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(ABC News)   Nation's most highly decorated soldier, who was awarded the Medal of Honor once and was nominated twice more and earned eight purple hearts, has passed away. Unclear if he went peacefully or if Death will be walking with a limp for a while   ( abcnews.go.com) divider line
    More: Hero  
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18326 clicks; posted to Main » on 24 Dec 2009 at 8:52 AM (7 years ago)   |   Favorite    |   share:  Share on Twitter share via Email Share on Facebook   more»



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2009-12-24 09:42:23 AM  

JaCiNto: I found out yesterday that my grandfather, also a WWII vet, will probably not live through Christmas.

//Salutes


My grandfather already didn't. You have my condolences.
 
2009-12-24 09:42:24 AM  
Hooah Lt!

/salute
 
2009-12-24 09:43:05 AM  

Rreal: NYRBill: slapmastered: From a self-professed pacifist and die-hard leftist, I salute this hero most sincerely and whole-heartedly, sir. Your sacrifices made my choices possible. Let us never forget this fact. We may not agree with the politicians who sent you, and who send your modern brethren to war, but we must never forget that it is you who lay down your lives for ours.

THIS!

Not to make this man's accomplishments any less, (and yes, as a vet I said my own soldier's prayer for this man). Can anybody tell me, exactly, what american freedoms were protected in vietnam?


Vietnam was actually just another proxy war with the Soviet Union. There were several such, where the SU and USA tested each other and "flexed" weapons systems and resolve.

Much preferable to the more direct alternative.....

Given the generally stupid nature of political leaders, and the track record of every single nation in the world re: going to war even when it was obvious to rational people that they would lose, have you ever thought about just exactly what the odds were that the SU and USA avoided a nuclear WWIII over a 50 year period? One of the reasons was that we instead fought proxy battles using other nations as the turf.
 
2009-12-24 09:43:45 AM  
RIP Colonel Badass
 
2009-12-24 09:43:52 AM  
Lay your head to rest sir. Thanks to you, thanks to your family, and thanks to all the men and women and their families who have chosen to serve our country. Regardless of the reasons yours is a noble choice.
 
2009-12-24 09:52:02 AM  
Jolly Green ... Jolly Green
It's all painted brown and green
Well the prettiest bird that I've ever seen is Jolly Green,
My Jolly Green

Got shot down late last night
Flack and the missiles were hitting just right
Got on the horn with all my might called Jolly Green,
My Jolly Green

Jolly Green ... Jolly Green
It's all painted brown and green
Well the prettiest bird that I've ever seen is Jolly Green,
My Jolly Green

I sit alone here in this tree afraid of Charlie as I can be,
Wish to the Lord that I could see that Jolly Green,
My Jolly Green

Sounds of rotors now I've heard,
Here comes that great big whirley bird
The PJ cable now I've seen on Jolly Green,
My Jolly Green

Jolly Green ... Jolly Green
It's all painted brown and green
Well the prettiest bird that I've ever seen is Jolly Green,
My Jolly Green



Lyrics and music are copyrighted by Bull Durham.
Used with the authors permission.
Thanks, Bull!
 
2009-12-24 09:52:04 AM  
EIGHT Purple Hearts? Meanwhile, I banged my toe the other day and didn't get out of bed for six hours. Between the aforementioned clanging steel balls and the 64 pounds of medals Mr. Howard was carrying around, I'm surprised he could stay upright even before getting shot. Again. And again.

I'm just a civilian, but if that man walked into the room I'd still stand and salute. And whoever tries to bury him better keep a good grip on the shovel, as I strongly suspect that a hand will come out of the dirt and beat his ass with it.

Thank you, sir.
 
2009-12-24 09:52:38 AM  
Who needs comic book super hero's This man was a living super hero.


bulldg4life: damn son

While leading a covert SOG platoon-sized mission in southeastern Laos on November 16, 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 November 19, 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 37 mm 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.

This series of events illustrates the difficulties faced when special operations personnel exhibited extraordinary bravery in denied areas. Recommendations for decorations always stipulated the location and circumstances of the action, and since the award of such a high decoration became public knowledge, the citation would have to be changed to place the action within territorial South Vietnam. The U.S. Congress and President were loath to create any sense of falsehood about the actions of the nation's most highly decorated military personnel, so, in many instances, awards were downgraded to keep the recipient out of the limelight.

