Howard, Robert, COL

 Photo In Uniform   Service Details
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Last Rank
Last Service Branch
Special Forces (1987-Present)
Last Primary MOS
18A-Special Forces Officer
Last MOS Group
Special Forces (Officer)
Primary Unit
1990-1992, 5th Army (Fifth Army)
Service Years
1956 - 1992
Official/Unofficial US Army Certificates
Cold War Certificate
US Army Disabled Veteran Certificate

Special Forces (1987-Present)

Special Forces


Ten Overseas Service Bars

 Last Photo   Personal Details 

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Home State
Year of Birth
This Military Service Page was created/owned by 1LT Denny Eister to remember Howard, Robert (MOH), COL USA(Ret).

If you knew or served with this Soldier and have additional information or photos to support this Page, please leave a message for the Page Administrator(s) HERE.
Contact Info
Home Town
Last Address
Waco, TX

Date of Passing
Dec 23, 2009
Location of Interment
Arlington National Cemetery - Arlington, Virginia
Wall/Plot Coordinates
Section 7A Grave 138

 Official Badges 

101st Airbone Division Special Forces Group US Army Retired (Pre-2007)

 Unofficial Badges 

Airborne Air Assault Badge 11th AAD 1964 Cold War Medal Ranger Hall Of Fame

Cold War Veteran Vietnam Veteran 50th Commemoration Vietnam 50th Anniversary

 Military Associations and Other Affiliations
Legion Of ValorDisabled American Veterans (DAV)Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW)Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA)
Military Order of the Purple HeartSpecial Forces AssociationUnited States Army Ranger AssociationAmerican Veterans (AMVETS)
American LegionVietnam Veterans Memorial
  1975, Legion Of Valor [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  1975, Disabled American Veterans (DAV) [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  1975, Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States (VFW) [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  1980, Vietnam Veterans of America (VVA) [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2000, Military Order of the Purple Heart [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2003, Special Forces Association [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2006, United States Army Ranger Association [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2006, American Veterans (AMVETS) [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2006, American Legion [Verified] - Assoc. Page
  2012, Vietnam Veterans Memorial [Verified] - Assoc. Page

 Additional Information
Last Known Activity

Robert L. Howard, one of America's most decorated soldiers. He served five tours in Vietnam and is the only soldier in our nation's history to be nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor three times for three separate actions within a thirteen month period. Although it can only be awarded once to an individual, men who served with him said he deserved all three. He received a direct appointment from Master Sergeant to 1st Lieutenant in 1969, and was awarded the Medal of Honor by President Richard M. Nixon at the White House in 1971. His other awards for valor include two Distinguished Service Crosses - our nation's second highest award, the Silver Star - the third highest award, and numerous lesser decorations including eight Purple Hearts. He received his decorations for valor for actions while serving as an NCO (Sergeant First Class).

The�Presidentof the United States in the name of�Congress takes pride in presenting the


For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. 1st Lt. Howard (then Sfc .), distinguished himself while serving as platoon sergeant of an American-Vietnamese platoon which was on a mission to rescue a missing American soldier in enemy controlled territory in the Republic of Vietnam. The platoon had left its helicopter landing zone and was moving out on its mission when it was attacked by an estimated 2-company force. During the initial engagement, 1st Lt. Howard was wounded and his weapon destroyed by a grenade explosion. 1st Lt. Howard saw his platoon leader had been wounded seriously and was exposed to fire. Although unable to walk, and weaponless, 1st Lt. Howard unhesitatingly crawled through a hail of fire to retrieve his wounded leader. As 1st Lt. Howard was administering first aid and removing the officer's equipment, an enemy bullet struck 1 of the ammunition pouches on the lieutenant's belt, detonating several magazines of ammunition. 1st Lt. Howard momentarily sought cover and then realizing that he must rejoin the platoon, which had been disorganized by the enemy attack, he again began dragging the seriously wounded officer toward the platoon area. Through his outstanding example of indomitable courage and bravery, 1st Lt. Howard was able to rally the platoon into an organized defense force. With complete disregard for his safety, 1st Lt. Howard crawled from position to position, administering first aid to the wounded, giving encouragement to the defenders and directing their fire on the encircling enemy. For 3 1/2 hours 1st Lt. Howard's small force and supporting aircraft successfully repulsed enemy attacks and finally were in sufficient control to permit the landing of rescue helicopters. 1st Lt. Howard personally supervised the loading of his men and did not leave the bullet-swept landing zone until all were aboard safely. 1st Lt. Howard's gallantry in action, his complete devotion to the welfare of his men at the risk of his life were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.

