James D. Howe

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James Donnie Howe
Howe JD.jpg
James D. Howe, posthumous Medal of Honor recipient
Born(1948-12-17)December 17, 1948
Six Mile, Pickens, South Carolina
DiedMay 6, 1970(1970-05-06) (aged 21)
Quảng Nam Province, South Vietnam
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branchUnited States Marine Corps
Years of service1968-1970
RankLance Corporal
UnitCompany I, 3rd Battalion, 7th Marines
Battles/warsVietnam War 
AwardsMedal of Honor
Purple Heart

James Donnie Howe (December 17, 1948 – May 6, 1970) was a United States Marine who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his heroic actions in May 1970 during the Vietnam War.


James Donnie Howe was born on December 17, 1948, in Six Mile, South Carolina, the first child and only son of Frances (née Pilgrim) and Odis Samuel Howe.

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 on October 31, 1968, in Fort Jackson, South Carolina. He was discharged on from the Reserves on December 29, 1968 and enlisted in the regular Marine Corps the following day.

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

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

In the early morning hours of May 6, 1970, while serving as a rifleman on operations 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.

A light blue ribbon with five white five pointed stars
Bronze star
Medal of Honor
Purple Heart
Combat Action Ribbon
National Defense Service Medal Vietnam Service Medal with one bronze star Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal

Medal of Honor citation[edit]

The President of the United States takes pride in presenting the MEDAL OF HONOR posthumously to


for service as set forth in the following 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, 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 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, 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.


Posthumous honors[edit]

On May 19, 2004, the South Carolina General Assembly passed Joint Resolution 5294 commending native South Carolinian James D. Howe for his Medal of Honor actions.[1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Joint Resolution 5249, 115th Session, South Carolina General Assembly, May 19, 2004. (URL accessed June 7, 2006)
 This article incorporates public domain material from websites or documents of the United States Marine Corps.
  • "Lance Corporal James Donnie Howe, USMC, Who's Who in Marine Corps History, History Division, United States Marine Corps". Archived from the original on February 8, 2012. Retrieved September 29, 2010.
  • "LCpl James D. Howe, Medal of Honor, 1970, 3/7/1, Vietnam, Medal of Honor citation". Archived from the original on July 11, 2007. Retrieved September 29, 2010.