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America’s Most-Decorated Soldier Dies In Waco
KWTX Television ^ | December 23, 2009

Posted on 12/23/2009 4:22:02 PM PST by Zakeet

Services were pending Wednesday for a retired Army colonel who, at the time of his death in Waco, was believed to be the most-decorated living American soldier.

Retired Army Col. Robert L. Howard, 70, who died Wednesday in Waco, was a Medal of Honor winner who at the time of his death was believed to be the most-decorated living American soldier.

Howard will be buried at Arlington National Cemetery.

Services were pending Wednesday through OakCrest Funeral Home in Waco.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry issued a statement late Wednesday afternoon in which he said Howard “was the bravest soldier I ever met.”

“His unshakeable commitment to freedom, displayed in countless episodes of battlefield gallantry, lives on in the actions of our military men and women who continue to serve in hostile conditions overseas,” he said.

Howard, who grew up in Opelika, Ala., enlisted in the Army in 1956 at the age of 17 and retired as a full colonel in 1992.

In Vietnam, he served in the U.S. Army Special Forces and spent most of his five tours in the secret Military Assistance Command, Vietnam-Studies and Observation Group, or MACV-SOG, which was an unconventional force whose members were assigned to deep-penetration reconnaissance and interdiction missions.

He was nominated three times for the Medal of Honor, which he was awarded in 1971 for the rescue of a seriously wounded platoon leader who was under enemy fire.

During his 54 months of combat duty in Vietnam, Howard was wounded 14 times and was awarded eight Purple Heart Medals.

He leaves behind his children, Denicia Howard of Florida, Melissa Gentsch and husband, Waco Assistant Chief of Police Frank Gentsch of Waco, Rosslyn Howard of California and Robert Howard, Jr. and his wife, Tori of California.


Robert L. Howard Medal Of Honor Citation

Rank and organization: First Lieutenant, U.S. Army, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces. Place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 30 December 1968. Entered service at: Montgomery, Ala. Born: 11 July 1939, Opelika, Ala. Citation: For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity in action at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. 1st Lt. Howard (then Sfc .), distinguished himself while serving as platoon sergeant of an American-Vietnamese platoon which was on a mission to rescue a missing American soldier in enemy controlled territory in the Republic of Vietnam. The platoon had left its helicopter landing zone and was moving out on its mission when it was attacked by an estimated 2-company force. During the initial engagement, 1st Lt. Howard was wounded and his weapon destroyed by a grenade explosion. 1st Lt. Howard saw his platoon leader had been wounded seriously and was exposed to fire. Although unable to walk, and weaponless, 1st Lt. Howard unhesitatingly crawled through a hail of fire to retrieve his wounded leader. As 1st Lt. Howard was administering first aid and removing the officer's equipment, an enemy bullet struck 1 of the ammunition pouches on the lieutenant's belt, detonating several magazines of ammunition. 1st Lt. Howard momentarily sought cover and then realizing that he must rejoin the platoon, which had been disorganized by the enemy attack, he again began dragging the seriously wounded officer toward the platoon area. Through his outstanding example of indomitable courage and bravery, 1st Lt. Howard was able to rally the platoon into an organized defense force. With complete disregard for his safety, 1st Lt. Howard crawled from position to position, administering first aid to the wounded, giving encouragement to the defenders and directing their fire on the encircling enemy. For 3 1/2 hours 1st Lt. Howard's small force and supporting aircraft successfully repulsed enemy attacks and finally were in sufficient control to permit the landing of rescue helicopters. 1st Lt. Howard personally supervised the loading of his men and did not leave the bullet-swept landing zone until all were aboard safely. 1st Lt. Howard's gallantry in action, his complete devotion to the welfare of his men at the risk of his life were in keeping with the highest traditions of the military service and reflect great credit on himself, his unit, and the U.S. Army.


Col. Robert Howard’s Obituary

Col. Robert L. Howard, Retired US Army, 70, of Waco and formerly of San Antonio, and who at the time of his death was the most decorated American soldier, passed away Wednesday, December 23, 2009 in Waco.

Full military honors are pending and will be held at Arlington National Cemetery in Washington, D.C., and will be announced by OakCrest Funeral Home of Waco.

Col. Howard grew up in Opelika, Alabama and enlisted in the US Army in 1956 at the age of 17. He retired as a full Colonel in 1992 after 36 years of service.

During Vietnam, he served in the US Army Special Forces (Green Berets) and spent most of his five tours in the super-secret MACV-SOG.

Col. Howard was nominated three times for the Medal of Honor, his first nomination being downgraded to the DSC.

