1Lt. ROBERT L. HOWARD
5th Special Forces Group (Airborne),
1st Special Forces. U.S. Army
30 December 1968. Republic of Vietnam.
1st Lt. Howard (then SFC), was serving as platoon sergeant of an American-Vietnamese platoon on a mission to rescue a missing American soldier in enemy controlled territory.
As the platoon was moving from the LZ it came under attack by an estimated 2-company strength enemy force. Howard was wounded and his weapon destroyed by a grenade explosion but when Howard saw his platoon leader had been wounded seriously and was exposed to fire – Although unable to walk, and weaponless, 1Lt. Howard unhesitatingly crawled through a hail of fire to retrieve his wounded leader.
As 1Lt. 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. 1Lt. 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, 1Lt. Howard was able to rally the platoon into an organized defense force.
With complete disregard for his safety, 1Lt. 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 1Lt. Howard’s small force and supporting aircraft successfully repulsed enemy attacks and finally were in sufficient control to permit the landing of rescue helicopters.
1Lt. Howard personally supervised the loading of his men and did not leave the bullet-swept landing zone until all were aboard safely. 1Lt. 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