Guest Authors

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  • This commment is unpublished.
    sn8ketr · 10 years ago
    He was the commandant of Phase 1 when i went through the course. I ran into him again many years later in San Antonio. We talked about the time in the course of such things as "The Trail of Wowe" and "Hunny bun Hill". I am sure he has St. Peter and other up early and doing PT every morning in Heaven. He was my one and only hero. A true Man's man. RIP RLTW
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    -anon- · 10 years ago
    Col. Howard,
    In exchange for your many years of selfless service and giving to protect this great land of ours, I can only provide you with my deepest appreciation and most sincere and humble thanks. I can only hope that your family takes great pride and finds a sense of peace in knowing that so many other Americans like me look up to you in awe, respect, admiration, and appreciation. Thank you for your service, your bravery, and your patriotism, Colonel. You are and always will be a real American hero. May God bless you and yours.
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    Maj Ret Gary Richmon · 10 years ago
    Col. Howard was totally dedicated to America, the Army, and its soldiers. I had the privilege and honor of serving under him when he was a Captain and when he was a Major. His attitude, personal example, and selfless service were always inspirational, and set a standard that was beyond compare. America has lost a true hero.
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    David Pendergrass, M · 10 years ago
    Truly, we have a clear definition of two concepts: hero and service to country. Col Howard is a hero's hero, there can be no mistaking that. A hundred years from now, he will still be the gold standard for the best of the best. I never had the chance to meet him, and I am poorer for it. Thank God for men such as this.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Judy · 10 years ago
    Col. Howard was a hero long before any of these military actions. The mere fact that he was WILLING to lay down his life. I'm not worthy to speak his name, yet I know I am part of the country that he would have been willing to die for. Words do not adequately speak what the heart feels. God Bless Col. Howard and his family.
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    Janine · 10 years ago
    It should give more such Men
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    George Brown · 10 years ago
    Ranger On Sir-
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    john taylor · 10 years ago
    I knew Bob Howard in Vietnam, and he was one of the very best.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    E.M. Dannemiller II · 10 years ago
    As Robert E. Lee intoned, Duty is the most sublime of words. COL Howard epitomized Duty. RIP old Friend. Join your comrades on the Other Side of The Wall. We weep that your star no longer lights our darkness.
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    Roy L. Cannon · 10 years ago
    Service beyond the call of duty, many times over. Go easy into the night, Colonel Howard. Your place of honor is waiting.

    Semper Fidelis from a Marine
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ed Allen · 10 years ago
    Semper Fidelis Colonel. Please save a place for me Sir.
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    Cpt Jera Trog Anders · 10 years ago
    Mission Accomplished, Colonel. BZ and Welcome Home!!
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Bob · 10 years ago
    Colonel Howard embodied to the fullest what we who served took an oath to do-defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic. If there was ever a man who should be used to describe a soldier, he is that man. His love for Duty, Honor, and Country ran so deep as to be almost unfathomable to most. This is a hero-quite the opposite of those whom the liberal media elevate to such status. I, and countless others, have been able to do our jobs, raise our families, enjoy our freedoms, because of the phenomenal job this man did keeping our country safe and free. A sincere and heartfelt "Thank you" seems so trivial in comparison to all he gave, but I offer it, along with my sympathy and prayers, to his family. Colonel Howard, I stand and salute you sir!
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    Navy SAR · 10 years ago
    For your lifetime of service to a grateful nation.

    Rest in Peace Soldier.....
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    Jeff Stanley · 10 years ago
    ...for recommending "SOG" by John Plaster. I am buying the book as soon as I post, having had the privilege of being close personal friends with a man who served in the Marine Corps attached to MACV/SOG in Vietnam, among other duties during his two tours. A man who, like Col. Howard was awarded a battlefield commission. And who earned two Silver Stars and two Purple Hearts during his service.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Terrence Snyder · 10 years ago
    Thank you Col. Howard... You exemplify the very best of the best... You put others before yourself so many times... It is because of people like Col. Howard that American became a great nation... My ever-lasting gratitide sir... God bless you and your family...
  • This commment is unpublished.
    CW · 10 years ago
    There are heros and then there are "super" heros. Colonel Howard is indeed a real life superhero. Your destiny sir is to live in our hearts and minds forever.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Steve Howard · 10 years ago
    I am honored to be the brother of Colonel Robert Lewis Howard. He was my inspiration from the day of birth. He has always been my hero! He helped me with my homework, and taught me to be a soldier. It was the greatest honor to serve and to stand beside him in Vietnam. He was the most humble guy and loving guy that any little brother would love to have. I bid you farwell and I wish Robert Jr. the best of luck, and I will continue to move forward in the path that he set for me and all other Americans to follow. Farwell Robert, thank you for your loving memories. I will love you forever, and so will the American people.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    STONEY · 10 years ago
    Go Easy Brother
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    Bill Welborn · 10 years ago
    Former paratrooper

    God Bless you for your dedication and service to our great country, you were truly a hero in everyway, thank you for the courage and what you did to protect us as do all the men and women who serve in the armed forces. Airborne all the way.
    Go high on that mountain and rest in peace for a job WELL DONE.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Old Marine · 10 years ago
    Rest in peace

    Semper Fi
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ron Wilson · 10 years ago
    Since the 2nd WW, the general American public does not know or care what magnificent people we have in uniform. I am privledged to see our latest generation of warriors on a dailey basis. Col.Howard is one of the finest examples of many spearpoints in our arsenal. "Semper Fi.", & "All The Way."
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Tony Ruiz · 10 years ago
    He did it the right way all the way. Now, here was a man whose family we honor as well for helping put this man on this earth. No politics here, just honor for this epitome of America's real finest. He did this for us, he "took a bullet for us. Far beyond service, this soldier knew no honor greater than to honor his fellow man. we must hold ourselves to a higher standard. This standard.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Ed Klaus · 10 years ago
    I served in the 2d Ranger Bn when then-CPT Howard was company commander of a different company. And when I went to Ranger School (Class 3-7T), he was our TAC officer. We almost lost two troops during the ceremonial "throwing the TAC officer into the Gulf" after the small boat ops training. He truly was an inspiration--I remember the entire class waiting outside the hall before graduation ceremonies, but CPT Howard wasn't there. Word went around that the reason he wasn't there yet was because he was "discussing" with the commandant the fact that he'd been passed over for promotion to MAJ. We were all so angry that we decided to boycott graduation--we were willing to give up our Tabs in protest. The only thing that convinced us otherwise was CPT Howard arriving and ordering us inside. He was a good man and the best of the best, and will truly be missed.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Todd Teeuwe · 10 years ago
    Col Robert L Howard may you rest in Peace. Great job well done Sir! What a great American you are and you will never be forgotten.
  • This commment is unpublished.
    Todd Teeuwe · 10 years ago
    He carried a VC prisioner for six days because the prisioner said "everyone is trying too kill me". What a soldiers soldier. He cared for the common soldier so much and he obviously was not so popular with the not so decorated soldiers that picked all the other not so decorated soldiers for the highest promotions. He should have been a five star general with 36 years of service with the way this man took care of soldiers. RIP Col Howard
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