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This Is Why We Stand: Robert L. Howard


Service requires a total commitment of the mind, body, and soul. Robert L. Howard is one of our nation's many heroes who gave that total commitment to his country. Howard joined the U.S. Army in 1956 at the age of 17. He retired in 1992 after 36 years of service. During his military career, Howard served five tours of duty in the Vietnam War. That equates to 54 months of combat duty. He was wounded 14 times in those 54 months and was awarded eight Purple Hearts.

Howard is the only soldier in our nations history to be nominated for the Medal of Honor for three separate actions within a 13 month period. The first two nominations were downgraded to a Silver Star & the Distinguished Service Cross due to the covert operations he participated in.

Howard's Medal of Honor was issued for his actions on December 30, 1968. During this operation, Howard and a Platoon embarked on a rescue mission in Cambodia to rescue a missing American soldier. Upon insertion into the area, Howard and the platoon came under heavy attack. During the initial engagement, Howard was wounded and his weapon was destroyed by a grenade. Howard's platoon leader was also seriously wounded during the initial engagement. His Medal of Honor citation states, "Although unable to walk, and weaponless, 1st Lt. Howard unhesitatingly crawled through a hail of fire to retrieve his wounded leader." Howard was able to drag this officer back to the platoon area. His citation again states, "Through his outstanding example of indomitable courage and bravery, 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." Howard and his small force was able to repel the enemy attack for over 3 hours until rescue helicopters could finally land. He did not leave the field of battle until everyone else was safely aboard their helicopters.

There's nothing that can stop us when we believe in what we are doing. All it takes is the courage to see the journey through. Courage is a word that the name Robert L. Howard will represent forever.

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