Other Comments:

While leading a covert SOG platoon-sized mission in southeastern Laos on 16 November 1967, Sergeant First Class Howard carried out actions that led to his being recommended for his nation?s highest honor. While the main body destroyed an enemy cache, Howard?s team came upon four North Vietnamese Army soldiers, whom he shot. The team was then pinned down by heavy machine gun fire. Howard first eliminated a sniper and then charged the machine gun position, killing its occupants. When a second machine gun opened up, he crawled forward to within point-blank range and threw a hand grenade, disabling that gun.�When more of the North Vietnamese took over the same gun, Howard stood in the open and fired a light anti-tank weapon, knocking it out once again. The team was then successfully extracted by helicopter. Although recommended for the Medal of Honor, Howard?s award was downgraded to the Distinguished Service Cross. This would be the first of three recommendations within 13 months for the Medal of Honor for Robert Howard.

In mid-November Howard accompanied an FOB-2 Hatchet Platoon into Laos. After four days in the area, on 19 November 1968, the force was ambushed by Vietnamese troops, including a Soviet-built PT-76 tank. Braving intense fire, Howard crept forward and knocked out the PT-76 with an anti-tank rocket. After a medivac helicopter was shot down, Howard, already wounded, charged forward 300 yards through North Vietnamese fire to lead the two pilots and a wounded door gunner to safety. He was again wounded, this time by 14 pieces of shrapnel, but all that this seemed to do was aggravate him.

He charged the Vietnamese, killed two and dragged back a third as a prisoner. North Vietnamese anti-aircraft fire halted the extraction of the platoon until the following morning, when Howard, already perforated multiple times, moved forward and silenced a 37mm anti-aircraft gun, allowing the extraction to be completed. For the second time, Howard was recommended for the Medal of Honor, but his award was again downgraded to a Distinguished Service Cross.

 Photo Album   (More...

 Ribbon Bar

Combat Infantryman 1st Award
Aviation Badge (Basic)
Master ParachutistAir Assault BadgePathfinder Badge
Special Forces
Republic of Vietnam - Ranger

 Unit Assignments/ Advancement Schools
Division Support Command (DISCOM) 101st Airborne Division82nd Airborne Division101st Airborne Division Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC)
5th Special Forces Group (Airborne)Command & Control Central (CCC), MACV Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG)5th Special Forces Group (Airborne)3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne)
3rd Battalion, 504th Infantry (Airborne)5th Ranger Training Battalion (Cadre) Ranger Training Brigade2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger RegimentUS Army Institute for Military Assistance
Command and General Staff College (CGSC) Course5th Army (Fifth Army)
  1960-1961, Division Support Command (DISCOM) 101st Airborne Division
  1963-1963, 111.1, HHC, 82nd Airborne Division
  1965-1965, 11B10, 101st Airborne Division
  1966-1966, 11B10, Special Forces Qualification Course (SFQC)
  1966-1968, 11B10, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
  1968-1968, 11Z50, Command & Control Central (CCC), MACV Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG)
  1968-1969, HHC, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne)
  1969-1969, 3rd Battalion, 3rd Special Forces Group, 3rd Special Forces Group (Airborne)
  1969-1970, 1542, HHC, 3rd Battalion, 504th Infantry (Airborne)
  1970-1971, 1542, Command & Control Central (CCC), MACV Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG)
  1972-1975, HHC, 5th Ranger Training Battalion (Cadre) Ranger Training Brigade
  1975-1977, 1542, A Company, 2nd Battalion, 75th Ranger Regiment
  1978-1982, 11A, US Army Institute for Military Assistance
  1979-1980, Command and General Staff College (CGSC) Course
  1990-1992, 5th Army (Fifth Army)
 Combat and Non-Combat Operations
  1969-1969 Vietnam War/Summer-Fall 1969 Campaign
 Colleges Attended 
University of Maryland University CollegeTexas Christian UniversityCentral Michigan University
  1958-1962, University of Maryland University College
  1973-1973, Texas Christian University
  1980-1981, Central Michigan University
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