b. 27/07/1929 Burlington, Iowa. d. 12/11/1993 San Diego, California.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 16/06/1966 Quang Tin, Vietnam.
Jimmie Earl Howard was born July 27, 1929, in Burlington, Iowa, and graduated from high school there in 1949. He attended the University of Iowa for one year prior to enlisting in the United States Marine Corps on July 12, 1950.
He received recruit training with the 1st Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California. He was promoted to Private First Class upon graduation from recruit training in January 1951, then remained at the Recruit Depot as a drill instructor until December 1951.
After completing advanced infantry training in February 1952, he was ordered to Korea where he was assigned duty as a forward observer with the 4.2” Mortar Company, 1st Marines, 1st Marine Division. For his service in Korea, he was awarded the Silver Star, the Purple Heart with Gold Star in lieu of a second Purple Heart, and the Navy Unit Commendation. He was a promoted to Corporal in March 1952. He was promoted to Staff Sergeant (SSgt) in May 1956. From September 1957 until April 1960, he served as Special Services Chief and a military policeman with Headquarters Battalion, 1st Marine Division, Camp Pendleton.
From April until June 1966, SSgt Howard served as a platoon leader, with Company C, 1st Reconnaissance Battalion, 1st Marine Division. Upon his return to the United States, he was assigned duty as Battalion Training Noncommissioned Officer, Service Company, Headquarters and Service Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, San Diego, California. Howard retired from the Marine Corps on March 31, 1977 at the rank of first sergeant.
Following his retirement, Howard lived in San Diego, California and worked for the local Veterans Affairs office. Howard became involved in coaching/volunteering for Point Loma High School. He was a coach for the Point Loma High School football team that went undefeated in 1987 and won the San Diego Section CIF championship. He was also a coach for Point Loma High School football team that won the CIF championship again in 1991.
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty as a Platoon Leader, Company "C", First Reconnaissance Battalion, First Marine Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force, Pacific, in action against communist insurgent forces in Quang Tin Province, Republic of Vietnam, on 16 June 1966. During the night Gunnery Sergeant (then Staff Sergeant) Howard's platoon of eighteen men was assaulted by a numerically superior force consisting of a well-trained North Vietnamese Battalion employing heavy small arms fire, automatic weapons and accurate weapon fire. Without hesitation he immediately organized his platoon to personally supervise the precarious defense of Hill 488. Utterly oblivious to the unrelenting fury of hostile enemy weapons fire and hand grenades he repeatedly exposed himself to enemy fire while directing the operation of his small force. As the enemy attack progressed and the enemy fire increased in volume and accuracy and despite his mounting casualties, Gunnery Sergeant Howard continued to set an example of calmness and courage. Moving from position to position, he inspired his men with dynamic leadership and courageous fighting spirit until he was struck and painfully wounded by fragments from an enemy hand grenade. Unable to move his legs and realizing that the position was becoming untenable, he distributed his ammunition to the remaining members of his platoon and skillfully directed friendly aircraft and artillery strikes with uncanny accuracy upon the enemy. Dawn found the beleaguered force diminished by five killed and all but one wounded. When rescue helicopters proceeded to Gunnery Sergeant Howard's position, he directed them away from his badly mauled force and called additional air strikes and directed devastating small arms fire on the enemy thus making the landing zone secure as possible. His valiant leadership and courageous fighting spirit served to inspire the men of his platoon to heroic endeavor in the face of overwhelming odds, and reflected the highest credit upon Gunnery Sergeant Howard, the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service.
BURIAL LOCATION: FORT ROSECRANS NATIONAL CEMETERY, SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA.
Section O Grave 3759
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