Thursday, February 02, 2006

Army Cpl. Walter B. Howard II

Remember Our Heroes

Army Cpl. Walter B. Howard II, 35, of Rochester, Michigan.

Cpl. Howard died in Balad, Iraq, of injuries sustained earlier that day in Ashraf, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his M1 Abrams tank. He was assigned to the 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, 4th Infantry Division, Fort Carson, Colorado. Died on February 2, 2006.

By Tom Watts
Macomb Daily Staff Writer

Army Cpl. Walter B. Howard II of Clinton Township was buried Wednesday with military honors and remembered as a shy, neighborhood boy who emerged as an American hero.

Howard, 35, died Feb. 2 of injuries suffered in Ashraf, Iraq, when an improvised explosive device detonated near his M1 Abrams tank.

"He was an awesome person," Howard's wife, Jamie, said following an emotional and patriotic military ceremony at Resurrection Cemetery in Clinton Township. "He was so awesome."

Howard would have turned 36 on Feb. 12. He leaves behind his wife of just two years and 15-month-old daughter, Katherine, who was restless "like her daddy" during the funeral proceedings at First Baptist Church in Sterling Heights.

Howard's father, Walter Howard, said he hoped the funeral was the last for American troops serving in Operation Iraqi Freedom.

"I hope it's the last one," Howard said after Army officials presented Howard and his wife, Carolyn, with a U.S. flag draped over their son's coffin. "He was a good boy."

Jamie Howard, a native of Shelby Township, also received a tightly bound military-wrapped U.S. flag during ceremonies attended by hundreds.

"Walter was so quiet and shy," said Tammy Zobel, Howard's neighbor during his youth in Clinton Township. "He was so wonderful and caring; he was just a momma's boy. And he died protecting America."

Howard was honored with three distinguished medals Wednesday from U.S. Army Brig. Gen. John Bartley: the Purple Heart, Bronze Star medal and Combat Action patch.

"Walter is an American hero," Bartley said. "He was a good man living the good life."

Howard served three years in the Navy in the 1990s, but after terrorists struck on Sept. 11, 2001, the 1988 graduate from Fraser High School re-enlisted in the U.S. Army to support America and provide financial stability for his family.

Howard first became an active reserve at Selfridge Air National Guard Base in 2002 and joined the Seabees before he enlisted in the Army last year.

Howard left Michigan in December for Fort Carson, Colo., where he was assigned to the Army's 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry Regiment, 3rd Brigade Combat Team and 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson. He was sent to Iraq in January.

According to the U.S. Army, the improvised explosive device went off under the M1 tank he was in during a nighttime maneuver. Howard's father said the IED "exploded in its underbelly." Three other soldiers riding in the tank survived the explosion.

"I served with Walter in the Naval Mobile Construction Battalion," said Matt Howard of Wyandotte, who is not a blood relative to Walter Howard but bound by "military blood."

"I remember him mostly by his big smile," Howard said. "He was missed by us as soon as he left us to join the Army. We all knew he did it to support his family."

Cpl. Howard was also remembered for his passion for hunting, although his first love was his family.

"He was so proud of his daughter's (Katherine) milestones," said Brig. Gen. Hartley, who recited Howard's top three achievements as "family, duty to country, and loyalty to comrades."

Cpl. Howard was born Feb 12 1970, Son of Walter and Caroline Howard, Father to Katherine Grace Howard, Husband to Jamie Howard and Brother to Pam and Lisa. Walter lived in Rochester Hills for a short time before he was posted to Iraq.

Army Cpl. Walter B. Howard II was killed in action on 02/02/06.

3 comments:

Pam Malone said...

Here is is 5 months since that day when I was told my baby brother was killed in Iraq. Still I feel the pain just the same as that moment. He will me forever missed, he was my best friend, brother, and confidant. Walter I miss you, see you on the other side. I will remember, there are only happy tears in heaven. If any one wants to know how I keep going, please read the lyrics to the song by Brad Paisley and Dolly Parton, "I Believe". I love you little brother.
Love Pam

lszarka said...

Walter you were my rock, my friend and my baby brother, life on this earth can and will never be the same without you here! Me,Pam,mom and dad will never feel whole again, The day we received the news of your passing is forever imprinted in our brain and in our souls. I am forever grateful for the 36 years you spent with us and the sacrifice you made to insure we, your family friend and Country men are safe from all the bad out there.
The day you were born I remember Dad saying you were our penny from heaven. I was only eight and did not understand that statement. You enriched our life's and gave us much joy. The day we said goodbye I sent my penny back to heaven for safe keeping. Take Good care of him GOD he was the shiniest one in the batch

Chris Schornak said...

I ran track with you at Fraser High School, you dated my sister once too. You were always kind and light hearted. On this Memorial Day Weekend 2012 I think and Honor you. I pray for your Wife Jamie and daughters you left behind.