His second and third nominations were simultaneous for two separate actions and the Medal of Honor was awarded for the first of them and was presented to him by President Richard M. Nixon at the White House in 1971.

The other nomination was downgraded to the Silver Star.

Col. Howard was wounded 14 times in 54 months of combat duty in Vietnam and was awarded 8 Purple Hearts.

Col. Howard is survived by his children, Denicia Howard of Florida, Melissa Gentsch and husband, Asst. Chief of Police Frank Gentsch of Waco, Rosslyn Howard of California and Robert Howard, Jr. and wife, Tori of California; and his grandchildren, Victoria Batey and husband, Luke of Denton, Holley Gentsch of Waco, Trey Howard of California and Isabella Gentsch of Waco.


This site is dedicated to Robert L. Howard, one of America's most decorated soldiers. He served five tours in Vietnam and is the only soldier in our nation's history to be nominated for the Congressional Medal of Honor three times for three separate actions within a thirteen month period. Although it can only be awarded once to an individual, men who served with him said he deserved all three. 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. His other awards for valor include the Distinguished Service Cross - our nation's second highest award, the Silver Star - the third highest award, and numerous lesser decorations including eight Purple Hearts. He received his decorations for valor for actions while serving as an NCO (Sergeant First Class).

Robert L. Howard grew up in Opelika, Alabama and enlisted in the U.S. Army in 1956 at age seventeen. He retired as a full Colonel in 1992 after 36 years service. During Vietnam, he served in the U.S. Army Special Forces (Green Berets) and spent most of his five tours in the super-secret MACV-SOG (Military Assistance Command Vietnam Studies and Observations Group) also known as Special Operations Group, which ran classified cross-border operations into Laos, Cambodia, and North Vietnam. These men carried out some of the most daring and dangerous missions ever conducted by the U.S. military. The understrength sixty-man recon company at Kontum in which he served was the Vietnam War's most highly decorated unit of its size with five Medals of Honor. It was for his actions while serving on a mission to rescue a fellow soldier in Cambodia, that he was submitted for the Medal of Honor the third time for his extraordinary heroism.

Robert L. Howard is said to be our nation's most decorated soldier from the Vietnam War. He was the last Vietnam Special Forces Medal of Honor recipient still on active duty when he retired on Sept. 29, 1992. His story is told in John Plaster's excellent book, SOG The Secret Wars of America's Commandos in Vietnam.

It is important for future generations that we remember our military heroes and the great sacrifices they have made for us in the name of Freedom.


TOPICS: Constitution/Conservatism; Foreign Affairs; Front Page News; News/Current Events
KEYWORDS: heroism; medalofhonor; military; obituary

1 posted on 12/23/2009 4:22:02 PM PST by Zakeet
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To: Zakeet

RIP, Sir. Thank you for your service.


2 posted on 12/23/2009 4:25:33 PM PST by Ghost of Philip Marlowe (Prepare for survival.)
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To: Zakeet
God rest his soul.

Thank you sir for your service to our great nation.

We will forever be in your debt.

3 posted on 12/23/2009 4:25:54 PM PST by bayliving (Democrats are the enemy of : ________________ There are just too many things to mention just one.)
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To: Zakeet

God Bless you! and thank you


4 posted on 12/23/2009 4:32:54 PM PST by FreeperFlirt
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To: Zakeet

What an incredibly heroic man. God bless his soul and his family.


5 posted on 12/23/2009 4:33:46 PM PST by libertymaker
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To: Zakeet

Rest in Peace, Colonel Howard. Thank you for such outstanding service to this nation.


6 posted on 12/23/2009 4:35:06 PM PST by fatnotlazy
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To: Zakeet
During his 54 months of combat duty in Vietnam, Howard was wounded 14 times and was awarded eight Purple Heart Medals.

Holy cow! His example is for us to follow in the fight for Freedom, if we really want it.

7 posted on 12/23/2009 4:35:53 PM PST by DTogo (High time to bring back the Sons of Liberty !!)
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To: Zakeet

R.I.P. brave Colonel.

Lucky you don’t have to witness what Obamunism will now do to the country you fought so hard for.


8 posted on 12/23/2009 4:36:32 PM PST by Bon mots
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To: Zakeet

“I consider it no sacrifice to die for my country. In my mind, we came here to thank God that men like these have lived rather than to regret that they have died.”

