Robert L. Howard

5th Special Forces Group

Medal of Honor



First Lieutenant Robert L. Howard

30 December 1968

U.S. Army

5th Special Forces Group (Airborne)

1st Special Forces

Republic of Vietnam

Entered service at: Montgomery, Ala.

Born: 11 July 1939, Opelika, Ala.


FIRST LIEUTENANT ROBERT L. HOWARD, UNITED STATES ARMY, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, then sergeant first class, distinguished himself on 30 December 1968, while serving as a platoon sergeant on a mission to rescue a missing American soldier in enemy-controlled territory. The platoon left its helicopter and was moving out when it was attacked by an estimated two company force. Lieutenant Howard was wounded and his weapon destroyed by a grenade explosion and his platoon leader was wounded seriously and exposed to enemy fire. Although unable to walk and weaponless, Lieutenant Howard unhesitatingly crawled through a hail of fire to retrieve his wounded leader. As he was rendering first aid, an enemy bullet struck one of the ammunition pouches on the lieutenantís belt, detonating several magazines of ammunition. Lieutenant Howard began dragging the seriously wounded officer toward the platoon area. Through his indomitable courage and bravery, Lieutenant Howard was able to rally the platoon into an organized defense force. With complete disregard for his own safety, Lieutenant Howard crawled from position to position, directing fire on the encircling enemy. For three and one-half hours, his small force and supporting aircraft successfully repulsed enemy attacks and finally were in sufficient control to permit the landing of rescue helicopters. Lieutenant Howard did not leave the bullet-swept landing zone until all were safely aboard. 

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