Col. Robert L. Howard, Retired US Army, 70, of Waco, and formerly of San Antonio, and who at the time of his death was believed to be the most decorated living American, passed away Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2009, in Waco. Full military honors are pending and will be held at Arlington National Cemetery. Col. Howard grew up in Opelika, Ala., and enlisted in the US Army in 1956, at the age of 17. He retired as a full colonel in 1992, after 36 years of service. During Vietnam, he served in the US Army Special Forces (Green Berets) and spent most of his five tours in the super-secret MACV-SOG. Col. Howard was nominated three times for the Medal of Honor, his first nomination being downgraded to the DSC. His second and third nominations were simultaneous for two separate actions, and the Medal of Honor was awarded for the first of them and was presented to him by President Richard M. Nixon at the White House in 1971. The other nomination was downgraded to the Silver Star. Col. Howard was wounded 14 times in 54 months of combat duty in Vietnam, and was awarded eight Purple Hearts and was believed to be the most decorated living American. Col. Howard is survived by his children, Denicia Howard of Florida, Melissa Gentsch and husband, Asst. Chief of Police Frank Gentsch of Waco, Rosslyn Howard of California and Robert Howard Jr. and wife, Tori of California; grandchildren, Victoria Batey and husband, Luke of Denton, Holley Gentsch of Waco, Trey Howard of California and Isabella Gentsch of Waco. The Guest Book is available at www.oakcrestwaco.com
July 11, 1939 - December 23, 2009 Sign the Guest Book at www.wacotrib.com
This obituary was originally published in the Waco Tribune-Herald.