Contact: Victoria Kueck
Medal of Honor Recipient Howard V. Lee
Passes Away at 85
Earned Nation’s Highest Award for Valor during Vietnam
MOUNT PLEASANT, S.C. (March 27, 2019)— The Congressional Medal of Honor Society announces that Howard V. Lee, Medal of Honor recipient, passed away Saturday March 23, 2019, in Virginia at the age of 85.
Lee was born in New York City, New York, on August 1, 1933. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps following his graduation from Pace College (New York City, NY) in 1955. After attending Officer Candidates’ Course at Quantico, Virginia, Lee was commissioned a Second Lieutenant in the Marine Corps Reserve. He made First Lieutenant prior to transitioning to the regular Marine Corps in 1958 and was promoted to Captain in 1961.
Captain Lee was stationed in the Dominican Republic during that country’s 1965 civil war. By mid-1966, he was serving his first tour of duty in Vietnam.
On August 8, 1966, near Cam Lo, Vietnam, Lee was company commander of Company E, 2d Battalion, 4th Marines, 3d Marine Division (Rein) FMF, when a platoon of his company suffered heavy casualties in an attack by enemy forces. Lee volunteered to take a small group of Marines by helicopter to reinforce the besieged unit. Once there, he discovered the platoon sergeant had been killed and the platoon sergeant seriously wounded. Lee assumed command of the survivors. His leadership and encouragement, despite his own painful wounds from a grenade, allowed the small band of Marines to hold off a superior enemy force for 6 hours through the night.
For his valor that August, he received the Medal of Honor from President Lyndon Johnson in a White House ceremony on October 25, 1967. His three-year-old son Michael charmed the audience and press with his antics during the ceremony.
He retired as a Lieutenant Colonel in 1975.
He is survived by his four children, a sister, and numerous grandchildren and great-grandchildren. He will be laid to rest in Virginia Beach, Virginia, on Saturday, March 30, 2019.
There are 71 recipients alive today.
The Congressional Medal of Honor Society was chartered by Congress in 1958 and consists exclusively of the living recipients of our nation’s highest award for bravery in combat, the Medal of Honor. Those who wear this light blue ribbon and Medal around their neck are “recipients” of this prestigious award; they are not “winners.” Although it is common to refer to the Medal as the Congressional Medal of Honor, it is simply named the Medal of Honor, although, as stated, the Congress did establish the Society as the Congressional Medal of Honor Society.