Written by Greg Bennett Friday, 15 January 2010 00:00
Hicksville Legionnaires paused to remember retired U.S. Army Special Forces Green Beret Colonel Robert L. Howard who passed away Dec. 23, 2009 from cancer at a hospice in Waco, TX. Colonel Howard was the most decorated soldier of the Vietnam War. He served 36 years active duty with five Vietnam tours, including 54 months in combat mostly on secret missions inside Laos, Cambodia and North Vietnam. Howard was nominated three times for the Medal of Honor for three separate combat incidents in 13 months and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor by President Richard Nixon during a ceremony at the White House in 1971.
Additionally, Howard was awarded a Purple Heart eight times and the Distinguished Service Cross twice along with several Silver and Bronze Stars. In 1986, Howard testified before the Senate that he believed over 100 Americans still to be in captivity in Southeast Asia. Recently, he visited United States troops serving in Afghanistan, Iraq and Europe.
Students from Hicksville and the post were very active at this year’s Nassau County American Legion Oratorical Contest. The finals to select a first and second place winner were held Jan. 9 at the Glenwood Landing American Legion Post. Six student finalists from Nassau County spoke about citizenship, the United States Constitution, the Bill of Rights and freedom of speech. Each was a very poised public speaker who researched their subject well and practiced their presentations for many hours.
This year’s first place winner was Necha Sharma of Hicksville High School. The second place winner was Ronald Taylor of Holy Trinity High School. Both represented Post 421 and will advance to the next level of competition. Also among the six finalists and representing the post was Paola Mayorga of Holy Trinity High School.
Past County Commander William Harms served as chairman of this year’s contest and among the Post 421 members who attended were Richard Hochbrueckner, PCC, Auxiliary Secretary Cynthia Hochbruecker and Greg Bennett were among those who attended. Post 421 Commander Charles Rockwood is very proud that three of the six student finalists represented Hicksville schools.
The New York Sons of the American Legion’s Americanism Essay contest is open to all New York State students in first through fourth grade. A winner will be selected for each grade level and each winner will receive a $100 U.S. savings bond and a $50 pizza party for their classroom. The deadline for entries is Saturday, May 1. Winning entries will be selected and the author notified prior to the end of the school year. For information and entry rules visit www.sonsdny.org and click on the “2010 Essay Contest” link.
The American Legion supports a full accounting for those Americans unaccounted for from all of this country’s wars. Charles Wagner Post 421 meets the first and third Monday of the month at Hicksville’s William M. Gouse, Jr. VFW, located on Broadway, at 8 p.m. All eligible veterans are invited to join. Donations are needed to assist hospitalized veterans and military members. Donations can be sent to Charles Wagner Post 421, P.O. Box 925, Hicksville, NY 11802.