TFH 5/6: Lance Corporal James D. Howe, USMC

James Donnie Howe was born on December 17, 1948 in Six Mile, South Carolina. He was employed as a painter after graduating from high school, and decided to enlist in the United States Marine Corps Reserve on October 31, 1968. He was discharged from the reserves to join the regular active Marines on December 29, 1968.

After completing his infantry training in June 1969, he joined the 3rd Battalion (“The Cutting Edge”) of the 7th Marine Regiment fighting in Vietnam as part of the 1st Marine Division. He fought as both a rifleman and as a radioman. On May 6, 1970 Howe performed a truly selfless act of bravery while manning a defensive position with two other Marines; he posthumously received our Nation’s highest honor.

From Medal of Honor Citations for the Vietnam War (A-L):

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Rank and organization: Lance Corporal, U.S. Marine Corps, Company I, 3d Battalion, 7th Marines, 1st Marine Division. Place and date: Republic of Vietnam, 6 May 1970. Entered service at: Fort Jackson, S.C. Born: 17 December 1948, Six Mile, Pickens, S.C. Citation: 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, during operations against enemy forces. In the early morning hours L/Cpl. Howe and 2 other marines were occupying a defensive position in a sandy beach area fronted by bamboo thickets. Enemy sappers 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, L/Cpl. Howe and his 2 comrades moved to a more advantageous position in order to return suppressive fire. When an enemy grenade landed in their midst, L/Cpl. Howe immediately shouted a warning and then threw himself upon the deadly missile, thereby protecting the lives of the fellow marines. His heroic and selfless action was in keeping with the finest traditions of the Marine Corps and of the U.S. Naval Service. He valiantly gave his life in the service of his country.

James Donnie Howe rests in peace in the appropriately named Liberty Memorial Gardens in Liberty, South Carolina. His name is inscribed on Panel 11W, Line 113 of the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.

3rd Battalion, 7th Marines is still a constituent unit of the 1st Marine Division. Their home station is the Marine Corps Air Ground Combat Center, Twentynine Palms, California. They are currently deployed in defense of our Nation to Forward Operating Base Delaram II, Afghanistan. May they all return home safely.

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