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Colonel (R) Robert L. Howard


24 Feburary 2010

From: Mellinger, Jeffrey J CSM MIL USA

Classification:  UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

Today, at Arlington National Cemetery, we lay to rest COL(R) Robert L. Howard.  The link for the interview is at the end of this email.

Read a bit about Howard at one of these links: The Robert L. Howard Tribute Website, The Congressional Medal of Honor Society Website, The Washington Post- Medal of Honor recipient Col. Robert L. Howard dies at 70.

COL(R) Howard was arguably America's most highly decorated Warrior ever, earning more awards for valor (10) than Audie Murphy, but he was surely America’s most highly living warrior until his death.  The US Army Special Forces Command (Airborne) Biographical Sketch.

Color image from the Robert L. Howard Tribute website.

Wounded 14 times in 54 months of combat duty in Vietnam, Robert Howard was awarded 8 Purple Hearts and was believed to be the most decorated living American.

Colonel Howard served five tours in Vietnam and is the only soldier in our nation's history to be nominated for the Medal of Honor three times for three separate actions within a thirteen-month period. 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. Colonel Howard is one of America's most decorated soldiers. His other awards for valor include the Distinguished Service Cross - our nation's second highest award, the Silver Star - the third highest award, and eight Purple Hearts. He was the last Vietnam Special Forces Medal of Honor recipient still on active duty when he retired on Sept. 29, 1992.

Interview at the Pritzer Military Library Website.

Please find some time to read, listen and reflect on one of America’s real heroes – Robert L. Howard.  He was once my commander, and always my friend.  I last saw Bob in Iraq.


Classification:  UNCLASSIFIED
Caveats: NONE

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    APACHE · 10 years ago
    Sir your name and deeds will pass the lips of my sons , my sons sons and their sons, rest in peace great warrior
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    Brad · 10 years ago
    Few people ever rise to the level of their potential. Col. Howard leaves a legacy of outstanding service that will set the bar high for future generations. Thank you for your service and your example for those that follow in your foot steps.
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    Liam · 10 years ago
    I thank you for your service and my freedom.
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    G Lincoln · 10 years ago
    Colonel Howard, May you walk in the Elysian fields in peace for eternity. God bless you and thank you for defending all of us.
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    pete · 10 years ago
    Godspeed Colonel, unlike so many in our country today, have truely earned the title "American Hero". Rest comfortably in the arms of the Lord...
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    Robert Bischke · 10 years ago
    What an incredible contribution to our militray, and what a greaat example for us to share. I would have liked to have known him, but our paths did not cross. I hope will can do so later. God Bless You Colonel, you family and the USA.
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    Jeff · 10 years ago
    What a crazy world it is in which a Nation will mourn (ad nauseum) a popstar who died of a drug overdose whereas Col (Ret) Howard, who exemplifies the finest of our sons, will be only a footnote at best on the nightly news. It's a disgrace. His name should be ever on our lips and his soul in our hearts. God bless you, sir!
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    Boomer32 · 10 years ago
    When "Hero" is mentioned so loosly now adays, it is trully emotiona to see and read about one in person. I never had the chance to meet him, but have met a couple like him. As far as I'm concerned, when someone looks up the word "Hero" in Websters, his picture should be the one right beside that word. To his family and friends, my heartfelt condolences.
    22 year, 9 month, 6 day, 16 hour and 49 minute USAF Vet.
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    P. Beck · 10 years ago
    I had the privilege of going through the SFQC (7-80) when COL. Howard was the commandant at Camp McKall.
    He was an inspiration. SF students looked at him and said to themselves, "I want to be like that guy."

    Look and mark ye well. We shall not see his like again.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Kenny Komodo · 10 years ago
    Fair winds and following seas.
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    Paul Stegeman · 10 years ago
    Everyone's heard of Audie Murphy. It is a shame that we did not hear about Col. Howard until now. What a great man!

    US Navy Vietnam Jan 1967 - Oct 1968
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    TJ · 10 years ago
    Col. Howard... may all of us that call ourselves "American" remember to "earn this! You certainly have, and not just by your actions in war, but also those in peacetime.
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    frank m hudak · 10 years ago
    rest in peace brother,GOD be with you,we love you.
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    Salt5792 · 10 years ago
    Sleep well Colonel Howard. We owe you.
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    Pencil Neck · 10 years ago
    Mike, do you remember in Phase I, when we were young studs and he was a Major, how he used to run our richards into the dirt with ruck sacks on? He certainly was a man amoung men. I ran into him in Germany many years later and spent some time talking about Camp Mackall over a Budvar. Those were the days. I was/am so inspired by that man.
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    Ron · 10 years ago
    Our country and this world are better places because of Men like you. No doubt, even Heaven is a better and even safer place now that you are serving your Lord.
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    Grateful & humble · 10 years ago
    Words like gallantry, honor, and distinguished service only describe the tip of the giant iceberg that was the dedication & sacrifice that you gave this grateful nation. Thank you sir, for standing watch in the dark nights so that fellow citizens like me could sleep peacefully. The angels are rejoicing to have Colonel Howard join their ranks. RIP.
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    Coldwarrior57 · 10 years ago
    Gods speed Sir.
    I read what he did and ask myself , have I served my county.
    Not like he did.

