Congressional Medal of Honor Society

Stories of Sacrifice

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World War II - U.S. Army Air Corps

James Howell Howard

  • Rank: Lieutenant Colonel (rank at time of action: Major)
  • Conflict/Era: World War II
  • Unit/Command:
    356th Fighter Squadron, 354th Fighter Group,
    9th Air Force
  • Military Service Branch: U.S. Army Air Corps
  • Medal of Honor Action Date: January 11, 1944
  • Medal of Honor Action Place: over Oschersleben, Germany
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity above and beyond the call of duty in action with the enemy near Oschersleben, Germany on 11 January 1944. On that day Col. Howard was the leader of a group of P-51 aircraft providing support for a heavy bomber formation on a long-range mission deep in enemy territory. As Col. Howard's group met the bombers in the target area the bomber force was attacked by numerous enemy fighters. Col. Howard, with his group, at once engaged the enemy and himself destroyed a German ME. 110. As a result of this attack Col. Howard lost contact with his group, and at once returned to the level of the bomber formation. He then saw that the bombers were being heavily attacked by enemy airplanes and that no other friendly fighters were at hand. While Col. Howard could have waited to attempt to assemble his group before engaging the enemy, he chose instead to attack singlehandedly a formation of more than 30 German airplanes. With utter disregard for his own safety he immediately pressed home determined attacks for some 30 minutes, during which time he destroyed three enemy airplanes and probably destroyed and damaged others. Toward the end of this engagement three of his guns went out of action and his fuel supply was becoming dangerously low. Despite these handicaps and the almost insuperable odds against him, Col. Howard continued his aggressive action in an attempt to protect the bombers from the numerous fighters. His skill, courage, and intrepidity on this occasion set an example of heroism which will be an inspiration to the U.S. Armed Forces.
Medal of Honor Recipient James H. Howard
Medal of Honor Recipient James H. Howard
Additional Details
  • Accredited to: St. Louis, St. Louis County, Missouri
  • Awarded Posthumously: No
  • Presentation Date & Details: June 27, 1944
    London, England, presented by Lt. Gen. Carl A. Spaatz, Commander of the Air Forces in Europe
  • Born: April 8, 1913, Canton, China
  • Died: March 18, 1995, Belleair Bluffs, FL, United States
  • Buried: Arlington National Cemetery (MH) (34-2571), Arlington, VA
  • Location of Medal: St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport, St. Petersburg, FL

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