Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Col. Howard Laid to Rest at Arlington National Cemetery

"Today, we're fighting terrorism and the spread of tyranny. We're challenged by market upheaval, joblessness and perhaps hunger. But the human spirit is resilient and can withstand more than sometimes we are able to immediately comprehend."- Col. Robert L. Howard, March 25, 2009, in commemoration of National Medal Day.

"Any nation that does not honor its heroes will not long endure"- Abraham Lincoln

On December 23, 2009, Medal of Honor recipient Col. Robert L. Howard succumbed to pancreatic cancer and died in a hospice located in Waco, Texas. Col. Howard is survived by three children and four grandchildren.

More here: Col. Robert Howard, Nation's Most Decorated Soldier, Falls to Cancer

Old Guard caisson bearing the casket of COL Robert L. Howard, recipient of the Medal of Honor. Photo credit: B275, Wiki Commons

On February 22, 2010, Col. Howard was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery. He was wounded 14 times during 54 months of combat duty and five tours in Vietnam. Robert Howard retired from the Army as a full colonel in 2006 after 36 years of service, which includes more than 33 years on airborne status.

Click here to read Howard's biographical sketch, issued by the U.S. Army Special Forces Command (Airborne).

It's not often you'll find me quoting Brian Williams of NBC, but there is no argument with his description of Col. Bob Howard, “the toughest American alive when he was among us.”

Visit here to view video of Brian Williams' tribute to Col. Bob Howard.

Soldiers from the 3rd Infantry Regiment "The Old Guard" render military honors during the funeral of Col. Robert L. Howard Feb. 22. Howard, a Medal of Honor recipient and one of America's most highly decorated Soldiers, was buried in Section 7A of Arlington National Cemetery.

Visit here to view images of the military honors at Arlington

Col. Howard is the only soldier in our nation's history to be nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor three times for three separate actions.

In 1971, President Nixon awarded Col. Robert L. Howard the Congressional Medal of Honor.

Col. Robert Howard’s Medal of Honor Citation:
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.

Sources: Embedded in content.

1 comment:

Mike Hatz said...

Rest in peace, Col. Howard, and thank you for your lifelong dedication to our Nation!