b. 17/12/1948 Six Mile, South Carolina. d. 06/05/1970 Quang Nam Province, Vietnam.
DATE OF MOH ACTION: 06/05/1970 Quang Nam Province, Vietnam.
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. His posthumous Medal of Honor was presented to his family by Vice President Spiro T. Agnew at The White House on September 15, 1971.
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 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, L/Cpl. 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, 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.
BURIAL LOCATION: LIBERTY MEMORIAL GARDENS CEMETERY, LIBERTY, SOUTH CAROLINA.
GARDEN CHRISTUS A, LOT 247, SPACE 3.
LOCATION OF MEDAL: FAMILY.