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Everyday Heroes: ROBERT HOWARD

October 1, 2012

My monthly blog about Everyday Heroes has included an eclectic range of subjects, from a rabbi to a bear, from a U.S./Israeli recovery unit for wounded veterans to real war heroes. This month I decided it was time to honor another military hero.

Although there was nothing “everyday” about Robert Howard, as far as his military achievements were concerned, he was in all respects an “everyday” individual from an “everyday” background. Howard wasn’t well known outside the military community – but should have been.

I wonder quite often why men like Robert Howard sacrifice their personal comfort; their blood, sweat, and tears; and their chance for pecuniary wealth to serve their country in obscurity. They make these sacrifices over and over again. And what do too many of us focus on? Celebrities. I am tired of hearing about “hero” sports stars and “hero” movie stars. I am bored to tears by the cults of personality created around news commentators and news writers who become famous for reporting on other peoples’ accomplishments.

Men and women like Robert Howard make sacrifices – often the ultimate sacrifice – so the rest of us can focus on the unimportant stuff. Howard died in 2009, but I thought you might be interested in reading about him at a time when real American heroes are dying and being wounded in various parts of the world, when four of our Everyday Heroes were recently slaughtered in Benghazi, Libya, and when the 2002nd U.S. serviceman was murdered in Afghanistan.

The next chance you get, thank a serviceman or servicewoman for that service.

Source: Wikipedia

Robert Lewis Howard (July 11, 1939 – December 23, 2009) was a highly decorated United States Army soldier and Medal of Honor recipient of the Vietnam War. He was wounded 14 times over 54 months of combat, was awarded 8 Purple Hearts, 4 Bronze Stars, and was nominated for the Medal of Honor three separate times. He was laid to rest at Arlington National Cemetery on February 22, 2010.

Howard enlisted in the Army at Montgomery, Alabama and retired as Colonel.
As a staff sergeant of the highly-classified Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG), Howard was recommended for the Medal of Honor on three separate occasions for three individual actions during thirteen months spanning 1967–1968. The first two nominations were downgraded to a Silver Star and the Distinguished Service Cross due to the covert nature of the operations in which Howard participated. As a Sergeant First Class of the same organization, he risked his life during a rescue mission in Cambodia on December 30, 1968, while second in command of a platoon-sized Hornet Force that was searching for missing American soldier Robert Scherdin, and was finally awarded the Medal of Honor. He learned of the award over a two-way radio while under enemy fire, immediately after being wounded, resulting in one of his eight Purple Hearts.

Howard was wounded 14 times during one 54-month period during the Vietnam War. He received two Masters Degrees during his government career, which spanned almost 50 years. Howard retired as a full Colonel in 1992.[2] His Army career spanned 1956 to 1992.

According to NBC News, Howard may have been the most highly-decorated American soldier since World War II. His residence was in Texas and he spent much of his free time working with veterans at the time of his death. He also took periodic trips to Iraq to visit active duty troops.

Howard died of pancreatic cancer at a hospice in Waco, Texas on December 23, 2009. He was survived by four children and four grandchildren.[3][5] His funeral was in Arlington National Cemetery on 22 February 2010.

Click here for the Robert Howard tribute website.
Monthly blog by Joseph Badal

Joe is the author of five thrillers, including Shell Game, which was released in June 2012. He worked for nearly four decades in the financial services industry, including high-level executive positions in publicly traded institutions. Prior to his finance career, Joe served in the U.S. Army, with overseas tours of duty, including in Vietnam and Greece. He received numerous military decorations.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 2, 2012 10:46 pm

    Thank you, Joe, for these wonderful stories about the amazing people here. It’s so nice to have our everyday heroes honored in this way.

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