Minden man receives second Bronze Star Medal
Don Howser, of Minden, stood proudly as Sen. Lawrence Jacobsen pinned the Bronze Star Medal with Oak Leaf Cluster on his chest Thursday.
“On behalf of our president and our great country, I want to thank you for your service,” Jacobsen said.
It is the second Bronze Star Howser has received. He earned his first in 1953 for his leadership in the Korean War.
During one of the bloodiest times of the war, Howser and his platoon of 37 were under severe fire from the Chinese Red Army.
“I was responsible for my squad and before morning on that second day I had just four men left, myself included,” Howser said.
In addition to the Bronze Star, Howser also received the Combat Infantry Badge for 90 consecutive days under small arms fire the same year.
“Killing Chinese wouldn’t get you a Bronze Star, you had to go beyond your duty,” Howser said.
After receiving an honorable discharge from the Army in 1954, Howser worked as a representative for the United Aerospace Workers and as a planner for what is now Boeing Aerospace.
After retiring from these jobs Howser said he became active in veterans’ associations and sent the military a request to receive some lesser medals he had earned to complete the history of his action in Korea.
It was at this time Howser said it was discovered he had earned the second Bronze Star Medal.
“It’s almost a heart stopper,” Howser said teary-eyed.” Who would have thought 48 years later I would get another medal.”
Howser said he is not sure why he received the second medal, but thinks it’s because of having the infantry badge.
“The cluster is a much higher level than the first one,” Howser said.
Howser and his wife, Dixie, have been married for 47 years and were engaged when he left for Korea.
“This is the first time I’ve ever seen him nervous,” Dixie said.
The Howser’s daughter, Deborah Snow, said she has been bragging to everybody about her dad.
“We’re a very proud family,” she added.
“I didn’t go through what he went through, thank God, he deserves everything he got and more,” said Bill Schmidt, an officer in the VFW Howser belongs to, as well as a personal friend.
Howser said he personally chose Jacobsen to present the medal because of “his long seniority in the Valley and because he’s a veteran.”