An American Hero

An American Hero


Lieutenant Colonel Robert L. Howard: The Greatest War Hero America Has Never Heard Of In the vein of Heartbreak Ridge, this story will capture the hearts of all Americans and people around the world.


Told from a Green Beret- Take all of John Wayne’s films—throw in Clint Eastwood’s, too—and these fictions could not measure up to the real Bob Howard. Officially he was awarded eight Purple Hearts, but he actually was wounded 14 times. Six of the wounds, he decided, weren’t severe enough to be worthy of the award. Keep in mind that for each time he was wounded, there probably were ten times that he was nearly wounded, and you get some idea of his combat service. He was right up there with America’s greatest heroes—Davy Crockett, Alvin York, Audie Murphy, the inspiring example we other Green Berets tried to live up to. “What would Bob Howard do?” many of us asked ourselves when surrounded and outnumbered, just a handful of men to fight off hordes of North Vietnamese. After his eighth Purple Heart he told his Captain “No more please!”.

To call him a legend is no exaggeration. Take the time he was in a chow line at an American base and a Vietnamese terrorist on a motorbike tossed a hand grenade at them. While others leaped for cover, Howard snatched an M-16 from a petrified security guard, dropped to one knee and expertly shot the driver, and then chased the passenger a half-mile and killed him, too.

Howard laid the framework for every Call of Duty campaign. Infiltrating a Vietcong base, Howard’s 40-man squad was ambushed by guerrillas holding American POWs. Under nonstop enemy fire, Howard ordered his own air support to drop missiles on their position. Bleeding from his hands and eyes, and unable to walk, Howard gathered the only six men he had left. “You’re going to fight, or die.” His ammo napalmed, Howard snagged a Colt .45 and whacked an enemy wielding a flamethrower. He Hail Mary’d a grenade into a machine gunner’s outpost, giving reinforcements time to arrive and freeing the POWs. If not for Howard, the war genre might not exist as we know it.

After years of running from childhood bullies his grandma, finally reaching her breaking point, delivered an ultimatum: “Boy, don’t you run from anything again.” The next day, Howard returned to school and threw a punch at the bullies. Then another. Regaining control of his power, his life had forever changed. He no longer feared danger; he was the danger.

Howard pioneered dozens of missions as a sergeant-turned-lieutenant in the MACV-SOG, accumulating five tours of Vietnam. A natural leader, Howard’s brilliance was equal parts physical and cerebral. He snuck across enemy lines at night to free POWs. He disabled enemy choppers in one shot. He dragged men to safety amid gunfire and shrapnel. Much like the bullies of his youth, Howard made life hell for the Vietcong. He responded the only way he knew how.

Robert L. Howard retired as Colonel following 36 years of service, the most decorated active-duty soldier ever. Yet, his Medal of Honor ceremony was not televised, and the Associated Press mustered only 10 lines on his heroics. In the face of his legend, the average U.S. citizen has no idea Howard existed. How can a man with so much documented sacrifice for his country not be a household name?  He was a war hero at a time when Americans didn’t believe in either the war or its heroes. This will change now. This is not a movie about war. This is a movie about the man, his love for his country and then combat. He has done far more for the United States of America than anybody who makes headlines today. It is up to us to right history’s wrong and properly honor his legacy with a movie in the vein of Hacksaw Ridge.


List of awards (These are just some of his awards):

  • 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