General George S. Patton


9 posted on 12/23/2009 4:37:32 PM PST by Patriot Hooligan ("God have mercy on my enemies because I won't." General George S. Patton)
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To: Zakeet

BTTT


10 posted on 12/23/2009 4:38:02 PM PST by Dedbone
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To: Zakeet

I first met Bob Howard in the fall of 1970 at Fort Sherman, Canal Zone. We were both First Lieutenants and were sent to Panama to go through the Jungle Operations School. All infantry officers enroute to their first tour in Vietnam were required to attend this course. Of course, Bob had already served multiple tours in Vietnam, spending most of his time with MACVSOG doing strategic recon across the borders. The Army deemed that this didn’t count, so Bob tagged along with us rookies.

He was then assigned to Command and Control Central in Kontum and I was assigned to an aviation unit in Pleiku. Our aircraft supported CCC as well as the border SF/ARVN Ranger camps along the border and my recon platoon ran missions on the Vietnam side of the border. I would get to Kontum from time to time and pay Bob a visit. He only served four months on that tour when he was called back to Washington to receive the Medal of Honor. The Army would not let him come back to Vietnam, so his combat days were over.

When I met Bob, he was wearing plain jane jungle fatigues. I knew that he had multiple tours as a NCO, but that was not that big a deal. He never mentioned what he had done, except to say it was “recon stuff”. We had to wear Class B’s for graduation and Bob showed up wearing all his decorations including two Distinguished Service Crosses (one was an interim award for the MOH), multiple Silver Stars and Purple Hearts. In Vietnam he soldiered hard and partied hard, and was respected by all who served with him.


11 posted on 12/23/2009 4:42:53 PM PST by centurion316
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To: Zakeet

America has lost a true hero.
Thank you for your outstanding service to our country.
Rest in peace sir, condolences to your family.


12 posted on 12/23/2009 4:43:01 PM PST by FMBass ("Now that I'm sober I watch a lot of news"- Garofalo from Coulter's "Treason")
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To: Zakeet

I read about this man in John Plaster’s book about SOG. If even half of what is in there is true (and I strongly suspect that it all is), this man died of the rest of his body being unable to support his massive brass testicles any longer.

Very high-powered soldier. Rest in peace.


13 posted on 12/23/2009 4:43:26 PM PST by Riley (The Fourth Estate is the Fifth Column.)
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To: Riley
If even half of what is in there is true

I can attest that parts of it are true and have it on good authority that the rest is as well.

They used to sing a song up at Kontum when someone didn't come back. We need to sing it now:

I had a dog, and his name was Blue,

Betcha five dollars he's a good dog too,

Here Blue, you good dog you.

He was a good dog.

14 posted on 12/23/2009 4:49:45 PM PST by centurion316
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To: centurion316

Read about that, too. That was a bit before my time.


15 posted on 12/23/2009 4:51:04 PM PST by Riley (The Fourth Estate is the Fifth Column.)
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To: FreeperFlirt

You know? At a time our nation has fallen under the shadow of satanic communism, this man’s life brings my hand to my heart and my eyes to the flag once more.


16 posted on 12/23/2009 4:51:26 PM PST by catarac
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To: centurion316

Sounds like he was truly a man among men. America has lost a good one.


17 posted on 12/23/2009 4:52:52 PM PST by packrat35 (Ron Paul is a turd!)
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To: Zakeet

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_L._Howard


18 posted on 12/23/2009 4:57:26 PM PST by packrat35
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To: texasredhead8712; TexKat; ValerieTexas; AdmSmith; Berosus; bigheadfred; Convert from ECUSA; ...

:’(


19 posted on 12/23/2009 5:09:39 PM PST by SunkenCiv (My Sunday Feeling is that Nothing is easy. Goes for the rest of the week too.)
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To: centurion316; Zakeet; smoothsailing

RIP Col. Howard and thank you.

Thanks for your posts.


20 posted on 12/23/2009 5:20:06 PM PST by jazusamo (But there really is no free lunch, except in the world of political rhetoric,.: Thomas Sowell)
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To: catarac

Me too.. whats sad we have a prez who knows nothing about our flag, and soilders! God we need Sarah


21 posted on 12/23/2009 5:44:16 PM PST by FreeperFlirt
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To: Zakeet


Rest In Peace Brave Warrior
Col. Robert L. Howard, Retired US Army, 70
My deep gratitude for your remarkable service to our country.
May God comfort all who mourn.

22 posted on 12/23/2009 5:45:05 PM PST by MEG33 (God Bless Our Military Men and Women)
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To: Bon mots

ya know, i read about this incredibly brave, true American hero....then i think of this punk that is C.I.C now...ah, nevermind...i just better shut up...


