Robert Howard is the most decorated American soldier in history. He is one of the silent warriors who spent his entire career serving his country and asked nothing in return. Throughout history, since the United States Military records are available, there have been many heroes. But, Robert Howard is a particular one that stands out. A U.S. Army soldier, and Medal of Honour recipient who is arguably the most decorated active-duty soldier who has ever served in the U.S. Military.
He was a member of the United States Army Special Forces (SF) who fought in the Vietnam War. During his active-duty service, he went from private to colonel. He spent 36 years in active-duty and during that time he was wounded 14 times over 54 months of combat.
Robert L. Howard was born on July 11, 1939, in Opelika, Alabama. While still in high school, he enlisted in the Army in 1956 at Montgomery, Alabama. He saw his first combat in the Vietnam War. His service in Vietnam included assignments with 1/327th Airborne Infantry, 1st Brigade, 101st Airborne Division, 5th Special Forces Group and now legendary MACV-SOG.
During his time in Vietnam, he served also as a staff sergeant of the highly classified Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG). MACV-SOG was considered as the forerunner of modern U.S. Army Special Forces (SF). For his actions during thirteen months spanning 1967–1968, under the MACV-SOG, Howard was recommended for the Medal of Honor on three occasions for three individual actions where he risked his life on behalf of the others.
His 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. But, despite his heroic act, the first two nominations were downgraded to a Silver Star and the Distinguished Service Cross due to the covert and top-secret nature of the operations in which Howard participated.