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: 9204

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We are former and current Green Berets who find and investigate those who falsely claim to be a Green Beret. We will never out someone unless we are 100% certain via FOIA and Bragg.

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Recent comments

Brother Of Brian Magyar:

9 June 2020

Ya' know, instead of considering why someone does what he does, like assholes, ya' jump to foul comments about someone ya' never met, or know anything about ….

I'd call our parents white trash, but that would be an insult to white trash ….

Brain went into the United States Army after July 1975, after I went into the United States Navy in that July ….

We both got out of Boot in September of 75' ….

That was the last I ever saw of him ????

Neither of us wanted to go into the Military, but we were kicked out he house by our mother, to call her a mother is also an insult to all mothers ....

If you ever saw the movie " Mommy Dearest " , then ya' might have some idea what our childhood was like ….

The only thing that put the smile on our mother's face was when she was beating the living shit out of her boys, buckle end first ….

In the late sixties, early seventies, Brian and I never did drugs, alcohol, or commit any crimes ….

As a kid, Brian always wanted to be part of a group, gang, whatever ….

I loved karate, so I walked the path of bushido, honor and face above all ….

Always a team player, but still a loner ….

People tell me I'm a veteran, but I'm quick to say that in my eight years in the United States Navy, ( 1975-1979 active, - 1983 reserve ),

I never carried a gun, or, was ever in any danger ….

Most of it on sea duty, all fun and games, and going over seas, but, after all, sailors belong at sea ….

Just as I was getting off active duty, I made Second Class Petty Officer, IC-2, N.E.C. ( M.O.S.) 4713, telecommunications,,,,

telephone man ….

Honorably discharged, I display that along with my DD-214

I'm now sixty-three, and retiring from the telephone company ….

So,,, no comments about me ….

It's been forty-five years now ….

Brian is my younger brother, but I understand him just the same …..

Kind'a like a car salesman, he always needed that affirmation from others ….

He still needs what he never got from our mother,,,, to be loved, appreciated, admired, respected ….

As a kid, he loved the song " Ballard of the Green Berets " ….

He wasn't stealing glory, but imitating that which he admired the most in the United States Army,,,, the Green Berets ….

When I read the comments about Brain, as I suspect, real Green Berets, and other Army Special Forces,,,, are much like United States Marines, United States Navy Seals, and now Antifa protesters ….

And I met a few Marines and Seals ( claiming ) during my time in the Navy ….

They are only really tough when the other guy can't fight back, shit-for-brains bullies ….

My proof, Viet Nam, Granada, Fallujah, Pakistan ….

As far as I know, you tough guys never faced real Soviet, Chinese, Iranian, or any other real Special Forces on equal footing ….

Hell, the real Rambo's in Viet Nam was the Viet Cong …..

And they kicked the ( bull ) shit out of you smart mouth's ….

When I was aboard ship, the only time I found our who went to Viet Nam was during dress inspections, when they wore their ribbons on their chest ….

They never talked about it, I assume it was the most horrifying times of their lives ….

Had Brian had good parents, good home, good schooling, a good life, I have no doubt he would have proudly earned the ribbons on his chest ….

In the United States Navy, I only earned an overseas service ribbon, and a good conduct ribbon, which I never wore, but are now on my old Navy uniform for when I pass away ….

Brian is, and always will be my brother, we suffered too much together as kids, and I appreciate the fact he is imitating the best the United States Army had to offer,,, in his time ….

And if you can't appreciate his admiration of the Green Berets, YA' can kiss my Navy Blue ass ….

Jory Jory:

I don't know what to say. He is such a silver tongue devil. He slid into our lives and we fell for his line of BS. This was back in the late 80's/early 90's. Met him in a local biker bar, he was a musician. I said, Thank you and welcome home. I lent him $$. I introduced him to a friend and that turned into a nightmare. Boy, he's got a special place in heaven. On a nicer note, Thanks so much for this site

SuperUser Account:

No Idea. It's hard to follow up on these guys as the workload is very heavy. We expose them and move on.

william frank grist:

Great site I am glad to see it in operation. William Frank Grist SF

U.S. Naval Aircrewman (90-95):

He's also a registered sex offender....and a scum bag.

U.S. Naval Aircrewman (90-95):

I think this is well known by this point - but for added extra bonus actually is a REAL registered sex offender. This guy is a danger to the community in a multitude of ways & he shows no shame or remorse & he's also a real d-bag. He needs to get locked up.

Brian M Whitney:

Is he still getting 100% disability or was he ever? Whats the deal with this story?

Don Canaday:

Every time some faker claiming to be SF gets in trouble or acts up, it can reflect badly on us in the media. Another reason to point them out when they present themselves.

DZKLAY62:

Wow! I am stupefied that a sex offender would expose himself to so much attention and expect the truth to not come out...

DZKLAY62:

I refuse to believe any SF or Operator would wear that bow tie, just saying.

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