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Most decorated American soldier in US Military history

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Robert L. Howard - Most decorated soldier in US Military history

The title of most decorated American soldier probably goes to Robert Lewis Howard, a US Army soldier and Medal of Honor recipient of the Vietnam War. Howard was born July 11, 1939 and he died at age 70 on December 23, 2009. Robert L. Howard was wounded 14 times while serving over 54 months of combat. He was awarded 8 Purple Hearts, 4 Bronze Stars, and was nominated for the Medal of Honor in three separate cases.

Robert L. Howard enlisted in the US Army at Montgomery, Alabama and retired in the rank of Colonel.

As a staff sergeant in Vietnam era Special Forces known as the highly-classified Military Assistance Command, Vietnam – Studies and Observations Group (MACV-SOG), he was recommended for the Medal of Honor on three separate occasions for three individual actions. That happened in thirteen months of combat from 1967 to 1968. His actions and bravery gained him respect among his soldiers, but that wasn’t enough in the first two nominations for Medal of Honor which were downgraded to a Silver Star and the Distinguished Service Cross due to the covert nature of the secret operations in which Robert L. Howard participated.

The third luck, if we are able to call it like that, comes during a rescue mission in Cambodia on December 30, 1968, when he served as a Sergeant First Class in MACV-SOG. In this operations, Howard was second in command of a platoon-sized Hornet Force that was searching for missing American soldier Robert Scherdin, when he was finally awarded the Medal of Honor for his actions on that day. He learned of the award over a two-way radio while under enemy fire, immediately after being wounded, resulting in one of his eight Purple Hearts.

Robert L. Howard was wounded 14 times during one 54-month period during the Vietnam War. He received two Masters degrees during his government career which spanned almost 50 years. Howard retired as a full Colonel in 1992. His Army career spanned 1956 to 1992.

Howard died of pancreatic cancer at a hospice in Waco, Texas on December 23, 2009. He was survived by four children and four grandchildren. His funeral was in Arlington National Cemetery on February 22, 2010.

Here is list of all his medals and awards during his warrior career:

U.S. Awards & Decorations
Personal awards

  • Medal of Honor
  • Distinguished Service Cross with oak leaf cluster
  • Silver Star
  • Legion of Merit with 3 oak leaf clusters
  • Bronze Star with “V” device & 3 oak leaf clusters
  • Purple Heart with 7 oak leaf clusters
  • Bronze oak leaf cluster
  • Bronze oak leaf cluster
  • Meritorious Service Medal with 2 oak leaf clusters
  • Bronze oak leaf cluster
  • Bronze oak leaf cluster
  • Bronze oak leaf cluster
  • Air Medal with “V” device & award numerals 3
  • Joint Service Commendation
  • Silver oak leaf cluster
  • Bronze oak leaf cluster
  • Army Commendation Medal with “V” device & 6 oak leaf clusters
  • Joint Service Achievement Medal
  • Army Achievement Medal

U.S. Awards & Decorations

Unit awards

  • Bronze oak leaf cluster
  • Presidential Unit Citation with oak leaf cluster
  • Meritorious Unit Commendation
  • Navy Unit Commendation
  • Service awards
  • Good Conduct Medal with 4 Good Conduct Loops
  • Campaign & Service awards
  • National Defense Service Medal
  • Armed Forces Expeditionary Medal with 3 service stars
  • Vietnam Service Medal with 3 service stars

Service & Training awards

  • Army Overseas Service Ribbon
  • Armed Forces Reserve Medal
  • Bronze oak leaf cluster
  • Bronze oak leaf cluster
  • NCO Professional Development Ribbon with award numeral “2”
  • Army Service Ribbon

U.S. Awards & Decorations

Badges and tabs

  • Special Forces Tab
  • Ranger Tab
  • Combat Infantryman Badge
  • Expert Infantryman Badge
  • Aircrew Badge
  • US Army Airborne master parachutist
  • Master Parachutist Badge
  • Air Assault Badge
  • Pathfinder Badge
  • Expert Marksmanship Badge

Foreign Awards & Decorations

  • Vietnamese Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star (Corps), Silver Star (Division) and Bronze Star (Regiment/Brigade)
  • Republic of Vietnam Armed Forces Honor Medal, 1st Class
  • Republic of Vietnam Civil Actions Medal, 1st Class
  • Republic of Vietnam Wound Medal
  • Republic of Vietnam Staff Service Medal, 2nd Class
  • Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal with 1960 bar
  • Republic of Korea Order of National Security Merit (Sam-Il Medal)
  • Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry Unit Citation with Palm
  • Vietnam Civil Actions Unit Citation with Palm

Individual & Unit awards

  • Bronze star
  • Silver star
  • Gold star

Badges

  • French Parachutist Badge
  • Republic of Vietnam Master Parachute Badge
  • Republic of Vietnam Ranger Badge
  • Thai Master Parachute Wings
  • Korean Master Parachute Badge
  • Thai Balloonist Badge

Robert L. Howard is probably the single most decorated American soldier in US Military History and his military career and his life story is one of greatest I’ve ever heard. The great man and greater soldier, true American Hero.

