Robert L. Howard was a devoted US Army Special Forces soldier who acquired 14 wounds throughout his 54 months in Vietnam. His service afforded him the title of probably the most adorned soldier of the warfare, in addition to probably the most adorned Inexperienced Beret, with him having been introduced with eight Purple Hearts, the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star and 4 Bronze Stars, amongst different commendations.
He was additionally awarded the Medal of Honor, for which he was nominated 3 times.
Robert Howard and the fifth Special Forces Group (Airborne)
Robert Howard was born in Opelika, Alabama in 1939 and enlisted within the US Army in 1956. His first deployment was in 1965, with the a hundred and first Airborne Division. He’d accomplished just a few excursions in Vietnam earlier than attending Special Forces coaching, returning to Vietnam in 1967 as a sergeant top quality with the fifth Special Forces Group (Airborne).
It was throughout his time serving in Vietnam that Howard can be advisable for the Medal of Honor – not as soon as, however on three separate events. He was solely awarded it as soon as. It’s believed the rationale he wasn’t given all of it 3 times needed to do together with his project as a employees sergeant with the highest secret Army Help Command, Vietnam – Research and Observations Group (MACV-SOG). The US navy didn’t wish to draw consideration to his work on categorized missions.
Introduced with the Distinguished Service Cross
Robert Howard was an adviser to a reconnaissance patrol that encountered an enemy bunker complicated close to the Laotian border on November 27, 1967. Either side rapidly engaged in a fireplace struggle. Howard moved himself proper subsequent to a bunker, the place he was held as a result of enemy machine gun fireplace.
By the gunfire, Howard was in a position to throw a grenade into a gap of one of many bunkers, killing everybody inside. He then grabbed an anti-tank weapon and “stood up amid the withering hail of bullets, fired his weapon, and utterly demolished the place.” This enabled him and the remainder of the staff to be extracted by a rescue helicopter.
For his efforts throughout this confrontation, Howard was advisable for the Medal of Honor. As an alternative, he was introduced with the Distinguished Service Cross.
Heroics earned Robert Howard a Silver Star
In November 1968, Robert Howard accompanied a FOB-2 Hatchet Platoon to Laos. After 4 days, the group was ambushed by enemy troops, who have been aided by a Soviet PT-76 amphibious mild tank. Risking his life, Howard crept by means of the extraordinary fireplace and managed to take out the armored automobile with an anti-tank rocket.
A Medevac helicopter was on its manner to assist the ambushed platoon when it was shot down by Vietnamese anti-aircraft weapons. Though Howard was wounded, he charged his manner by means of 300 yards of enemy fireplace to information the 2 pilots and wounded door gunner to security. He acquired extra wounds throughout this rescue.
The platoon was unable to be extracted till the next day, because of the Vietnamese anti-aircraft fireplace, which Howard was in a position to put a cease to when he silenced their 37 mm anti-aircraft gun. The Inexperienced Beret was, once more, advisable for the Medal of Honor, however was as a substitute awarded a Silver Star.
Third time’s the allure – Robert Howard receives his Medal of Honor
In December 1968, Robert Howard joined a rescue staff to deliver again Special Forces Sgt. Robert F. Scherdin. Scherdin was a part of a 10-man staff that was dropped on the intersection of Laos, Cambodia and South Vietnam. The staff had break up into two separate teams, and each have been attacked by the enemy. Scherdin grew to become severely wounded and was left behind when the patrol was pressured to withdraw.
The following morning, Lt. James Jerson despatched his Special Forces commando platoon, which included Howard, and a bunch of Montagnards tribesmen to rescue Scherdin. On the way in which, Jerson and Howard have been struck by a remotely detonated mine, significantly injuring them each, and the remainder of the platoon got here beneath assault by the enemy.
Regardless of being wounded within the legs and hand, Howard rapidly moved by means of the hearth to achieve Jenson and drag him to security. A helicopter rescued the platoon after Howard had efficiently introduced Jenson to security. Sadly, Jenson later died of his wounds. Scherdin wasn’t situated and was declared lacking in motion.
Howard’s braveness and power earned him one other suggestion for the Medal of Honor, which was introduced to him for having “crawled from place to place, administering first support to the wounded, giving encouragement to the defenders and directing their fireplace on the encircling enemy.” President Richard Nixon awarded him the medal on March 2, 1971.
Robert Howard’s life following the Vietnam Battle
Robert Howard spent a complete of 4 and a half years preventing in Vietnam. He served with the US Army for 36 years, 33 of which have been with airborne standing. Howard retired as a full colonel in 1992, however continued to work with different veterans in some kind. He even visited American troops who have been stationed in Iraq.
Howard grew to become probably the most adorned Inexperienced Beret and soldier since World Battle II. Among the many aforementioned decorations, he was additionally awarded seven Army Commendation Medals, three Air Medals, the Protection Superior Service Medal, three Meritorious Service Medals, the Joint Service Commendation and 4 Legions of Advantage.
The Special Forces veteran died of pancreatic most cancers on December 23, 2009 and was buried at Arlington Nationwide Cemetery.