    I am sure Valhalla is party central.


    Day is done, gone the sun,
    From the hills, from the lake,
    From the sky.
    All is well, safely rest,
    God is nigh.

    Go to sleep, peaceful sleep,
    May the soldier or sailor,
    God keep.
    On the land or the deep,
    Safe in sleep.

    Love, good night, Must thou go,
    When the day, And the night
    Need thee so?
    All is well. Speedeth all
    To their rest.

    Fades the light; And afar
    Goeth day, And the stars
    Shineth bright,
    Fare thee well; Day has gone,
    Night is on.

    Thanks and praise, For our days,
    'Neath the sun, Neath the stars,
    'Neath the sky,
    As we go, This we know,
    God is nigh.

    Rest now Sir, your duty is done. Pass the baton to the next generation you trained so well.

    Thank you for your service.

    A humbled veteran.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    J.Gray · 10 years ago
    You were an inspiration to us all. Rest in peace brother
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    Don Reithlingshoefer · 10 years ago
    Col. Howard exemplified and far exceeded the Special Forces mantra "Anything, Anytime, Anyplace" My prayers to your family and friends. Rest in peace
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    Tom Mochen · 10 years ago
    Bob Howard: The very best that ever served. He is a legend in the SpecOps family. God Rest His Soul.
    SSGT T. Mochen
    Door Gunner
    20th SOS/MACV-SOG
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Victoria Batey · 10 years ago
    Thank you everyone for you kind words. Col. Howard is my grandfather and would be humbled by all of this.
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    me · 10 years ago
    It is men like this who make the men around them better. They lead from in front and make lesser men try harder out of admiration and respect.
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    John in San Diego · 10 years ago
    In contrast to all those who say you can support the troops but discredit their mission, or denigrate their commander in chief for political capital, I offer that Col. Howard and the millions he heroically served with, finally get their due gratitude of being called winners. The Vietnam conflict was a battle of the cold war, fighting both the Chinese and Soviets by proxy, the latter's contributions to the North in resources just now being revealed in scope, and it was lack of those very resources which caused their collapse a few years after their support for North Vietnam ended in 1979. We won the cold war and didn't give up an inch of ground in Southeast Asia we stood fast upon. To call the conflict Col. Howard contributed his sacrifice to a mistake would mean regretting we emerged victorious over the totalitarian system of the USSR. Rest in peace, Col Howard.
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    RBF · 10 years ago
    Great men lead by example and by looking at the life this man led he is truly among the greatest. Rest in peace brave soul knowing that you have inspired thousands to live with greater expectations.
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    Steve Edmonson · 10 years ago
    Many sincere Thanks for your courage and Patriotism.

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    William Beasely Vie · 10 years ago
    Rest in Peace Col. you deserve it.
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    Capt R USN · 10 years ago
    Though we never served together, Sir, I hope to be honored to stand with you when my time comes. See you at colors.
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    Ranger Gay · 10 years ago
    COL Howard was my first company commander in the 2nd Ranger BN. He then went to the Ranger School as an instructor where I had him as an RI on my first patrol (he flunked me). The last time I saw him was at phase 1 of the SFQC. I had killed an owl and ate it and some goofy SSGT wanted to kick me out of the course. I went to see MAJ Howard and explained the situation to him, he told me not to worry about it and go back to class. Never heard another word about it except that they changed the safety briefing prior to the survival exercise to warn people not to kill owls, hawks and other endangered species. He was well loved and respected by all and was a soldier’s soldier. Guys like him don’t come around often and when they do it is up to us to tell his story so our kids and grandkids will know that heroes do exist in real life.
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    Rjulio · 10 years ago
    There are many heroes from all our past wars slowly passing. Col Howard is just the latest. But he was a hero's hero. Those of us who are still here must insure that his acts of valor are not forgotten.

