About Jimmie Earl Howard
The President of the United States of America, in the name of Congress, takes pleasure in presenting the Medal of Honor to Gunnery Sergeant Jimmie Earl Howard (MCSN: 1130610), United States Marine Corps, for conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his own life above and beyond the call of duty on 16 June 1966, while serving with Company C, First Reconnaissance Battalion, FIRST Marine Division (Reinforced), Fleet Marine Force, in action against the enemy near Chu Lai, Republic of Vietnam. Gunnery Sergeant Howard and his eighteen-man platoon were occupying an observation post deep within enemy-controlled territory. Shortly after midnight a Viet Cong force of estimated battalion size approached the Marines' position and launched a vicious attack with small arms, automatic weapons, and mortar fire. Reacting swiftly and fearlessly in the face of the overwhelming odds, Gunnery Sergeant Howard skillfully organized his small but determined force into a tight perimeter defense and calmly moved from position to position to direct his men's fire. Throughout the night, during assault after assault, his courageous example and firm leadership inspired and motivated his men to withstand the unrelenting fury of the hostile fire in the seemingly hopeless situation. He constantly shouted encouragement to his men and exhibited imagination and resourcefulness in directing their return fire. When fragments of an exploding enemy grenade wounded him severely and prevented him from moving his legs, he distributed his ammunition to the remaining members of his platoon and proceeded to maintain radio communications and direct air strikes on the enemy with uncanny accuracy. At dawn, despite the fact that five men were killed and all but one wounded, his beleaguered platoon was still in command of its position. When evacuation helicopters approached his position, G/Sergeant Howard warned them away and called for additional air strikes and directed devastating small-arms fire and air strikes against enemy automatic weapons positions in order to make the landing zone as secure as possible. Through his extraordinary courage and resolute fighting spirit, G/Sergeant Howard was largely responsible for preventing the loss of his entire platoon. 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 reflect the highest credit upon Gunnery Sergeant Howard, the Marine Corps, and the United States Naval Service.
Action Date: 16-Jun-66
Service: Marine Corps
Rank: Gunnery Sergeant
Company: Company C
Battalion: 1st Force Reconnaissance Battalion
Division: 1st Marine Division (Rein.) FMF