On December 30, 1968 Howard was serving as a member of a 40-man Bright Light rescue mission into northeastern Cambodia. The unit was in search of MACSOG Private First Class Robert Scherdin, who had been separated from his recon team. Bypassing a North Vietnamese Army company, Howard was leading his men up a hill when he and Lieutenant Jim Jerson were wounded by a land mine. While administering first aid to Jerson, a bullet struck one of the wounded man's ammunition pouches, detonating several magazines. His fingers in shreds, Howard was dragging Jerson off the hill when he was shot in the foot.

The remaining 20 men were organized by Howard, who administered first aid, directed their fire, and encouraged them to resist. After three and one-half hours under attack, Howard prepared for a fight to the death. The team was saved from that fate, however, when an emergency night extraction took them off without any further casualties. As badly wounded as he was, Howard was the last man to board a helicopter. After his third recommendation in 13 months, Robert Howard was finally awarded a well-deserved Medal of Honor.

 
2009-12-24 09:55:23 AM  
/Salute
 
2009-12-24 09:58:45 AM  
Did anyone else look at the picture and think of the "Hnnnnnng!" guy?
 
2009-12-24 10:00:05 AM  
Thank you sir.

I think God will be having you over to his house tonight for a well deserved beer. Probably the best microbrew ever, too. And man, you deserve it.

Again, thanks and godspeed. Enjoy the rest, you've earned it.
 
2009-12-24 10:05:59 AM  
rreal Can anybody tell me, exactly, what american freedoms were protected in vietnam?

His actions and the actions of many like him may have saved us from an all-out shooting war with the Soviet Union. Say what you will about the American involvement in SE Asia, but the fact is, that on a modern battlefield, the US technology showed itself to be FAR superior to Soviet-made gear. The casualty rates were ridiculously in favor of the US, and I believe the Soviets took that fact to heart.

Colonel Howard and other men and women like him may have saved an entire generation from a world war.

Of course, we'll never know, but I firmly believe that our military presence in Vietnam was one of the major factors in us winning the cold war.

Sorry to get off-track. Colonel Howard, wherever you are, I salute you.

/a combat vet who knows what it's like to get shot at
 
2009-12-24 10:07:24 AM  

TheShavingofOccam123: Jolly Green ... Jolly Green
It's all painted brown and green
Well the prettiest bird that I've ever seen is Jolly Green,
My Jolly Green

Got shot down late last night
Flack and the missiles were hitting just right
Got on the horn with all my might called Jolly Green,
My Jolly Green

Jolly Green ... Jolly Green
It's all painted brown and green
Well the prettiest bird that I've ever seen is Jolly Green,
My Jolly Green

I sit alone here in this tree afraid of Charlie as I can be,
Wish to the Lord that I could see that Jolly Green,
My Jolly Green

Sounds of rotors now I've heard,
Here comes that great big whirley bird
The PJ cable now I've seen on Jolly Green,
My Jolly Green

Jolly Green ... Jolly Green
It's all painted brown and green
Well the prettiest bird that I've ever seen is Jolly Green,
My Jolly Green

Lyrics and music are copyrighted by Bull Durham.
Used with the authors permission.
Thanks, Bull!


at an Burning Man-style event that a Vietnam Veteran's Motorcycle Club gracuiously lets us hold on their land there is the following Sculpture/Art installation:
farm1.static.flickr.com
and according to one of the vets I talk to, they instantly know fellow vets by their reactions to the chopper. To a layman, it looks like the helicopter is crashing, but a vet knows that that's what salvation looks like: a chopper coming in fast and low to a hot LZ to evac the soldiers. That's why they mounted it that way.
 
2009-12-24 10:09:56 AM  

scanman61: His list of awards and decorations is farking unbelievable!
Link (new window)
Make sure to scroll down to "Badges and Qualifications"


I don't know what a Thai Balloonist Badge is, but it might be the most badass sounding badge on the planet. You just know if your mission requires a balloon in Thailand, some crazy shiat is going down.
 
