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In November of 2003 I received the following e-mail from a friend,
Floyd Houston LtCol. USMC/Ret.
       It's about a friend of his.



This came in this morning's HQMC news summary, clipped from some local news service (I wish they had included the paper's name). Anyway, Tim is a friend. They didn't mention his Silver Star Medal. Or the fact that when the Secretary of the Navy visited him at his hospital bed, Tim jumped out (in spite of the fact that he had also lost big chunks of his lower leg in addition to his hand) and threatened the guy unless he was allowed to continue on active duty. SECNAV was duly impressed and let Tim have a chance to stay on - Tim earned the rest by rebuilding and performing.

In 1990 Tim was TAD to a school where I was assigned.

Tim was over at my house building a wooden deployment box (we were all thinking about deploying in 1990) and my young son John was quite impressed with Tim's assortment of hands which he used for specific functions - essentially tools. Everytime I think of Tim I can see the astonishment on John's face as Tim would snap on a different tool hand while we built that deployment box.

Its amazing what you remember about folks...and Tim's a guy to remember.



HQMC news summary - Nov.2003

One-Armed Marine Continues to Serve

Being a United States Marine is tough enough, but imagine only having one arm. Col. Timothy Howard lost his arm about 20 years ago, but he hasn't let that keep him from serving his country. It's not too often you find a Purple Heart recipient who continues to serve our country, let alone one who still ranks first class in the Marine Corps Physical Fitness Test.

Close to 20,000 recruits and Marines achieve their marksmanship qualifications each year at Parris Island, and Col. Howard is the man behind it all. Howard serves as the commanding officer for the Weapons and Field Training Battalion at Parris Island, a position he serves with pride.

"I love what I'm doing," he said. "Every day is a good day. There's no such thing as a bad day." The colonel's attitude has kept him as one of the few and the proud for 25 years, despite a major career setback that left him with an artificial arm and a limp. It all happened in 1983, when he was deployed to Grenada on a mission to rescue American students and preserve democracy. But during the mission, his helicopter was shot down and he lost his right arm and severely injured his right leg.

Thanks to his co-pilot and fellow crewmembers, he made it out alive, and it's their memory he keeps sacred. When Howard was shot down by the enemy in Grenada, his co-pilot rescued him and was killed in the process. Two men in a second helicopter provided backup and were shot down and killed during the rescue.

"They are a big part of why I continue to do this, and why I think it's important," said Col. Howard. Not only is it a miracle Howard can walk after all that, but he's continued to pass his physical fitness test requirements with flying colors, running three miles in less than 26 minutes, which ranks him first class. But, he says it's more than determination that keeps him on top; it's his Marines.

"Working with the Marines on a day-to-day basis is spectacular," he said.