A Hero Passes

Discussion in 'OFF-Topic / Misc.' started by RabidAlien, Dec 23, 2009.

  1. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    #1 RabidAlien, Dec 23, 2009
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2009
    Howard, highly decorated Vietnam veteran, dies at 70

    Retired Army Col. Robert L. Howard, a Medal of Honor recipient who retired in San Antonio and was one of the most highly decorated soldiers from the Vietnam War, died Wednesday.

    Howard, 70, died at about noon at a hospice in Waco, where he'd been for about three weeks, suffering from pancreatic cancer, said Benito Guerrero, a close friend, Vietnam veteran and retired sergeant major.

    Howard, a larger-than-life figure on the national military scene, appeared at many patriotic events in San Antonio and helped honor the wounded by attending Purple Heart ceremonies. At his suggestion, the local Blue Star Mothers of America chapter began holding an annual ceremony in late December to remember the troops serving overseas.

    “He said, ‘Don't forget the troops at Christmas.' He was very adamant about that,” said Chris Peche, who in 2004 helped organize the annual event, now held each year at the Alamo.

    In April, Howard traveled, as he often did, to Iraq and Afghanistan to talk to U.S. troops about service. Just two months ago, he visited troops in Germany, Bosnia and Kosovo.

    Howard, born July 11, 1939, grew up in Opelika, Ala., and served in the Army from 1956 to 1992. After retiring at Fort Sam Houston, he decided to stay in San Antonio.

    Howard, who served five tours of Vietnam, was a sergeant first class in the Army's Special Forces on Dec. 30, 1968, when he rallied a badly shot-up platoon against an estimated 250 enemy soldiers in Vietnam. Despite being unable to walk because of injuries from grenade blasts, he coordinated a strong counterattack while aiding the wounded and was the last man to board a helicopter, according to military records.

    He was nominated for the Medal of Honor, the highest honor for valor, three times during a 13-month period. His long list of awards also included the Distinguished Service Cross, the Silver Star and eight Purple Hearts.

    At an annual convention for Medal of Honor recipients in Chicago in September, Howard said he and others wore the medal not to honor themselves, but for all U.S. troops past and present, including “those who stood beside us and for those who did not come home,” according to the Associated Press.

    He also had been an advocate for troops missing in action. He told a Senate panel in 1986 that he believed there still were Americans, possibly more than 100, living in captivity in Southeast Asia.

    Guerrero said Howard told him Sunday that military recruiters should give more waivers to young men “who've gone astray,” because they would “do better if given a second chance.”

    “He cared about people, especially soldiers, and he loved his country,” Guerrero said.

    Retired Maj. Gen. Alfred Valenzuela said he's been asked by the Pentagon and White House to coordinate funeral arrangements with Howard's family. He said he wasn't aware of any service-related connection to Howard's death.

    While Howard's military record speaks for itself, Valenzuela said San Antonians need to know he served others while he lived here, whether working as a caseworker with the Department of Veterans Affairs or speaking to teenagers about staying away from gangs.

    “His forte was giving back. To him, it was never about Bob Howard. It was about helping others,” Valenzuela said.

    Howard is survived by three grown children, including a daughter living in Waco, Valenzuela said. A memorial service in San Antonio and burial at Arlington National Cemetery are planned.

    Peche said she feels a loss that's not only local and national, but also deeply personal.

    “He was an extraordinary soul that I was blessed to know, not only because of our common support of our deployed troops, but also as a friend,” she said.



    :salute: :salute: :salute:

    Some more info on him, for those who want to know more than the news is willing to report:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_L._Howard
    http://rlhtribute.com/
    http://dailynightly.msnbc.msn.com/archive/2007/07/24/287035.aspx
     
  2. Aaron Brooks Wolters

    Aaron Brooks Wolters Well-Known Member

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    B-17engineer Active Member

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  4. ToughOmbre

    ToughOmbre Active Member

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  5. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    Nominated for the CMH 3 times.....8 Purple Hearts....Silver Star and DSC....frikkin-A, I would've loved to meet this man!
     
  6. vikingBerserker

    vikingBerserker Well-Known Member

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    Holy crap! Considering a majority of CMHs are posthumous, it's hard to imagine that many nominations in such a short period. That guys had huge brass ones, that's for sure.

    :salute: Rest well, sir, you have earned it.
     
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  19. RabidAlien

    RabidAlien Active Member

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    Heh....CC and I posted about the same guy. No worries, he's earned it. :salute:
     
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