2009-12-24 10:10:11 AM  

bookman:
Vietnam was actually just another proxy war with the Soviet Union. There were several such, where the SU and USA tested each other and "flexed" weapons systems and resolve.

Much preferable to the more direct alternative.....

Given the generally stupid nature of political leaders, and the track record of every single nation in the world re: going to war even when it was obvious to rational people that they would lose, have you ever thought about just exactly what the odds were that the SU and USA avoided a nuclear WWIII over a 50 year period? One of the reasons was that we instead fought proxy battles using other nations as the turf.


While I certainly agree that a Vietnam size war is preferable to a full nuclear exchange, I'm not sold on the idea that such a war was inevitable without the "safety valve" of such conflicts. A lot of the arms build up in both countries was due to internal pressure. Both sides had everything to lose and nothing to gain from WWIII. They learned during the Cuban missile crisis just how dangerous this game could be.
 
2009-12-24 10:10:31 AM  

Rreal: NYRBill: Reasons for war not withstanding, this is the kind of man god himself would meet at the pearly gates and offer a beer.


A-Farkin'-men!
 
2009-12-24 10:11:42 AM  
All that, and he created Conan The Barbarian too??? This guy was a badass!!!

In all seriousness, though - regardless of what you think about the reasons behind Vietnam, regardless of what you think of the Armed Forces - this guy has risked his life multiple times for his comrades with little or no regard for himself. We throw the word HERO around a lot, but this guy's why the word exists.

/RIP Col. Badass
 
2009-12-24 10:12:48 AM  
i189.photobucket.com
Thought only Guys that tough were fictional
SALUTE
 
2009-12-24 10:17:00 AM  

Rreal: Not to make this man's accomplishments any less, (and yes, as a vet I said my own soldier's prayer for this man). Can anybody tell me, exactly, what american freedoms were protected in vietnam?


I was up to my knees in rice paddies, with guns that didn't work! Going in there, looking for Charlie, slugging it out with him; While [shouts] pussies like you were back here partying, putting headbands on, doing drugs, and [shouts] listening to the goddamn Beatle albums! Oh! Oh! Oh!
i230.photobucket.com
 
2009-12-24 10:21:43 AM  
He was again wounded, this time by 14 pieces of shrapnel, but all that this seemed to do was aggravate him.

LMAO, that's awesome.
 
2009-12-24 10:22:22 AM  

Pappas: scanman61: His list of awards and decorations is farking unbelievable!
Link (new window)
Make sure to scroll down to "Badges and Qualifications"

I don't know what a Thai Balloonist Badge is, but it might be the most badass sounding badge on the planet. You just know if your mission requires a balloon in Thailand, some crazy shiat is going down.


You gotta figure that's the kind of story you tell over Congac and cigars in the sweltering bar of some seedy, formerly luxurious hotel in a fogotten corner of the world that once flew the British imperial flag, to a motley gang of travellers forced to spend the night when monsoon rains shut down the train carrying them to the captial.


You can see him take a thoughtful pull of the VSOP , stare into the crackling fire for a moment and say very quietly "...and then there was that operation in Thailand, I admit I was a bit dubious about using hot air ballons as a method of troop transport, but we knew they'd be silent, and invisible to the warlord's air defense radars, and besides the locals would have been outraged if Helicopters desecrated the Temple grounds, so...."
 
2009-12-24 10:24:06 AM  
Just finished reading his citations and checking out his ribbon rack and various tabs and spec-ops stuff. Now my 13 ribbons seem to have lost their luster. Semper Fi, sir. If only we had leaders like you now.

/OIF and OEF vet
//Never been shot
///Good thing, because I'd cry
 
2009-12-24 10:25:55 AM  
this man is a hero.

As a part of military "courtesy" an enlisted man must salute an officer first. A junior officer must salute a senior officer first.

Except--if you wear the Congressional Medal of Honor-even a General must salute first.-

This was true when I was in. I believe it is still so.
 
2009-12-24 10:37:48 AM  
gnoshyt_sherlocque: this man is a hero.

QFT. My only caveat is that hero doesn't really do justice to the man's deeds.

As a part of military "courtesy" an enlisted man must salute an officer first. A junior officer must salute a senior officer first.