American Heroes

Green Beret Medic received Medal of Honor

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An Army Special Forces soldier will receive the Medal of Honor for fighting through an enemy ambush and saving his teammates’ lives 10 years ago in Afghanistan, the White House announced in late September.

Former Staff Sgt. Ronald Shurer II, who had already received a Silver Star for his actions, was honored with the nation’s highest award for valor by President Donald Trump during an Oct. 1 ceremony at the White House. Shurer served as a Special Forces medic with 3rd Special Forces Group.

Ronald J. Shurer II was born in Fairbanks, Alaska, on Dec. 7, 1978. The son of airmen, Shurer lived in Illinois and Idaho before his family was stationed at McChord Air Force Base, Washington. Shurer attended Rogers High School in Puyallup, Washington, where he was a member of the swim team and participated in triathlons and cycling.

Following his high school graduation in 1997, Shurer attended Washington State University, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in business economics. Later that year, he enrolled in a master’s degree program at Washington State.

After the events of Sept. 11, 2001, Shurer was inspired to follow in the footsteps of his great-grandfather, grandfather and parents by serving in the U.S. armed forces.

Shurer entered the U.S. Army in 2002 and was assigned to the 601st Area Support Medical Company, 261st Area Medical Battalion, 44th Medical Command, at Fort Bragg, North Carolina. In January 2004, he entered Special Forces selection and reported to the Special Forces Qualification Course in June. After donning his green beret, Shurer was assigned to the 3rd Special Forces Group in June 2006. Shurer deployed to Afghanistan from August 2006 to March 2007, and again from October 2007 to May 2008.

On April 6, 2008, Shurer and his team were assigned to take out high-value targets of the Hezeb Islami al Gulbadin in Shok Valley, according to the Army.

In a moment of the above-mentioned action, he was a Senior Medical Sergeant, Special Forces Operational Detachment Alpha 3336, Special Operations Task Force-33, in support of Operation Enduring Freedom.

Then-Staff Sergeant Shurer and his team were engaged by enemy machine gun, sniper, and rocket-propelled grenade fire. The lead portion of the assault element sustained several casualties and became pinned down on the mountainside. Then-Staff Sergeant Shurer braved enemy fire to treat an injured Soldier. After stabilizing the Soldier, he fought his way across a barrage of bullets and up the mountain to the lead element.

Once there, he treated and stabilized four more Soldiers. After treating the wounded, then-Staff Sergeant Shurer began evacuating them, carrying and lowering the casualties down the mountainside, using his body to shield them from enemy fire and debris. After he loaded the wounded in the evacuation helicopter, he retook control of his commando squad and rejoined the fight. Then-Staff Sergeant Shurer’s heroic actions saved the lives of his teammates.

Today, he lives in Burke, Virginia, with his wife and two sons. After Army career, he went on to serve with the Secret Service, working as a special agent assigned to the Phoenix Field Office before being selected for the agency’s Counter Assault Team and assigned to its Special Operations Division.

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American Heroes

Redemption: How an addict became a Navy SEAL and a nightmare for the Taliban

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The biographies of most Navy SEALs probably don’t include a rap sheet — theft, possession of meth, possession of crack, and so on. But if there’s ever been a story of redemption through continued hard work and perseverance, it belongs to Adam Brown. Facing 11 felony drug and weapons charges after being found in a pool of his own blood, he opted into a drug rehab program — which only worked for a short while.

Author: Blake Stilwell (We Are The Mighty)

His best chance at turning his life around came in the form of a SEAL trident.

Brown’s life began like so many other good-ol’ American boys before him. The Arkansas native was a straight-A student and star football player. He was kind, respectful to his elders, and always ready for goodnatured fun. It wasn’t until he met an old flame that his descent into addiction began. She had a drug habit and, though Brown enjoyed a drink, he wasn’t inclined toward anything harder than that. Eventually, his girlfriend wore him down and he was hooked after one hit of crack-cocaine.