    Semper Fi from an old Marine.
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    Sonny Splawn · 10 years ago
    Rest In Peace,SIR!!!! ALL THE WAY,SIR !! AIRBORNE !!!!!!!!
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    Mary · 10 years ago
    Thank you for your dedication, sacrifice and 100% loyalty to America Col. Howard.
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    Amazed · 10 years ago
    the Devil just tapped out. Thank you for your service. You truly are one of a kind.
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    Domenic · 10 years ago
    These are the stories that should make front page news, not worthless baloney about celebrities who make way too much money and rail against their own country.
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    Keith A. Verble · 10 years ago
    Colonel Howard, report immediately to Heaven and take command of the Pearly Gates Guardpost.
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    Jim Foster · 10 years ago
    I was fortunate enough to serve with Colonel Howard during the formation of the 2nd Ranger Battalion in 1974 and 1975. I can say with no reservation that as brave and hard charging of a man as he was, his first thoughts in any situation were always for his troops. The chiseled look on his face disguised his true persona to people who were not fortunate enough to know him. Make no mistake he was a highly trained and capable Special Ops soldier which should not be in doubt to anyone, but what is not said often enough is what a kind, humble and unselfish man that he was. Colonel Howard related to the lowest enlisted troops just as he did to a General. All soldiers were equal in his book. We have lost a true American Treasure and really good man. God be with him and his family. Airborne Sir!
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    Gilbert J Sticka · 10 years ago
    Thank you SIR! I will always be indebted to you, Resting in Peace just does not seem right. Rest in Battle seems more fitting.
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    Neil · 10 years ago
    Colnoel Howard is the type of man who we need to start looking up to in our society! A true hero!!! The media sends us fake heroes every day. Don't forget what is important in life and what is not.
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    BHale · 10 years ago
    ...and to think that people with silver and gold teeth, that talk about their women as 'bitches', and glorify gangster life and drug abuse are lifted up. Thank you so much for reminding us to whom we really owe our gratitude for the freedoms we enjoy.
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    George Foster · 10 years ago
    I never served in the military but I recognize the tremendous sacrifices our soldiers make to keep us all safe. I want to express my gratitude and admiration for Colonel Howard and all he gave for the USA. And I want to express my condolences to his family in their time of mourning. Please take care.
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    Eric in Sacramento · 10 years ago
    Every day I try hard to do everything right as an example to my family, one that I hope they take with them into adulthood. I will continue to do so until the day I die. In the back of my mind, though, I know that a) the opportunity to do so exists only because of fighting men like Colonel Howard and others in the U.S. military, and b) all the right I do in my life won't hold a candle to what our real American heroes do. I, and men just like me, are small in comparison to these giants of character and fortitude. I will forever be indebted to Colonel Howard and every man and woman that fights for my freedom with no questions asked. I can never possibly pay this debt in full; the appreciation instilled in my family is my further attempt to right this debt. Thank you, Colonel Howard, and every member of the U.S. military, past, present, and future.
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    Terry W Stults · 10 years ago
    I also had the privilege to have Col Howard as my company comander in the 2nd Ranger Battalion. There was none better. What I learned there has been a guide all my like. Take care Sir.
    Ranger "Doc" Stults
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    Steve48 · 10 years ago
    The words hero are truly overused in this society but this man is the standard. May you rest in Peace old soldier as you no longer need the mantle of warrior, You earned the respect of all men.
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    J. Garrison, USN 198 · 10 years ago
    Most people are unaware of the harrowing ordeals Bob Howard willingly and repeatedly endured during his time with MACV/SOG in Vietnam. For those who are interested in learning more about Bob and the incredible warriors of SOG, read "SOG" by John Plaster. Their contributions often could not be mentioned in the rare commendations they received. From an ex-Navy warrior, I salute you, Bob. Though I never knew you personally, I consider you a close friend. May you rest in peace.
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    Kent J. Artigues · 10 years ago
    I am free today because of men like Col. Howard. May his soul rest in peace with Our Lord.
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    perrygee · 10 years ago
    What a brave and caring human being. All should read his biography. It always makes me feel so small that I never saw combat when I read about someone who contributed so much to our and the world's freedom from tyranny. i know that God is welcoming this man with open arms.
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    Chris Jaskiewicz · 10 years ago
    God bless Col. Howard, his family, and all of the sevice members who fight for my freedom in America.
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    Denver · 10 years ago
    I am absolutely in awe of our brave and dedicated American Soldiers. My heart goes out to all of them. Colonel Howard it would have been an extreme honor to have met you. Thanks just does not seem enough. Time to rest brave soldier because your work here is done. May God bless you and your family who must be very, very poud of you. - A very thankful American citizen...
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    G.Benoit · 10 years ago
    It's so sad to see a real hero die.But,the saddest part is that our society will only mention his dead briefly.Yet,when some worthless child molester or some other menace to society dies it stays on our TV screens and magazines in what seems like forever.Colonel Howard was a true hero who should never be forgotten and all of the other true hero's like him. May Colonel Howard and all those like him rest in god's arms forever.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ted Chancey · 10 years ago
    What a story, very touching to read the other vets words on this special warrior.

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