Except--if you wear the Congressional Medal of Honor-even a General must salute first.-

This was true when I was in. I believe it is still so.


Still true as of January '05.


/Rest in peace Colonel Howard. All of us together ain't as good as you, but it's our watch now.
 
2009-12-24 10:39:25 AM  
Rest in peace in sir and thank you.


/ggf passed away in july was 3 time silver star recipent
// they don't build them like this anymore
 
2009-12-24 10:50:05 AM  
Kicked deaths ass so bad, it took 40 years for the reaper to work up the courage to try again.
 
2009-12-24 10:55:27 AM  
And dig this you assholes, and dig it good. Howard has been shot seven times and he ain't dead, does that mean anything to you, huh? Howard ain't meant to die! The only thing that can kill Howard is Howard.
 
2009-12-24 10:56:27 AM  
Rest in peace, Sir.
 
2009-12-24 10:58:08 AM  
I got an Army Achievement Medal for moving furniture. With a broken finger. I feel...inadequate.
 
2009-12-24 10:59:53 AM  
Rumor has it he passed 9 kidney stones and never knew until he heard them hit the water...
 
2009-12-24 11:02:18 AM  
Honored and humbled to know such a man lived and breathed in this world. Thank you, sir, for your service.

And to all you Farker service men and women, thank you. I never forget that the price of peace is eternal vigilance. Thank you for standing that watch for us. Come home safe and whole.
 
2009-12-24 11:03:32 AM  

gnoshyt_sherlocque: this man is a hero.

As a part of military "courtesy" an enlisted man must salute an officer first. A junior officer must salute a senior officer first.

Except--if you wear the Congressional Medal of Honor-even a General must salute first.-

This was true when I was in. I believe it is still so.


I cannot find anything stating that saluting a Medal of Honor recipient first is a must or required under any military law.

Which makes it even more meaningful when done.
 
2009-12-24 11:04:01 AM  
He was again wounded, this time by 14 pieces of shrapnel, but all that this seemed to do was aggravate him.

images.usatoday.com

"Oh no, don't do that, don't do that. If you shoot him, you'll just make him mad."

First thing I thought of.

His funeral is going to require two caskets: One for him and one for his enormous brass balls
 
2009-12-24 11:05:40 AM  
RIP, sir.
 
2009-12-24 11:08:09 AM  

Invisible Pedestrian: I cannot find anything stating that saluting a Medal of Honor recipient first is a must or required under any military law.



That's how it was when my dad was in. They had a guy on base that was a recipient and he farking hated the young officers. When he got drunk he'd pin that medal on and go looking for some of them...
 
2009-12-24 11:09:57 AM  

Pappas: scanman61: His list of awards and decorations is farking unbelievable!
Link (new window)
Make sure to scroll down to "Badges and Qualifications"

I don't know what a Thai Balloonist Badge is, but it might be the most badass sounding badge on the planet. You just know if your mission requires a balloon in Thailand, some crazy shiat is going down.


It's like jumping from a mini-goodyear blimp. Lots of fun.

/Done it in Thailand and S Korea

http://thaiartdecor.tripod.com/pin_badge/index.html
 
2009-12-24 11:13:32 AM  

rdrash: He was again wounded, this time by 14 pieces of shrapnel, but all that this seemed to do was aggravate him.


Damn. Imagine if he was really pissed off.
 
2009-12-24 11:14:43 AM  
RIP, Sir.
 
2009-12-24 11:17:47 AM  

AbiNormal: Kicked deaths ass so bad, it took 40 years for the reaper to work up the courage to try again.


I LOL'ed so hard...
 
2009-12-24 11:18:24 AM  
There's quite a lot of multiple wound stories that came out of Vietnam. Mostly because of the overwhelming guilt the soldiers felt for what they were doing to the people there. They just kept throwing themselves back into battle with more than a hint of death wish on their minds.
 
2009-12-24 11:19:29 AM  

pwhp_67: Invisible Pedestrian: I cannot find anything stating that saluting a Medal of Honor recipient first is a must or required under any military law.


That's how it was when my dad was in. They had a guy on base that was a recipient and he farking hated the young officers. When he got drunk he'd pin that medal on and go looking for some of them...


