Millican was proud , humbled to tell the stories of area men killed in Vietnam

·4 min read

Sep. 23—A Dalton native who has worked for North Georgia newspapers for some 40 years, former Dalton Daily Citizen staff writer Mark Millican said telling the stories of men from Whitfield, Murray and Gilmer counties who died during the Vietnam War "was a rewarding project, but also very humbling."

The stories, which appeared in the Dalton Daily Citizen and newspapers in Murray and Gilmer counties during the past two-and-a-half years, have been collected into a book called "Some Gave All." Subtitled "Profiles of the Men from Gilmer, Murray and Whitfield Counties Who Died in the Vietnam War," the book includes other Vietnam War-related stories and columns.

Millican will sign copies of the book Saturday at Providence Ministries North in the Dalton Village Shopping Center (2410 Cleveland Highway) from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Millican, who is a U.S. Marine Corps veteran, said he began working on the stories about three years ago.

"I retired in 2019, and sometime in the late winter, early spring, I got it in my mind to research the men from Ellijay, Gilmer County, who died in Vietnam," he said. "About 1,500 men from Georgia were killed in Vietnam. I went to the state archives and found four names (of Gilmer County residents killed in Vietnam). I posted something on Facebook. I was quickly corrected that there were six men killed. The (state archives) list is pretty long, and it's easy to miss names."

He said his research began out of curiosity.

"A friend of mine in Gilmer County, Max Frady, said, 'Why don't you write about them?' so in the six weeks between Memorial Day and July the Fourth of 2020, I wrote about six from Gilmer County," he said. "The outpouring of support for that was just incredible. I have a friend over there, Robert Westmoreland, who served as my point man. He knew all the guys pretty much and was able to point me to family members and friends."

Millican said after he finished writing about the men from Gilmer County who were killed in Vietnam he knew he had to write about the men from Whitfield and Murray counties.

"I grew up in Dalton, and I've worked in Chatsworth," he said. "Last year, in January, I started. The Dalton Daily Citizen helped me out by running a piece on the front page seeking information. All of a sudden, I just started getting phone calls from people wanting to talk about their friends and loved ones who were killed."

Millican decided to do the stories in chronological order.

"I told people 'It may be a while before I get to him,' but I'd go ahead and snag the interview on my recorder and saved it until it was time to get to that person," he said. "Some of these people are getting up in years, and my concern was that someone would pass away before I could tell their story. But the book is out now, and as far as I'm aware, everyone is still around."

He said he found a point man for Whitfield County.

"Marvin Lewis was able to point me in so many different directions," he said. "He was so helpful. Lawrence Wells provided a lot of information on the Marines from this area. There were four from Whitfield County."

Millican said talking to the friends and relatives of the men killed in Vietnam was moving.

"My wife proofread what I wrote," he said. "There were a lot of times she would get up from the laptop with tears in her eyes. She told me that something she had read was heartbreaking, and it was. These men were someone's son or brother or husband. Some of them left behind young children who would have to grow up without their father."

Millican said some family members expressed their gratitude that he had told these stories.

"Vietnam was the first television war," he said. "It was directed by politicians back in the United States. It was a controversial war. It became an unpopular war. And unfortunately, the men who fought there took the brunt of that, not the politicians."