One hundred men will test today but only three win the Green Beret.
 

COL Robert L. Howard, Hall of Heroes

Robert L. Howard entered the Army at Montgomery,  Alabama and retired as Colonel.

As a staff sergeant of the highly-classified Military Assistance Command, Vietnam - Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG), Howard was recommended for the Medal of Honor on three separate occasions for three individual actions during thirteen months spanning 1967-1968. The first two nominations were downgraded to the award of the Distinguished Service Cross due to the covert nature of the operations in which Howard participated. As a Sergeant First Class of the same organization, he risked his life during a rescue mission in Cambodia on December 30, 1968, while second in command of a platoon-sized Hornet force that was searching for missing American soldier Robert Scherdin, and was finally awarded the Medal of Honor.

While leading a covert SOG platoon-sized mission in southeastern Laos on November 16, 1967, Sergeant First Class Howard carried out actions that led to his being recommended for his nation’s highest honor. While the main body destroyed an enemy cache, Howard’s team came upon four North Vietnamese Army soldiers, whom he shot. The team was then pinned down by heavy machine gun fire. Howard first eliminated a sniper and then charged the machine gun position, killing its occupants. When a second machine gun opened up, he crawled forward to within point-blank range and threw a hand grenade, disabling that gun.

When more of the North Vietnamese took over the same gun, Howard stood in the open and fired a light anti-tank weapon, knocking it out once again. The team was then successfully extracted by helicopter. Although recommended for the Medal of Honor, Howard’s award was downgraded to the Distinguished Service Cross. This would be the first of three recommendations within 13 months for the Medal of Honor for Robert Howard.

In mid-November Howard accompanied an FOB-2 Hatchet Platoon into Laos. After four days in the area, on November 19, 1968, the force was ambushed by Vietnamese troops, including a Soviet-built PT-76 tank. Braving intense fire, Howard crept forward and knocked out the PT-76 with an anti-tank rocket. After a medivac helicopter was shot down, Howard, already wounded, charged forward 300 yards through North Vietnamese fire to lead the two pilots and a wounded door gunner to safety. He was again wounded, this time by 14 pieces of shrapnel, but all that this seemed to do was aggravate him.

He charged the Vietnamese, killed two and dragged back a third as a prisoner. North Vietnamese anti-aircraft fire halted the extraction of the platoon until the following morning, when Howard, already perforated multiple times, moved forward and silenced a 37 mm anti-aircraft gun, allowing the extraction to be completed. For the second time, Howard was recommended for the Medal of Honor, but his award was again downgraded to a Distinguished Service Cross.

This series of events illustrates the difficulties faced when special operations personnel exhibited extraordinary bravery in denied areas. Recommendations for decorations always stipulated the location and circumstances of the action, and since the award of such a high decoration became public knowledge, the citation would have to be changed to place the action within territorial South Vietnam. The U.S. Congress and President were loath to create any sense of falsehood about the actions of the nation’s most highly decorated military personnel, so, in many instances, awards were downgraded to keep the recipient out of the limelight.

On December 30, 1968 Howard was serving as a member of a 40-man Bright Light rescue mission into northeastern Cambodia. The unit was in search of MACSOG Private First Class Robert Scherdin, who had been separated from his recon team. Bypassing a North Vietnamese Army company, Howard was leading his men up a hill when he and Lieutenant Jim Jerson were wounded by a land mine. While administering first aid to Jerson, a bullet struck one of the wounded man’s ammunition pouches, detonating several magazines. His fingers in shreds, Howard was dragging Jerson off the hill when he was shot in the foot.

The remaining 20 men were organized by Howard, who administered first aid, directed their fire, and encouraged them to resist. After three and one-half hours under attack, Howard prepared for a fight to the death. The team was saved from that fate, however, when an emergency night extraction took them off without any further casualties. As badly wounded as he was, Howard was the last man to board a helicopter. After his third recommendation in 13 months, Robert Howard was finally awarded a well-deserved Medal of Honor.

Perhaps no man represented the quandary of the political and moral dilemma of the Vietnam War in the heart and mind of America better than Howard. He had become arguably the most highly decorated serviceman in American military history, yet few of his countrymen even knew who he was. Unlike Alvin York or Audie Murphy before him, Howard was not touted as a national hero by the media, he was given no ticker tape parade, and no Hollywood movie was made depicting his extraordinary exploits. Of course, none of this bothered the quiet, unassuming Howard. He remained in the Army and retired as a full Colonel, after 36 years of active service, in September 1992.