23 posted on 12/23/2009 5:48:48 PM PST by basalt
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To: DTogo

[Holy cow! His example is for us to follow in the fight for Freedom, if we really want it.]

You can tell this guy’s name is NOT Kerry!


24 posted on 12/23/2009 5:58:37 PM PST by ExTxMarine (Hey Congress: Go Conservative or Go Home!)
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To: Zakeet

RIP, Sir. Your dedication, devotion and love of this country will not soon be forgotten.

Semper Fi - ExTxMarine


25 posted on 12/23/2009 5:59:32 PM PST by ExTxMarine (Hey Congress: Go Conservative or Go Home!)
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To: Bon mots; Zakeet

See, my thought was at least the good Colonel won’t have to suffer through watching his sacrifice go in vain, albeit 30, 40 years later.

How jealous, nay envious, I am of men such as Col Howard.


26 posted on 12/23/2009 6:00:19 PM PST by Ro_Thunder ("Other than ending SLAVERY, FASCISM, NAZISM and COMMUNISM, war has never solved anything")
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To: Zakeet
Rest in Peace Col. Robert L. Howard. Thank you Sir for your service, patriotism, courage, and the intense concern for your fellow wounded heroes.

As you observe your beloved country from your place in Heaven I know you will continue to advocate for America during these current vicious Democrat attacks on the freedoms you fought so selflessly to preserve.

God bless you Col. Howard

27 posted on 12/23/2009 6:00:27 PM PST by Bob Eimiller (appeasement "it's the idea that if you feed the alligator he will eat you last." Winston Churchill)
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To: Ghost of Philip Marlowe

For all the SOGS who served and fought. Hoorah!

Led by Gen. John Singlaub, a living legend Jedburg from WW2, a force behind keeping the freedom-fighters of Nicaragua alive as a force against communism, and victim of a vicious communist hoax about the La Penca Bombing, Eden Pastora, and the “Contras/CIA” as drug runners in Latin America (perpetrated by the marxist Christic Institute, Father William Davis (Jesuit red), Daniel Sheenan, marxist/nutcase lawyer, and marxists Tony Avirgan and his wife Martha Honey, among others).

SOGS - All brave men, patriots and heroes unlike the marxist cowards we have leading us in the White House and Congress today, and the PC-ass kissing military leaders/advisors who wouldn’t know how to recognize an enemy, no less how to defeat them.

Hey you Special Forces and Ranger guys and MAGS. You’re great too. Had the priviliege to meet some of you in Nam, Fall, 1970, Pleiku, Chau Phou, the Delta and afterwards - Klimko; Sherman, Johnson, Kearns, McLeroy, Laurie, Shoultz, Dobie, et al.


28 posted on 12/23/2009 6:06:18 PM PST by MadMax, the Grinning Reaper
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To: Zakeet

We thank you and salute you for protecting and preserving our Constitution and the Rights it has guaranteed us

Repose In Pacem,

A.A.C.


29 posted on 12/23/2009 6:09:35 PM PST by AmericanArchConservative (Armour on, Lances high, Swords out, Bows drawn, Shields front ... Eagles UP!)
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To: Zakeet

It had to be a mixed feeling, to get “promoted” from MSG to 1LT with 13 years in the Army.


30 posted on 12/23/2009 6:13:46 PM PST by truth_seeker
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To: MadMax, the Grinning Reaper

Those guys would do it all over again for a can of peaches and a cold beer.


31 posted on 12/23/2009 6:15:56 PM PST by centurion316
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To: Zakeet

A hero proved in liberating strife...and then some!

Rest in peace, Colonel. I’m so glad that you lived, and that you fought for my freedom.


32 posted on 12/23/2009 6:16:51 PM PST by Mr. Silverback (I want a hippopotamus for Christmas! Only a hippopotamus will do!)
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To: truth_seeker
It had to be a mixed feeling, to get “promoted” from MSG to 1LT with 13 years in the Army.

He was heard to say that he did have some satisfaction in forcing a few "sitzfuherer" Sergeants Major to say "Sir".

33 posted on 12/23/2009 6:24:16 PM PST by centurion316
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To: Zakeet; MEG33

TAPS

RIP COL (SFC) Robert L Howard


Amazing Grace

34 posted on 12/23/2009 9:03:50 PM PST by Kathy in Alaska (~ RIP Brian...heaven's gain...the Coast Guard lost a good one.~)
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To: Zakeet

RIP.


35 posted on 12/24/2009 2:52:21 AM PST by fieldmarshaldj (~"This is what happens when you find a stranger in the Alps !"~~)
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