UNDERWAY (August 21, 2011) – USS Howard honored the 44th anniversary of First Sergeant Jimmie E. Howard’s receipt of the Medal of Honor with a commemorative ceremony. Hosted on the Messdecks, the entire crew was invited to celebrate and honor First Sergeant Howard’s incredible act of gallantry in Vietnam at Hill 488, for which he was presented with the Medal of Honor.
On August 21, 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson presented First Sergeant Howard with the nation’s highest military honor, the Medal of Honor, for acts of gallantry in the face of combat in Vietnam. It was because of his courageous actions that the USS Howard (DDG 83) was named for him. “We hold a very deep connection with our namesake,” said Cmdr Andree E. Bergmann, Commanding Officer of USS Howard. “His spirit and his memory remain a part of the ship and we carry that name with pride,” she continued.
A native of Burlington, Iowa, Jimmie Howard enlisted in the United States Marine Corps in 1950 and was stationed for the majority of his career in and around San Diego, CA. Prior to receiving the Medal of Honor, First Sergeant Howard received the Silver Star for his valor in Korea, as well as three Purple Hearts. Though he passed away at his home in San Diego in 1993, his family plays a large role in continuously supporting the ship and her crew.
“We’re very lucky to have the Howard family members so close in San Diego and to have them continue to be such supporters of our ship and our crew. Their immense support and active participation in the life of the ship is a blessing and means a great deal to the Sailors,” ENS Ashley Valanzola said.
“It is with great pride that we are able to carry the Howard name with us, wherever we go, around the world. There aren’t many ships that have such a great connection with the family members for which it was named and that’s what makes the USS Howard so incredibly special,” ENS Valanzola continued.
Hosted by the 2011 Chief Petty Officer Selectees, BMC(SEL) Jesse Hill read First Sergeant Howard’s Medal of Honor citation and celebrated the anniversary with a cake made and decorated by the ship’s culinary specialists. USS Howard is currently on an independent deployment in support of 7th and 5th Fleet operations. She is homeported in San Diego, CA and a member of Destroyer Squadron Seven.