SD Vietnam War Memorial Dedication Please Support the Memorial Soldiers, Heroes, and teachers information



In Memory of U.S. Air Force Technical Sergeant

Richard Dwayne Milton

Winner, South Dakota/Wood, South Dakota, Tripp County/Mellette County

August 11, 1930 – April 7, 1972

Killed in Action in Laos

Photo taken January 20, 1972; Richard is on the right; 20 year re-enlistment ceremony

Richard Dwayne Milton was born on August 11, 1930, in Gordon, Nebraska, to Earl and Ethel (Patterson) Milton. After his father died, his mother later remarried to Frank Taylor when Richard about 9 years old. He had one brother named Lawrence (Larry). He attended rural schools in Mellette County, and high school at Wood. He was a master mason. On October 24, 1951, Richard enlisted in the United States Air Force and made the military his career. He served in Europe, Korea, and the Philippines. He married Verene A. Piper on March 17, 1957. They had two children, Terry and Richard, Jr.

Technical Sergeant Richard Milton was stationed in at McChord Air Force Base in Washington from 1960 to 1971 as a member of the 2701 Explosive Ordnance Disposal Squadron (EOD). The EOD dates back to April of 1941 when they decided there needed to be specialists trained in bomb disposal, so there was a school set up to train military personnel for that purpose. As a member of the EOD, Richard was among a “small, tight knit, unique group of folks.” According to Richard’s son, Terry, their motto is “Initial Success or Total Failure.” Their commitment has to be total as they can be called out at any time, so the families of EOD personnel were really affected. Terry remembers several times that his father had “to respond to some type of crisis (plane crash, bomb threat, etc).” During his two tours of service in South East Asia, TSgt. Milton was an EOD team member of the 432nd Munitions Maintenance Squadron based at Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base.

On April 7, 1972, Technical Sergeant Richard Dwayne Milton was killed “while clearing munitions from an ammunition supply point that had been subjected to enemy fire” while operating in Pak Se Laos. His body was returned to the United States and he was buried with military honors at Tacoma, Washington. Some time after Richards’s death there was an EOD memorial created for all of the EOD military personnel who had lost their lives. Richard is one of twelve EOD Air Force Technicians who was killed in the line of duty.

Among his awards are: Master Explosive Ordnance Disposal Specialist, Presidential Unit Citation, U.S. Air Force NCO Academy graduate, U.S. Air Force Outstanding Unit Award, Vietnam Service Ribbon, Korean Service Ribbon, Small Arms Expert Ribbon, Korean Presidential Unit Citation, U.S. Air Force Longevity of Service Award, U.S. Air Force Good Conduct Award, and National Defense Ribbon. He was posthumously awarded the Bronze Star and his citation is as follows:

Technical Sergeant Richard D. Milton distinguished himself through meritorious service as a member of the 432nd Munitions Maintenance Squadron, Explosive Ordnance Disposal branch, Udorn Royal Thai Air Force Base Thailand from 21 January 1971 through 7 April 1972. During this period, while exposed to extreme danger from hostile forces, sensitive armed munitions, enemy booby traps and clandestine devices, Sergeant Milton successfully completed priority special missions at classified locations in a combat zone. While clearing explosive hazards from an ammunition supply point that had been destroyed by the enemy, Sergeant Milton lost his life. Through his heroic and unselfish service to his country, Sergeant Milton has reflected great credit upon himself and the United States Air Force.

Richard is currently survived by his brother, Larry of York, Nebraska, and sons, Ricky of Tacoma, Washington, and Terry of Richmond, Virginia. Richard is considered a Tripp County casualty because he entered the service from Winner; however, it is probably more fitting that he be considered a Mellette County casualty as that is where Wood, South Dakota is.

In closing, Terry described his dad as “a perfectionist who was completed dedicated to the military and the EOD. As a dad, he would always encourage me to do my best at whatever task was at hand. I was 9 years old when he was killed, but I will always cherish the time we did spend together.”

This entry was respectfully submitted by Kayla Rommen, 8th grade, Spearfish Middle School, Spearfish, South Dakota, on April 3, 2006. Information for this entry was provided by Terry Milton, Louise Rohlf, South Dakota Vietnam Veteran’s bonus application, and Profile approval by Terry Milton, son.


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