Eli Page Howard, Jr.
Lieutentant Colonel, United States Army
Eli Page Howard was born on March 26, 1928. He became a member of the Army while in Pelham, New York and attained the rank of Lieutenant Colonel (O5).
On August 19, 1969 at the age of 41, Eli Page Howard gave his life in the service of our country in South Vietnam, Quang Tin Province.
find Eli Page Howard honored on the Vietnam Memorial Wall on Panel 19W,
News Reports Courtesy of Kenneth G. Kraetzer: March 2007
22 August 1969:
U.S. Forces Blocked From Downed Copter
Saigon – North Vietnamese troops entrenched in bunkers kept up attacks today on American Infantrymen trying to reach the wreckage of a U.S. helicopter southwest of Da Nang.
A U.S. spokesman estimated that the lead column of 400 men fro9m the 196th Light Infantry Brigade was about 800 years from the site where the North Vietnamese shot down the helicopter Tuesday.
“Every time they start moving they draw fire,” said one U.S. officer.
“I’ve never seen the enemy fight so hard,” said another.
“Ordinarily they’ll fight for awhile and then pull back, but these guys are standing their ground and fighting.”
Dive bombers and helicopter gunships made attack after attack on the North Vietnamese bunkers.
For three days more than 1,000 North Vietnamese troops have blocked American efforts to reach the crash site n the rolling foothills 31 miles southeast of Da Nang.
Among the eight men aboard the helicopter were Associated Press photographer Oliver Nooman of Norwell, Massachusetts, and Lieutenant Colonel Eli P. Howard, Jr., of Woodbridge, Virginia, a battalion commander. All eight men are believed dead.
The drive to reach the wreckage has become the focus of the hard fighting that has been raging in the area since Sunday. U.S. spokesmen claim that at least 469 North Vietnamese have been slain, many by a massive rain of bombs, napalm, rockets and artillery shells.
1,200 U.S. infantrymen, Marines and South Vietnamese soldiers have been
thrown into the fighting. Associated Press correspondent Richard
Pyle reported from the area that 35 Americans have been killed, 10 are
missing and more than 150 are wounded.
29 August 1969
Standard Star, New Rochelle, New York
Killed In Vietnam
Colonel Howard’s Funeral Tuesday At Arlington
PELHAM – Funeral services for Lieutenant Colonel Eli “Elm” Howard, former Pelham resident, who was killed in Vietnam, will take place Tuesday, September 2 at 10:45 am at the Fort Myer Chapel, Arlington Virginia. Colonel Howard will be interred in Arlington National Cemetery beside his father, a veteran of World War I who died in 1965.
Colonel Howard, who was 41, lost his life along with seven others when a helicopter from which he was directing units of his command August 19 was brought down by enemy fire. He was commander of the 3rd Battalion of the 196th Light Infantry Brigade.
U.S. Infantry men fought their way to the spot where the helicopter was shot down and found the wrecked aircraft and eight bodies of August 24.
Colonel Howard was serving his second tour of duty in Vietnam. After two years at the Department of the Army, he volunteered for Vietnam duty and was assigned to the 9th Infantry Division in the Mekong Delta on January 24, 1969. When the 9th Division was redeployed to the United States, he was reassigned to the American Division and subsequently to the 19th Light Infantry Brigade as commanding officer of the 3rd Brigade.
A graduate of Pelham Memorial High School in 1946, Colonel Howard entered the United States Marine Corps in July of that year and was honorably discharged as a Corporal the following July. He then entered Morgan State College in Baltimore, Maryland, where he was a Cadet (ROTC) Officer and a letterman in football, baseball and basketball. He had also been active as an athlete at Pelham where the 1946 Pelham yearbook called him “Touchdown King.” He graduated from Morgan in 1951 and in June entered the service as a Second Lieutenant, United States Army Reserve, and in1954 he received a regular Army commission.
Colonel Howard served in Korea during hostilities there from January 1952 to November 1952 where he received the Combat Infantry Badge. He returned to Fort Dix, New Jersey, and in 1957 went overseas to Germany. From June 1961 to February 1864 he was at the Armor School, Fort Knox, Kentucky.
He served in Vietnam in 1964 as a Senior Advisor to the Army of the Republic of Vietnam, 48th Infantry Regiment and G3 Advisor to the ARVN 10th Division. He received the second award of the Combat Infantry Badge and was also awarded the Bronze Star Medal and the Purple Heart Medal for wounds received in combat.
Colonel Howard served as Grand Marshal of a Pelham Memorial Day Parade in the early 1950s. The Howard family home in Pelham was on Fourth Avenue.
Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Joan G. Howard of Woodbridge, Virginia; five children: two daughters, Lisa and Deirdre; three sons: Norman, Eli 3rd, and Kevin; and his mother, Mrs. Eli P. Howard, Sr. of Middleburgh, Virginia.
The battalion commander, Lieutenant Colonel Robert C. Bacon, had been waiting impatiently for Company A to move out. Colonel Bacon had taken over the battalion after Lieutenant Colonel Eli P. Howard was killed in a helicopter crash with seven others.
Eli Page Howard was a black man who grew up in Chicago and who was star athlete in college. Was career Inf officer who was killed-in-action in Vietnam when his helicopter was shot down. He is buried in Arlington National Cemetery, near his father who was Corporal in World War I.
HOWARD, ELI P JR
DATE OF BIRTH: 03/26/1928
DATE OF DEATH: 08/19/1969
BURIED AT: SECTION 39 SITE 1520
ARLINGTON NATIONAL CEMETERY