From there, he devolved into injecting it into his veins. Then, he began to try other drugs. Eventually, he could only be found on the floors of crack houses. He hit rock bottom when the girl who helped get him hooked eventually left and he began stabbing himself in the neck with a knife. When police found him, he was laying in a pool of his own blood. That’s when they discovered all his outstanding warrants. Facing massive jail time and a family that was done with his addictive behaviors, the judge gave him the choice: rehab or jail.

It was in rehab that Brown gave his life over to Christianity and met his soon-to-be wife, also a fervent believer. The two were happy, but Brown soon regressed. After a short disappearance, his new bride found him in a crack house. Addiction is a viscous and persistent curse, and this same scenario repeated itself until his new love threatened to leave.

By 1998, he knew he had to do something, so he stopped into a recruiter’s office after finding out a friend was joining the Navy as an aviator. The recruiter balked when Brown revealed his drug use and rap sheet, but Brown had a friend in a high place: the highest-ranking recruiting officer in the region. He vouched for Brown, who was almost immediately shipped out to basic training.

He showed up with just the clothes on his back and went straight for SEAL training.

“The training awakened in Adam the psycho who never quit,” Eric Blehm, author of ‘Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team Six Operator Adam Brown’ told Investors Business Daily. “He also had Kelley [his wife] and his faith, which gave him a refuge and a shield of strength.”

Brown and Family, shortly before his last deployment to Afghanistan. (Photo: WeAreTheMighty)

He was sent to SEAL Team Four, where he ended up with a knife in his eye due to a training accident. He covered the wound and continued on, eventually having to have the eye stitched up due to a loss of blood. He later lost his right eye — his dominant eye — during a room-clearing exercise and still he pressed on. He just learned to shoot with his left eye in SEAL sniper school.

Even with a 50-percent washout rate among those with two eyes, Adam Brown succeeded. He decided he wanted to join what he thought was the best of the best: SEAL Team Six. While waiting for the right time to train with SEAL Team Six, he took a deployment to Afghanistan in 2005, where a freak convoy accident left his right hand mangled and missing fingers. Instead of tending to his own wounds, he tended to others and pulled security until the last casualty was evacuated from the site.

When you can’t shoot with your dominant hand, just use the other hand. (Photo: WeAreMighty)

With his dominant eye and his dominant hand both out, Brown did exactly what you’d expect him to do: he simply learned to work with his other hand. For a year, he made history as the only SEAL to ever attempt (let alone pass) the training with only one eye. And he was shooting almost-perfect scores.

By November, 2006, Brown was Chief Petty Officer Brown and the following years saw more hardship and deployments for the SEAL. He bore the pain of arthritis, a bad back, a broken leg, and surgery on both ankles so he could return to combat duty. He deployed to Afghanistan’s Kunar Valley and to the cities and villages all over Iraq, going on nightly raids chasing IED bomb-makers. Brown was only 33.

Navy SEAL Adam Brown personally went out of his way to hand out shoes and socks to Afghan kids in need.
(Photo: NavySEALs.com)

His final deployment came in March of 2010. Their mission was to kill or capture a high-value Taliban leader, code-named Objective Lake James. Just like the bomb-makers in Iraq, the target was responsible for the deaths of many American and NATO soldiers. Flying into the mountains of Afghanistan’s Hindu Kush via Chinook Helicopter, Brown and the other STS SEALs fast-roped into the area and humped to a nearby village.

As the SEALs approached a stronghold, they managed to silently take out an enemy sentry, but another fired at the SEALs with his AK-47. As the area opened up with small arms fire, the SEAL Team needed to get a grenade in a nearby window. It was close, but not close enough to throw one in. As Brown made his way around with a grenade launcher, shots rang out to his left, riddling the determined SEAL with bullets. He was hit in both legs. Once he was down, other enemy positions poured bullets toward him.

His fellow SEALs got him out of the line of fire, but it would not be enough to save Adam Brown’s life. He died later that day, back at the base.

Though Brown’s story ends in his tragic death, it’s nonetheless a story about the power of human will in overcoming any challenge. Brown showed us that you can always shape your life in any way you want, and all it takes is the love and support of your family, friends, and the people who will always have your back. Fearless is a fitting name for his story – there was nothing in life that Adam Brown couldn’t overcome to shape his own destiny.

Read about Brown’s struggle against addiction along with all his combat successes and failures in Fearless: The Undaunted Courage and Ultimate Sacrifice of Navy SEAL Team Six Operator Adam Brown, by Eric Blehm.

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