Sgt. Heath A. McMillin, USA
A Clifton Springs soldier was killed in combat Sunday (27 July) while on patrol south of Baghdad. It was the first combat death of a New York State National Army Guard trooper since the Korean War. Sgt. Heath A. McMillin, 29, died during an attack that involved rocket propelled grenades and small arms fire, according to the Department of Defense. McMillin, a 1993 graduate of Midlakes High School in Ontario County, served with the 105th Military Police Company, a Guard unit based in Buffalo.
The commander of the unit is Capt. Michael Fowler of Brockport. About 180 Guardsman from the unit were deployed from the Masten Armory in Buffalo on Feb. 14. The unit, which spent some time at Fort Drum before going overseas, includes about a dozen Guardsmen from the Rochester area. A state National Guard representative arrived Tuesday at the family home on Rt. 96. Parents of the dead soldier are Mark and Deborah McMillin. He has two siblings, a bother Jason, 26, and a sister Jennifer, 20.
McMillin, tall and athletic, played football and basketball at Midlakes. He joined the Marine Corps, and served with the 1st Marine Division in Camp Pendleton, Calif. McMillin was a machinegun squad leader who supervised the maintenance and operation of heavy machineguns for the 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit. In the fall of 1998, he was aboard the USS Essex during a six-month deployment to the western Pacific, the Indian Ocean and the Arabian Gulf.
Friends described him as a loyal and committed, and as a man who loved to hunt and fish.