A United States Army soldier and a recipient of America’s highest military decoration — the Medal of Honor — for his actions in the Vietnam War. At the age of 18, he sacrificed his life to save others by smothering a live grenade. He was the first African-American Medal of Honor recipient of the Vietnam War.
A true American Hero, he saw the grenade and then saved the lives of his fellow soldiers at the sacrifice of his own life by grabbing the grenade in his hand and falling on it to absorb the blast with his body. Through his bravery, unhesitating actions, and complete disregard for his safety, he prevented additional loss of life or injury to the members of his platoon.
My family is honored to know that “Skipper” is always remembered and recognized with such high esteem, we thank you. There are many published articles either online, videos and magazines detailing the acts of bravery about my uncle Milton L. Olive lll who gave his life to save his comrades during the Vietnam War on October 22, 1965. My aunt asked me to share more about his life and that of their mother’s life Clara Mae Olive.
Clara Mae was born in Indianola. Ms. and would have been 100 years old this year, born 5/3/1917 and was the 6th of 8 children born to Hattie and J.B. Lee of Indianola Ms. She was married while living in NYC and bore two children during that marriage. Clara Mae left New York City for Chicago IL in the 1940s where she met and later remarried to Milton Olive ll.
Mostly everything I know about Skipper was told to me by Aunt his sister Geraldine L. Dillard (currently residing in Silver Spring Md) and my father Edwin L. Dillard is deceased
“Skipper” as he was affectionately known as, was the youngest of three children birthed by my grandmother Clara Mae Olive. During WWll she worked in the Factory War Plant as well as a Freelance Photographer for a popular and large nightclub called Club DeLisa in Chicago. She was the Photographer taking pictures of soldiers and other patrons of the club. In 1945 Milton and Clara Mae got married and later opened a Photography Studio on the Southside of Chicago called Olive & Olive.
On November 7, 1946, Clara Mae Olive gave birth to Milton “Skipper” L. Olive, it was a breach birth and while turning him around his arms were broken and just hours after his birth she began to hemorrhage and died due to complications.
Skipper was raised entirely by his father and his father’s families, the Olives and Ambrose’s of Lexington MS,
J.B. Lee his maternal grandfather originally from Utica and a graduate of Tougaloo College. Hattie Kincade Lee his maternal grandmother was from Vicksburg and a graduate of Mary Holmes Institute, they would have been extremely proud of their grandson. He was truly loved and is missed by all...With Sincere Gratitude.
From The Hattie & J.B. Lee Family with Love, 11/7/2017