Five-Time Purple Heart Recipient: "I Have Always Felt That I Sho - Spokane, North Idaho News & Weather KHQ.com

Five-Time Purple Heart Recipient: "I Have Always Felt That I Shouldn't Have Come Back"

MEDICAL LAKE, Wash. - On Memorial Day, a day to remember the fallen, there are many stories of bravery, valor and sacrifice. At the Veteran's Cemetery Ceremony at Medical Lake, dozens paid respects to those who never come home as well as those who returned wounded to protect America's freedoms.

Every military member, active or veteran, who KHQ Local News talked to told incredible stories of patriotism and dedication. But sitting quietly on a chair in the back of the ceremony sat one veteran with a truly astounding story.

Randy Howard donned a purple jacket and military regalia like many others Monday. But KHQ found Spokane local Randy Howard received the Purple Heart five times.

"The first one I got shot in the head by a sniper," Howard explained of how he received his first Purple Heart, the oldest military award. "The others were multiple frag(ment) wounds, grenades, mortor, RPG (rocket propelled grenade)."

Howard was an Army Airborne Ranger who served from 1966 to 1968. He received all of his awards for his service in Vietnam. After his Fifth honor, Howard was medically discharged.

Remembering back, Howard said enemies nearly wiped out his whole platoon many times while in Vietnam. He was often just one of a few to survive the attacks. Whether her survived because of luck or divine intervention, he's not sure how or why he made it back home alive.


"I always felt that I shouldn't have come back. I should have been with them, but whatever. They saved me, I don't know. I can't tell you," he said. "It's hard at times, you know, it really is."

Of course, that was the reason Howard attended the ceremony Monday in order to pay respects to his fallen brothers. Howard explained that Vietnam War veterans did not receive the same respect that vets were deserving of despite their ultimate sacrifices. That is why, he said, it's even more important to support servicemen and women and their families.

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