Robert L. Howard
FIRST LIEUTENANT ROBERT L. HOWARD, UNITED STATES ARMY, 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), 1st Special Forces, then sergeant first class, distinguished himself on 30 December 1968, while serving as a platoon sergeant 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 two-company force. During the initial engagement, Sergeant First Class Howard was wounded and his weapon destroyed by a grenade explosion. Sergeant First Class Howard saw this his platoon leader had been wounded seriously and was exposed to fire. Although unable to walk, and weaponless, Sergeant First Class Howard unhesitatingly crawled through a hail of fire to retrieve his wounded leader. As Sergeant First Class Howard was administering first aid and removing the officer"s equipment, an enemy bullet struck one of the ammunition pouches on the lieutenant"s belt, detonating several magazines of ammunition. Sergeant First Class 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 towards the platoon area. Through his outstanding example of indomitable courage and bravery, Sergeant First Class Howard was able to rally the platoon into an organized defense force. With complete disregard for his safety, Sergeant First Class Howard crawled from position to position, administering first aid to the wounded, giving encouragement to the defenders and directing fire on the encircling enemy. For three and a half hours Sergeant First Class Howard"s small force and supporting aircraft successfully repulsed enemy attacks and finally were in sufficient control to permit the landing of rescue helicopters. Sergeant First Class Howard personally supervised the loading of his men, and did not leave the bullet-swept landing zone until all were safely aboard. Sergeant First Class Howard"s gallantry in action, his complete devotion to the welfare of his men at the risk of his own 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.