It is believed by some historians that Howard is the most highly-decorated living American soldier in history. His residence was in Texas and he spent much of his free time working with veterans at the time of his death. He also took periodic trips to Iraq to visit active duty troops.

Medal of Honor Citation reads:

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.

____________________________________________________________________________________________________________

His awards include:

Medal of Honor 
Distinguished Service Cross (with one oak leaf cluster) 
Silver Star 
Defense Superior Service Medal 
Legion of Merit (with three oak leaf clusters) 
Bronze Star (with three oak leaf clusters and "V" device) 
Purple Heart (with a silver and two bronze oak leaf clusters) 
Meritorious Service Medal (with two oak leaf clusters) 
Air Medal (with "V" Device and numeral 3. One award for heroism and two for aerial achievement) 
Joint Service Commendation 
Army Commendation Medal (with "V" device and one each silver and bronze oak leaf clusters. 4 awards for valor and 3 for achievement) 
Joint Service Achievement 
Army Achievement 
Good Conduct Medal, 4 Good Conduct Loops (4 awards) 
National Defense Service Medal 
Armed Forces Reserve Medal 
Vietnam Service Medal 
NCO Professional Development Ribbon with 2 device 
Army Overseas Ribbon 
Army Service Ribbon 
Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal, w/3 Service stars (3 awards) 
Army Presidential Unit Citation, 1st Oak Leaf Cluster 
  Presidential Unit Citation (United States) 2001, Studies and Observations Group 
Navy Unit Commendation 
Army Meritorious Unit Citation

Foreign decorations 
Vietnam Campaign Medal with 60 device 
Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star (Corps citation) 
Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Silver Star (Division citation) 
Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Bronze Star (Regiment or Brigade citation) 
Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal 2nd Award 
Vietnam Wound Medal 
Vietnam Civil Actions Medal 2nd Award 
Vietnam Cross of Gallantry Unit Citation with Palm, 1st Oak Leaf Cluster (Unit citation) 
Republic of Korea Order of National Security Merit (Samil Medal)

Badges, qualifications and tabs 
Ranger Tab 
Special Forces Tab 
Combat Infantryman Badge 
Aircrew Badge 
Master Parachutist Badge 
Pathfinder Badge 
Air Assault Badge 
Expert Infantryman's Badge 
Vietnamese Ranger Badge 
Vietnamese Master Parachute Badge 
Thai Master Parachute Wings 
Korean Master Parachute Badge 
Thai Balloonist Badge 
French Parachutist Badge

 

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Categories: SPECIAL FORCES MEDAL OF HONOR RECIPIENTS, Hall of HeroesNumber of views: 3154

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Recent comments

Anonymous :

I really can’t describe the feeling I had when I once again did the periodic check online to see if Gilbert had been arrested yet.I strangely found comfort in the fact that he was not captured and brought back to Florida for his warrants there . I knew he was in Colorado somewhere but I never wanted him to come back to Florida with another slap on the wrist or turning CI to get out of trouble and I feel at danger again , however , I never really felt safe knowing he was out there at all. I was contacted months back by someone asking if I had seen him and making sure I was safe because he stated he was coming back to Florida and was on the run from the FBI I was told . I didn’t sleep for a month well after that. I can’t describe the terror I dealt with being involved with this person , the healing that is still taking place for myself and my children . He is a lifelong con man , he’s very convincing and by the time you realize the truth you are in danger and he’s extremely violent . Being a con man he hatches elaborate ways to tear your life apart , set you up , spread convincing and dangerous lies , he managed to blackmail me for things that he created for me out of fear and the cloud of abuse and threats from him for so long . I tried many agencies to help me no one believed me or did anything about him . He would re enter my home for a year telling lies and slandering me across the internet social media , with people even threatening me because they believed him he was so convincing . I slept with baseball bats and knives for years because of him. My children are still tormented because of things he did and said and the entire experience . I actually had to leave my job , my home and my children just to get away from him .

