The Marine Corps Medal of Honor Recipients

Featuring Marine Medal of Honor Recipients From WWII-Korea-Viet Nam And Iraqi Freedom

Lance Corporal
United States Marine Corp
James Howe



Lance Corporal James D. Howe
United States Marine Corps

For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty while serving as a Rifleman with Company I, Third Battalion, Seventh Marines, First Marine Division in connection with combat operations against enemy forces in the Republic of Vietnam. In the early morning hours of 6 May 1970, Lance Corporal Howe and two other Marines were occupying a defensive position in a sandy beach area fronted by bamboo thickets. Enemy snipers suddenly launched a grenade attack against the position, utilizing the cover of darkness to carry out their assault. Following the initial explosions of the grenades, Lance Corporal Howe and his two comrades moved to a more advantageous position in order to return suppressive fire. When an enemy grenade landed in their midst, Lance Corporal Howe immediately shouted a warning and then threw himself upon the deadly missile, thereby protecting the lives of his fellow Marines. His heroic and selfless action was in keeping with the finest traditions of the Marine Corps and the United States Naval Service. He gallantly gave his life in the service of his country.

President of the United States

James Donnie Howe, who was posthumously awarded the Medal of Honor for heroism in Vietnam in May 1970, was born 17 December 1948, in Six Mile, Pickens, South Carolina. He attended Six Mile and Pickens Elementary Schools, graduated from Cateeche Elementary School in Cateeche, South Carolina, in June 1960, and then attended Liberty Junior High School in Liberty, South Carolina, from September 1960 until June 1961.

He was employed by Lloyd’s Incorporated, a paint contractor, in Easley, South Carolina, prior to enlisting in the U.S. Marine Corps Reserve, 31 October 1968, in Fort Jackson, South Carolina. He was discharged on 29 December 1968, and enlisted in the regular Marine Corps, 30 December 1968.

Private Howe received recruit training with the Recruit Training Battalion, Marine Corps Recruit Depot, Parris Island, South Carolina, and individual combat training with the 2d Infantry Training Battalion, 1st Infantry Training Regiment, Marine Corps Base, Camp Lejeune, North Carolina.

Promoted to private first class, 4 June 1969, he was transferred later that month to the Republic of Vietnam. He served as a rifleman and later, as a radio operator with Company I, 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division. He was promoted to lance corporal, 27 December 1969.

In the early morning hours of 6 May 1970, while serving as a rifleman in operations against insurgent Communist aggression in Quang Nam Province, Republic of Vietnam, he was mortally wounded.

A complete list of his medals and decorations includes: the Medal of Honor, Purple Heart, the Combat Action Ribbon, the National Defense Service Medal, the Vietnam Service Medal with one bronze star, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

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