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3-time Medal of Honor nominee laid to rest

Feb. 19, 2010 - 05:10PM   |   Last Updated: Feb. 19, 2010 - 05:10PM  |  
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Funeral services will be held Monday at Arlington National Cemetery for the only soldier in U.S. history to receive three Medal of Honor nominations.

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Funeral services will be held Monday at Arlington National Cemetery for the only soldier in U.S. history to receive three Medal of Honor nominations.

Retired Army Col. Robert L. Howard, who was awarded the Medal of Honor for valor in a 1968 mission in Vietnam.

He was nominated two other times for actions on classified missions for the Green Berets, but received the Distinguished Service Cross for those actions because an individual can be awarded the Medal of Honor only once.

Howard was wounded 14 times during five tours of duty in Vietnam and received eight Purple Hearts, according to Rep. Chet Edwards, D-Texas, who announced the funeral details.

Howard joined the Army in 1956 at age 17 and spent 36 years in uniform. He was a platoon sergeant at the time of the combat mission for which he received the Medal of Honor, and was appointed as an officer in 1969 specifically because of his battlefield bravery.

His platoon, searching for a missing U.S. soldier, was attacked shortly after leaving a landing zone, according to the Medal of Honor citation. He was wounded and his weapon destroyed by a grenade, but he rallied the unit after the platoon leader was seriously injured.

From defensive positions, and with the injured Howard crawling from position to position to treat the wounded and give orders, the platoon engaged in a 3˝-hour firefight until rescue helicopters landed to pick them up. The citation says Howard "did not leave the bullet-swept landing zone until all were aboard safely."

After Howard retired from the military, he spent the rest of his life working with and on behalf of service members and veterans, Edwards said in a statement.

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