The 55th anniversary of the deployment of the 199th Light Infantry Brigade, and Private First Class Gary E. Howard, will also mark a recognition of honor for the brigade and its men at Fort Benning, in Georgia.
In June of 1966, the brigade was preparing to leave Fort Benning for the second time to accomplish a combat mission in the Republic of Vietnam, during the war between Vietnam and the United States.
It would be during that mission that Private First Class Howard, and many of the soldiers in the brigade, would make an ultimate sacrifice to their nation and fellow soldiers.
Gary Howard was a native son of Quincy, and became a fallen warrior two years after leaving Fort Benning for Vietnam, on May 7, 1968.
Howard and the other fallen warriors of the 199th Light Infantry Brigade, will soon be honored at Fort Benning in the National Infantry Museum’s outdoor Vietnam Memorial Plaza.
To honor each of the men who fell in combat, Colonel James Dabney – who served alongside many of the fallen men who will be honored at the memorial – purchased brick pavers that will be inscribed with the name of each fallen soldier, including Private Howard.
According to Private Howard’s sister and brother-in-law, Bettye Howard Thigpen and James Thigpen, each paver will be installed at the museum’s outdoor memorial.
Private Howard’s paver will read: “In Loving Memory of Gary Howard, kia [killed in action] 5/7, Our Hero and Friend”.
“I was very blessed to have served with Gary, and he will always be one of my personal heroes,” writes Colonel Dabney.
Private Howard is the father of Tani Howard Moten and Gerald Howard, the grandfather to Jamal, and he was married to Marsha Howard.
He is the brother of Bettye Howard Thigpen and Priscilla Dilworth.
After their sacrifices in Vietnam, Private Howard and the rest of his men-in-arms of Company D, 4th Battalion 12th Infantry, 199th Light Infantry Brigade became the recipients of the Presidential Unit Citation for Extraordinary Heroism, which was presented by President Richard Nixon in September of 1968.
Ashley Hunter – firstname.lastname@example.org
Photo Courtesy of the Thigpen/Howard Family