Howard died Wednesday of pancreatic cancer at a hospice in Waco, Texas, said his son-in-law, Frank Gentsch.
"He was a soldier's soldier," Gentsch said. "He loved his family, especially his grandchildren, but he was very much his whole career about taking care of soldiers."
Howard, who was wounded 14 times in Vietnam and awarded eight Purple Hearts, was nominated three times for the Medal of Honor, the most prestigious award for U.S. combat veterans. He also was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Silver Star.
Howard received the Medal of Honor in 1971 for his bravery in Vietnam during a 1968 mission to rescue a missing soldier in enemy territory. Howard, then a sergeant first class, dragged his wounded platoon leader to safety despite his own injuries. According to the citation, Howard, "although unable to walk . . . crawled through a hail of fire to retrieve his wounded leader."