10.Is the recipient of the Medal of Honor (Enlisted or Commissioned) entitled to a salute ?
Yes


http://www.armystudyguide.com/content/army_board_study_guide_topics/cu​stoms_and _ courtesies/customs-and-courtesies-st.shtml
 
2009-12-24 11:20:38 AM  

trappedspirit: There's quite a lot of multiple wound stories that came out of Vietnam. Mostly because of the overwhelming guilt the soldiers felt for what they were doing to the people there. They just kept throwing themselves back into battle with more than a hint of death wish on their minds.


You have no idea what you're talking about. I've yet to meet anyone who feels guilt while they're being shot at.
 
2009-12-24 11:23:20 AM  
This guy and the others like him are why I joined the Army when I was 19.

God speed to you Sir and rest in peace. You are a true Hero and set a fine example for the rest of us.
 
2009-12-24 11:31:32 AM  

saintc79: 10.Is the recipient of the Medal of Honor (Enlisted or Commissioned) entitled to a salute ?
Yes


http://www.armystudyguide.com/content/army_board_study_guide_topics/cu​stoms_and _ courtesies/customs-and-courtesies-st.shtml


That page makes reference to Army Regulation 600-25 (Salutes, Honors, and Visits of Courtesy) which covers salutes. You'll notice it mentions AR600-25 or FM3-21.5 after most bullet points, but not that one. I cannot find anything in that regulation regarding Medal of Honor recipients and salutes.
 
2009-12-24 11:32:49 AM  

gnoshyt_sherlocque: this man is a hero.

As a part of military "courtesy" an enlisted man must salute an officer first. A junior officer must salute a senior officer first.

Except--if you wear the Congressional Medal of Honor-even a General must salute first.-

This was true when I was in. I believe it is still so.


I know in the navy a MOH recipient, from any service, is accorded the honors due a flag officer. I know this because an old navy vet told me the story his time in service when a pair of SPs decided to made some rude comments to an old grizzled marine seargent who was returning to his ship well past curfew and very much worse for the wear after hard night's drinking.

The old vet took offense, drew himself up, and demanded they immediately go fetch the commanding officer on duty. Figuring it was his funeral they did as requested. When the CO showed up, rather annoyed at being disturbed, the marine Demanded he be "Piped aboard" (A formal welcoming ceremony involving an assembly by most of the crew usually reserved for visiting admirals or new captains taking over a ship) and then showed the CO his MOH ribbon.

and to the SP's shock and chagrin, damn if a bunch of very sleepy sailors weren't roused out of thier beds in the middle of the night to Pipe the half-drunk seargent aboard.
 
2009-12-24 11:36:28 AM  

MissMuse: Honored and humbled to know such a man lived and breathed in this world. Thank you, sir, for your service.

And to all you Farker service men and women, thank you. I never forget that the price of peace is eternal vigilance. Thank you for standing that watch for us. Come home safe and whole
.


Cannot say what I came in here to say any more beautifully than this. I was fighting tears the whole time I read about this man; they starteed to flow when I got to your sentiment. May I just give a wholehearted:
THIS.
 
2009-12-24 11:39:51 AM  
Agree or disagree with the politics... This guy is bad ass. And he rose through the ranks too. He got not only the MOH but several of the ones below that... The wiki said he only didn't get the MOH multiple times because he was covert.

/props to farkers for keeping the politics out of it.
 
2009-12-24 11:40:27 AM  

Flapjack727: JaCiNto: I found out yesterday that my grandfather, also a WWII vet, will probably not live through Christmas.

//Salutes

My grandfather already didn't. You have my condolences.


Spending the remainder of my Christmas Eve at the Swedish Cherry Hill ICU with mine. Condolences all around.

And...rest in peace Col. Robert Lewis Howard. You are an example to us all.
 
2009-12-24 11:40:42 AM  
BTW, great headline, Subby.
 
2009-12-24 11:47:48 AM  
Ya know, that picture of him was in class A's, with ribbons... I wonder what he would have looked like in dress blues, where they wear the actual medals instead of the ribbons, could a person actually walk with that much weight on their chest?

If *anyone* could...
 
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