Chester Theo Howard, Jr

Private First Class
Army of the United States
03 January 1948 - 20 January 1970
Winona, Mississippi
Panel 14W Line 049

Silver Star

Combat Infantry

Purple Heart, Air Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Good Conduct, National Defense, Vietnam Service, Vietnam Campaign

The database page for Chester Theo Howard, Jr

17 Sep 2007

Our dear friend Theo, as we will always remember him. He was a quiet person. He always wanted to help and give his all. I remember his smile like it was yesterday. I remember we gave him a going away party before he left to go to Vietnam ... a group of us guys all went to Legion Lake skating rink west of Winona, Mississippi the weekend before he shipped out. We ended up at a place called the 'Hanging Tree'. We were drinking a few beers and I said to Theo "Cheers - get it done and we'll see you when you get back". His reply, with a distant look, was "I will be back in a pine box the next time you see me".

As the party went on I did not think much of it. We said goodbye and parted ways ... Just a few short weeks later I was attending his funeral. Chester Theo Howard gave his all - he gave his life. I found out later some tanks were under enemy attack and Theo came up from the tank to signal for air support. Enemy fire took his life in the jungles so far from home.

Chester Theo Howard, you are gone but never forgotten. May your memory remain in your family and all those who had the pleasure of knowing you.

From a friend,
Dan Holmes

18 Oct 2007

Chester Theo Howard, Jr was born January 3,1948 in Attala County, Mississippi to Chester Theo Howard, Sr. and Nancy Maletta Howard. His sisters are Joyce Howard Herod and Zula Howard Parker. His Grandparents were Samuel and Mary Howard and William and Daisy Stephens. His great-grandparents were Lott and Sarah Howard, Henry and Caroline Goss, William and Lettie Scarborough and John and Sarah Stephens. He was the 4th great-grandson of James Handley, Sr. who served in the American Revolution War.

Theo as he was known by, started to school in Carmack, MS then moved to Winona, MS. He was a member of the class of 68.

Things your sister Zula remembers about you, Theo.

When you were ten years old I saw you feeding the vitamins mother had you taking to the ducks. You made me promise not to tell on you ... I kept that promise for many years till we were talking with Mother and Daddy about childhood memories. I said them ducks sure were healthy. At first Mother and Daddy had many sad days when you were remembered. As the years went by some joy returned to them. While we were driving you to Memphis to catch the plane for your flight to Vietnam, I told you about the time Joyce and I had hurt your small kitten and you said you forgave us.

His Coon hunting buddies were Clyde and James Parker, Bobby Joe and Raymond Johnson and Ronald Homolik. Going out with his Sunday school class to Mr. W. C. Grice's place in the country for fun and games. To get to school from North Union Street, he liked to walk on the railroad tracks.

You could often find him playing the pinball machines at the bus station and hanging around the pool hall. At home he would listen to the Beatles's music.

Things your sister Joyce remembers about you, Theo.

You liked going fishing with Archie and me. You especially liked hunting and fishing on Big Black River.

I told you if you put salt on the blue jay's tail you could catch it. You tried and tried but you never did catch that bird. I remember how you like playing with your nieces and nephews.

Things your brother-in-law Wayne N. Parker remembers about you, Theo.

I got to know you through my brother Clyde. You never knew Zula and I got married.

Our youngest grandson Alex reminds us of you, Theo, tall and slender. I remember you eating more than the rest of us at lunch yet you never gained a pound and I could just look at food and gain weight. You told me you had to eat some bananas to make the minimum weight requirement to get into the Army. Because you were laughing when you told me I think you were getting back at me for picking on you because you were so slim.

Chester Theo died January 20, 1970 in Vietnam near the Cambodian border with the 9th Infantry Division. He was awarded posthumously one of the military's highest medals for heroism, the Silver Star. Theo earned the decoration for "gallantry in action"; he was killed by shrapnel from enemy mortar fire. During the attack, he disregarded his own safety and climbed atop a nearby tank to direct air support for U.S. troops. He remained there in the face of intense incoming mortar fire and was killed as he continued to direct the air strike.

He earned the Air Medal; the Army Commendation Medal; the Purple Heart; the Good Conduct Medal; the Combat Infantryman Badge; the National Defense Service Medal; the Vietnam Service Medal with one Bronze Service Star; the Vietnam Campaign Medal; the Sharpshooter Badge with automatic rifle and rifle bars; and the Marksman Badge with machinegun bar.

Zula Howard Parker
Joyce Howard Herod
Wayne N. Parker

Placed by his sister,
Zula Howard Parker
P. O. Box 474, Etoile, Texas 75944-0474

07 Dec 2007

Hey ya, Buddy, the 38th summer has now passed since we were together in basic training. I sure hate to see your name on The Wall. I know you are in a much better place, wearing that easy-going smile that never left your face, not even on the toughest days of basic training. That smile sure helped me and others get through the change from high school kid to being a soldier. I can picture oh so clearly that smile when the sun beams the brightest as I gaze on your name.

Miss ya, Bud. Rest in peace.

From a basic training buddy,
John "Jake" Jacobs

A Note from The Virtual Wall

The MACV Summary for January 1970 contains the following entry, which is believed to describe the action in which PFC Howard was killed:

A memorial stone on the courthouse square in Vaiden, Mississippi contains the names of three men killed in Korea and thirteen in Vietnam. PFC Howard's name is fifth from the bottom.

Although the names on the stone are in alphabetic order, they are listed here by date of death:

  • PFC Carter L. Williams, B Co, 1st Bn, 5th Cavalry (02/28/1966)
  • SP5 Michael H. Ball, A Co, 1st Sqdn, 4th Cavalry (04/29/1966)
  • PFC Willie K. Fullilove, B Co, 1st Bn, 12th Infantry (07/12/1967)
  • PFC Hubert Croom, C Co, 1st Bn, 503rd Infantry (11/12/1967)
  • LCpl Donnie D. Presley, I Co, 3rd Bn, 1st Marines (12/21/1967)
  • SSG Kenneth E. Mattson, A Co, 3rd Bn, 39th Infantry (07/09/1968)
  • LCpl Hylan L. Crowder, D Co, 1st MP Bn, 1st Force Svc Rgt (08/23/1968)
  • Pfc Dwight Hodges, F Co, 2nd Bn, 9th Marines (12/23/1968)
  • LCpl Jimmie L. Forrest, K Co, 3rd Bn, 1st Marines (04/05/1969)
  • PFC Chester T. Howard, B Co, 2nd Bn, 8th Cavalry (01/20/1970) (Silver Star)
  • 1LT Guy W. Hester, E Co, 3rd Bn, 21st Infantry (10/08/1970)
  • 1stLt Benjamin G. Lang, 615th Tac Ftr Sqdn (04/28/1971)
  • SSG Mark H. Eaton, TF-1 AE, MACV-SOG, 5th SF Group (08/13/1971) (Silver Star)

The point-of-contact for this memorial is
his sister,
Zula Howard Parker
P. O. Box 474, Etoile, Texas 75944-0474

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With all respect
Jim Schueckler, former CW2, US Army
Ken Davis, Commander, United States Navy (Ret)
Memorial first published on 17 Sep 2007
Last updated 07/20/2008