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Jimmie Earl Howard

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U.S. Marine Corps
Medal Of Honor, Vietnam

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While leading an 18-man recon patrol in occupying a post deep within enemy-controlled territory, Staff Sergeant Howard's small element was fiercely attacked by a battalion sized enemy unit. Throughout a long night of intense enemy fire and probes of the perimeter, Howard placed his men in key positions and encouraged their resistance against overwhelming odds. Wounded by shell fragments that immobilized his legs, Howard continued to valiantly lead the resistance, distribute ammunition, and direct air strikes around his position. When nearby enemy used a lull in the firing to taunt Howard's force with yells of "Marines, you die tonight", Howard and his men responded with laughter and cat-calls. When the repeated attacks depleted the supply of ammunition, Howard instructed his men to throw rocks at unseen movement, causing the enemy to think they were grenades and move quickly to expose themselves to one-shot kills to conserve ammunition. Despite the loss of six men, and wounds to every man in the patrol, Howard encourage his patrol to resist until relieved the following day. When reinforcements arrived, the 12 defenders had only 6 rounds of ammunition remaining.

Jimmie Howard's patrol may have been the most decorated unit in history, earning 18 Purple Hearts, 4 Navy Crosses, and 13 Silver Stars in addition to Howard's MOH. The 18-man force included two Navy Corpsmen, and sustained 6 KIAs. In 1972 Howard, who had earned a Silver Star in Korea, retired from the Marine Corps to work for the V.A. He and his wife had six children, all of whom joined their father and the survivors of his heroic stand on Hill 488 in Vietnam, for the MOH presentation ceremony.

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 Read the Story of Jimmie Howard's Valiant Stand 

 

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