The Navy has honored Littleton Hospital Corpsman Luke Milam, who was killed during a fierce battle with the Taliban in Afghanistan, by naming a new 504-bed, $60 million "Homeport Ashore" barracks for him at Naval Station Everett in Washington.
The building named in Milam's honor, which will double the base's current housing capacity, was dedicated Friday.
"While we know that Luke would absolutely hate the fuss made over him, we're sure that he would love the building and the wonderful apartments," said his father, Michael.
In October 2007, hundreds of mourners packed a Littleton church for services for Milam.
He was killed on Sept. 25, 2007, during a battle between U.S.-led coalition forces and Taliban forces near the city of Musa Qula, an area of Afghanistan known for opium-poppy cultivation.
At the time, Milam, a special amphibious reconnaissance corpsman, was assigned to Golf Company, 2nd Marine Special Operations Battalion.
During a lengthy tribute at his Littleton service, the Columbine High School graduate was honored for being a "warrior" who fought bravely in Iraq and Afghanistan. Those who spoke said Milam was both an exemplary Navy corpsman and an excellent combat fighter.
They also said he was an exceptional human being, driven by compassion.
In Iraq, where he had served earlier, Milam received the Bronze Star for bravery after his platoon came under attack. He pulled injured soldiers from burning vehicles, arranged a defense perimeter and fought off attackers.
On April 20, 1999, Milam, then a senior at Columbine High School, lost his close friend Isaiah Shoels in the school shooting rampage. Milam was devastated by Shoels' murder and vowed to go into the Navy, become a corpsman and prepare himself to help others so "he would never be in that position again."
"Luke was an ordinary kid who fell in love with the Navy as an 8-year-old," said his father. "He early enlisted at 17 years old, left for boot camp two weeks after high school graduation and never looked back."
In addition to apartments, the building — called Charles Luke Milam Bachelor Housing — also features seven lounges available to sailors for viewing movies, studying or playing a variety of games, including pool, ping-pong, air hockey and video games.