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Col. James H. Howard ~ Free Shipping

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Print Size 11" x 14" ~ Unlimited Print Edition

Col. James H. Howard

AVG/354th F.G. ~ 9th USAAF/ETO

(13.33 victories)

~ Medal of Honor ~


James Howard was graduated from Pomona College at Claremont, Calif., in 1937, with a BA degree. He entered military service in December 1937, as an aviation cadet in the Naval Reserve. He completed training and was rated an ensign in August 1939. He served until June 1941. He joined the American Volunteer Croup of the Chinese air force, serving under Gen. Claire L. Chennault from August 1941 to July 1942. He received promotions to squadron leader and destroyed six enemy fighter planes and shared in the destruction of a bomber. General Howard entered active service with the Army Air Force as a pilot in January 1943, with rank of captain and command of the 356th Fighter Squadron at Hamilton Field, Calif. He went to HQ 9th Air Force in Europe, was promoted to major in September 1943, and flew P-51s as cover for heavy bombers. 


For Conspicuous Gallantry in combat near Oschersleben, Germany on Jan. 11, 1944, he received the Medal of Honor. He was leading a group of P-51s in support of a heavy bomber formation on a long-range mission deep in enemy territory. The citation reads, in part: "As Major Howard's group met the bombers in the target area, the bomber force was attacked by numerous enemy fighters. Major Howard, with his group, at once engaged the enemy and himself destroyed a German ME-110. He lost contact with his group and returned to the level of the bomber formation. He then saw that the bombers were being heavily attacked by enemy planes and that no other friendly fighters were at hand While he could have waited to attempt to assemble his group before engaging the enemy, he chose instead to attack single-handed a formation of more than 30 German planes. With utter disregard for his own safety he immediately pressed home determined attacks for some 30 minutes, during which time he destroyed three enemy planes 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, Major Howard continued his aggressive action in an attempt to protect the bombers from the numerous fighters. His skill, courage, and intrepidity set an example of heroism which will be an inspiration to the Armed Forces of the United States." General Howard was promoted to lieutenant colonel the following month. He returned home in November 1944, to attend the Third Fighter Gunnery School at Pinellas, Fla., and for assignment to HQ 3rd AF at Tampa. He was promoted to colonel on Nov. 25, 1945, and relieved from active duty five days later.. He was promoted to brigadier general March 22, 1948.


Besides the nation's top decoration, he also earned two Distinguished Flying Crosses, Bronze Star Medal, 10 Air Medals, and decorations from China. 


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