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Congressman Duncan Leads SC House Delegation to Honor the Major of St. Lo

Tragically, Major Howie was killed in action one day before the town's liberation. However, his bravery and leadership did not fade with him


Washington, D.C. — To commemorate and honor the bravery and exemplary service of Major Thomas D. Howie, Abbeville native and inspiration for Tom Hanks’ role inSaving Private Ryan, Congressman Jeff Duncan led the entire South Carolina House of Representatives delegation in introducing legislation to posthumously award Major Howie the Congressional Gold Medal.

A native of Abbeville, South Carolina, Major Howie is known as the "Major of St. Lo" for his heroism during the Battle of Normandy in June 1944. Armed with nothing more than hand grenades and bayonets, Howie led his battalion through heavily fortified German lines outside of the strategically important town of St. Lo, France to relieve another battalion that had been encircled on the outskirts.

Having saved his fellow soldiers, Howie was soon presented with a new challenge—capturing the town itself. Major Howie displayed remarkable resolve as he reassured his superior, Major General Charles Gerhardt, with a simple yet powerful "See you in St. Lo." This unwavering determination became a rallying cry that inspired his men throughout the battle.

Tragically, Major Howie was killed in action one day before the town's liberation. However, his bravery and leadership did not fade with him. In a powerful display of respect, his unit carried his flag-draped body into St. Lo, placing it atop the ruins of the Church of Saint Croix. His actions further served as inspiration for the character of Captain John Miller, portrayed by Tom Hanks, in the film Saving Private Ryan.

“With the best-of-the-best fighting to stop the Axis of Evil in World War II, countless examples of American heroism and exceptionalism went unrecognized, said Congressman Jeff Duncan. “Major Thomas. D. Howie defied the odds and disregarded his own safety to protect his fellow troops and free France from the grip of the Nazis.”

“The Third District of South Carolina is home to countless heroes, and I’m honored to tell Major Howie’s story. I urge my colleagues to join me in honoring Major Thomas D. Howie, an American hero, with a Congressional Gold Medal."

SC Delegation Quotes:

Rep. James Clyburn — “I’m proud to support this effort to award Major Thomas D. Howie with the Congressional Gold Medal. As we mark the 80th Anniversary of D-Day this week, may we remember his heroism and bestow upon him this honor not only as a testament to his enduring legacy, but also the debt of gratitude that we owe our nation’s best.”

Rep. Russell Fry — “On the 80th anniversary of D-Day, I’m proud to join Congressman Duncan in honoring a South Carolina hero who played a huge role in securing victory in the Battle of Normandy. Our country is forever grateful for Major Thomas D. Howie’s bravery and sacrifice to defend our nation, protect our freedom, and help change the course of World War II and our world’s history.”

Rep. William Timmons — “Major Thomas D. Howie epitomized the valor and leadership of the United States Army during one of the most pivotal moments in history. Though the years may pass, his legacy endures—a shining example of bravery, honor, and sacrifice for generations to come. I am proud to join my colleagues in introducing this legislation to posthumously award Major Howie with the Congressional Gold Medal.”

Rep. Joe Wilson — “Major Howie’s brave, ‘can-do’ attitude remains an inspiration to us all. He gave his life in the fight against tyranny so that freedom would again be restored. I’m grateful for his service.”

Rep. Nancy Mace — “Major Howie's story, immortalized in both history and the film 'Saving Private Ryan,' will continue to inspire and remind us of the immense cost of our liberties. We are wholeheartedly supporting this legislation to pay tribute to a true American hero.”

Rep. Ralph Norman — “I am proud to sign onto this resolution to award Major Thomas D. Howie for his heroism, bravery, and outstanding service to our country. The leadership and courage he displayed during the Battle of Normandy are qualities that should be commemorated and honored forever.”