Major Howard V. Lee
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity at the risk of his life above and beyond the call of duty. A platoon of Maj. (then Capt.) Lee's company, while on an operation deep in enemy territory, was attacked and surrounded by a large Vietnamese force. Realizing that the unit had suffered numerous casualties, depriving it of effective leadership, and fully aware that the platoon was even then under heavy attack by the enemy, Maj Lee took 7 men and proceeded by helicopter to reinforce the beleaguered platoon.
Maj. Lee disembarked from the helicopter with 2 of his men and, braving withering enemy fire, led them into the perimeter, where he fearlessly moved from position to position, directing and encouraging the overtaxed troops. The enemy then launched a massive attack with the full might of their forces. Although painfully wounded by fragments from an enemy grenade in several areas of his body, including his eye, Maj. Lee continued undauntedly throughout the night to direct the valiant defense, coordinate supporting fire, and apprise higher headquarters of the plight of the platoon.
The next morning he collapsed from his wounds and was forced to relinquish command. However the small band of marines had held their position and repeatedly fought off many vicious enemy attacks for a grueling 6 hours until their evacuation was effected the following morning.
Maj. Lee's actions saved his men from capture, minimized the loss of lives, and dealt the enemy a severe defeat. His indomitable fighting spirit, superb leadership, and great personal valor in the face of tremendous odds, reflect great credit upon himself and are in keeping with the highest traditions of the Marine Corps and the U.S. Naval Service.
Major Lee: We humbly salute you and thank you for your service.
Hat tip: Home of Heroes
There are seventy eight living MoH recipients today. Their names and their stories should not be forgotten. My mission is to honor one of those heroes here each week, and salute them for their courage and sacrifice. In the words of John Fitzgerald Kennedy:
“A nation reveals itself not only by the men it produces, but also by the men it honors; the men it remembers.”