Byron P. Howlett

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Military person

Byron P. Howlett was an officer in the Vietnam War. As commander of the 498th Medical Company, 55th Medical Group, 44th Medical Brigade he was instrumental in the Medivac of wounded soldiers.

Early life

Byron was born on 1 July 1929 in Charleston, Missouri. His family moved to Monticello, Arkansas when he was three. He received a B.A. in Business Administration from the University of Arkansas at Monticello in 1951. and a Masters of Business Administration from Harvard Business School.


Howlett arrived in Korea in February 1954 several months after the end of the Korean War.[1] He served with the 52nd Medical Detachment (helicopter ambulance) near the Punchbowl area.[2]

Vietnam War

Battle of Dak To

Black and White photo of wounded men
U.S. wounded being moved to aid station during Battle of Dak To

The Battle of Đắk Tô was a series of major engagements of the Vietnam War that took place between November 3–22, 1967, in Kontum Province, in the Central Highlands of the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam). The action at Đắk Tô was one of a series of People's Army of Vietnam (PAVN) offensive initiatives that began during the second half of the year. North Vietnamese attacks at Lộc Ninh (in Bình Long Province), Song Be (in Phước Long Province), and at Con Thien and Khe Sanh, (in Quảng Trị Province), were other actions which, combined with Đắk Tô, became known as "the border battles."

On November 20, 1967 during the battle five Medivac helicopters had been shot down but, Lieutenant Colonel Byron P. Howlett, Jr., disregarding his own safety he piloted his helicopter in an effort to move out the wounded.[3] With Air Force cover provided by fighters and helicopter gun ships moved to the hilltop clearings to evacuate wounded. Under heavy enemy fire he was able to take on wounded but his helicopter was hit on the rotor head. Through great skill he was able to fly the damaged helicopter to the 173d's clearing station.[4]

Rescue of Dustoff 65

The Rescue of Dustoff 65 was a battle in April 1968, during the Vietnam War. A Medivac helicopter was preparing to evacuate wounded soldiers from the United States 101st Airborne Division when a rocket hit the tail rotor forcing the helicopter down into the jungle. A rescue team spent five days finding, retrieving and extracting the men from the crashed helicopter while fighting off communist forces.

When Lt. Col. Byron P. Howlett, Jr., the 498th's commander, heard of the crash he personally oversaw the extraction operation, including piloting the helicopter that finally extracted the men from the Dustoff 65 crew and the original wounded from the 101st Airborne Division.[5]


  1. "Interview with Byron P. Howlett, Jr., 2011", interview conducted by Dick Conners, University of Texas at San Antonio, Institute of Texan Cultures Oral History Collection, 11 February 2011.
  2. "46th Surgical Hospital Unit",, 18 February 2007.
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External links