He has always lied about being in the military , he had me convinced of the same thing as well as everyone who knew him for a long long time , also lied about being in with Florida motorcycle gangs and would use that as a threat as well , he always stated he was SF and medic , said injured in Afghanistan and that’s why he has seizures , also not true , I found evidence of him lying to women on social media also impersonating a SF years ago , he had gotten pictures of soldiers with beards that looked very much like him and he knew a lot of the lingo and studied it , he also pretended to be a firefighter and ex firefighter to people as well. That was another of his cons . He always wore military type gear and shirts he would buy offline or from people or army navy store etc I actually still have a couple of them around Idk why , maybe to remind me of what I let happen to me and the damage it did so that I never allow that to ever happen to me again. He changed me then in terrible ways and I never could figure out how to get away or out of the situations . I never experienced someone like him - in no fool or naive , I have an experienced life but the extent he will go .... photoshopping pictures , editing fake text conversations etc making false reports to child protection agencies etc etc .... people believe him and he can turn your life upside down between that , setting you up and threats Therof and physical violence . He has also been to prison in Massachusetts or Missouri I believe for weapons and violence against another woman I found out later . He treats his mother and youngest daughter the same way with threats and control and violence , has 3 other children all in different states as well .... he’s mentally disturbed and dangerous and I am hoping they actually keep him for a very long time so my children and I can feel safe .

I’m so happy you guys were diligent and captured him . The alias he was using is someone that I know as well whom was in prison when he started using that alias .

Thank you for flushing him out and catching him . Thank you so much I can’t explain how I felt

Reading all of this , validating things for me in a way because I don’t think a lot of people where I’m from still believed me . His lies seemed too far fetched , details and convincing fake evidence , he had people coming after me thinking I was many many things and done things I had not as a way to intimidate me .

I have a damaged jaw , ptsd and still working to start my life over in every aspect and help my kids overcome the damage that he did to them . His name and face will haunt me probably for life and I’m sorry to the other woman who fell for this because I completely and truly understand how it happens and the web that he weaves . I’m happy no one got physically hurt and I will hope to see him get some serious time .

LarryW:

This guy was all around San Antonio, TX making his rounds selling himself as a Green Beret! When the questions about his service started to come in from common soldiers, it was quickly discovered that he was a complete fraud. No one at the San Antonio Silver Wings Airborne Association, Special Forces Association, has ever heard of him!

SuperUser Account:

If you have something to add to the case, email us at:

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We'll never share your name unless you say you want it shared.

loweboyz:

Yet another Piece of Shit phony. When will it stop?

bosljeff:

Good Lord. 🤦🏻‍♂️

Salt Life Vet:

VFW Post 10226 voted unanimously at it's monthly meeting tonight to revoke his membership and he is also banned for life from the building. Now he will have to hang out at the Chuckee Cheese soda fountain and tell all the 8 year olds about his good old days in SF. But then again the 8 year olds will probably say "Dude, shut the f#ck up. You're a poser. Now pour me another orange soda".

JMoff67:

I can tell you for a fact that he has never been to the VA for any treatments. He actually told me that he cant go to one( supposedly because the government was denying his existence due to covert mission involvement) he does not have a real vetrans ID either. If he is carrying one, it's fake. I'd love to know what name he has on it. Recently in Texas he has been going by the name Alex ( which I believe is actually the name of the guy at the Sky bar down in Florida where they put on a fund raiser for him under the false pretense that he was ex-special forces wounded in combat.)

Salt Life Vet:

Unfortunately I know this turd. He was a real black eye for the VFW post on Oak Island. Thank God he is no longer a part of it. Many of us knew he was a liar and fraud about many things, Nice to finally officially know the truth. He will soon have his VFW cred's revoked and the American legion has also dropped him from the rolls. Great work guys. Thank you for maintaining the honor and beauty of that wonderful head gear known as the Green Beret and the bravery and valor of the unique men who have the privilege of wearing it. Keep it up!

Chupacabra71:

I saw this article and it made my blood boil. My dad wasn't a Green Beret, he was in the Air Force. He went to Vietnam 1964, 1971 and a smaller stint between the two tours. Those who go to war do not brag about what they did in the war. Those who flaunt their "accomplishments" are more likely than not, fake. I know of someone who tells everyone, including his sons and now grandkids, that he is a Green Beret that served in Vietnam and received medals. In 1972 (i eill need to verify the year), he joined the Reserves so to not be drafted for Vietnam. Can you guys help me find the truth?

vet4life:

I got on to this site because I know of this AKA Romero Antonio Noel person. I don't know the man personally but I know people who do. I just cant wrap my hands around this cause it does not make any sense to me. He has a veteran Id and goes to the VA clinic. I don't know just really confused on all of this stuff. if anyone can shed some light on this for me and others I would greatly appreciate it. thank you.

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