2019 Veterans Day One on One just wrapped up with so many great opportunities to share conversations that might be missed!
Gunnery Sergeant Pete Milinkovic entered the delayed entry program for the United States Marine Corps when he was 17 years old. His ship out day for bootcamp was on the morning of 9/11/01…the day of the terrorist attacks. Pete’s plane was grounded at the airport and he was given the option to default on his contract since a “major change in national climate” had emerged. Pete graduated boot camp later that year as an Infantryman, 0311. Our keynote speaker is Gunnery Sergeant Pete Milinkovic, USMC.
He graduated from the School of Infantry in early spring of 2002. Then, he received orders to Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center in Twentynine Palms with Lima Co. 3rd Battalion 7th Marines where he conducted large scale conventional combat training in order to invade Iraq.
Invaded Iraq in early 2003, was a M249 machine gunner in the 3rd armoured vehicle that crossed the line of departure for the initial invasion. Participated in sustained combat operations for approximately 21 days targeting and capturing high ranking members of the BAATH Party Regime. After major combat operations were completed, Lima Co. was tasked with remaining in Karbala, Iraq in order to conduct security and stability operations and do a relief of duty with Bulgarian, Australian, and Iraqi forces. Pete was promoted combat meritoriously to the rank of Corporal and received a squad (13 marines) at the age of 19.
After coming home in the Fall of 2003, Lima Company was deployed to the Syrian border in Husaybah, Iraq in the Spring of 2004. During this time, Pete lead a squad from 3rd platoon Lima Company in border mitigation, high value target raids, and other combat operations. Pete participated in the Battle of Husaybah, a 14 hour battalion sized firefight consisting of: 150 Marines vs. 300 + insurgents, 5 Marine deaths, 25 wounded, and 150 insurgent deaths / 20 captured. Pete partook in the firefight that lead to Corporal Jason Lee Dunham earning a Medal of Honor. Pete’s squad, reinforced with a team of Recon Marines, extracted Major Richard J Gannon and several other mortally wounded Marines out of building rubble during a firefight. The FOB in Husaybah was renamed “Camp Gannon” in his honor. For his actions in Husaybah, Pete was again combat meritoriously promoted to Sergeant and awarded with a Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V” for heroism. Pete was also awarded a Purple Heart for receiving wounds in his right knee from a mortar attack that took place along the Syrian Border.
Pete volunteered to go to Ramadi with Lima Company in late 2005. During this time, Pete served as a Platoon Sergeant for 3rd Platoon Lima Co. Pete was tasked with securing the city, setting up local Iraqi Army / Police capabilities, and establishing the first voting sights in the country. Pete led elements of 90+ units multiple times on operations geared towards taking back Ramadi from insurgency control. For his actions in Ramadi, Pete was combat meritoriously promoted to Staff Sergeant at the age of 22. Pete also was awarded another Navy Commendation Medal with Combat “V”for heroism. Upon returning home Pete was awarded with the USMC Leadership Award “Golden Eagle” trophy.
Pete was selected for the Marine Corps Enlisted to Officer Program in 2006. He graduated with Honors from the Naval Education and Training Center at Newport, RI in 2007. He trained a detachment of Naval Midshipmen at University of Illinois from 2008-2012. There he was promoted to Gunnery Sergeant and awarded with a Navy Achievement Medal for going “above and beyond” in organizing and mentoring 4-years of excellent tactical instruction. Pete was selected to appear in Arkansas to receive the “Michael P. Murphy” scholarship for his Military experience and future goals. Pete graduated with High Distinction from the University of Illinois in 2012.
In 2006, Pete accepted a position as a police officer with the University of Illinois Police Department. Upon graduation, he was voted as honor graduate and awarded The “Erwin H. Warren” Award. While at UIPD, Pete has earned the “Life Saving Award” for saving a citizen from drowning and exposure, “Merit Award” for an Officer involved Shooting, and voted the “Stevie Jay Law Enforcement Official of the Month.”
Pete has appeared multiple times on Fox News to speak on behalf of the Iraq War. He is also portrayed in several books about the war, leadership, and other related topics.
Currently, Pete is working as a University of Illinois police officer. He is happily married to his wife, Terri-Lynn of 13 years with three children.