Herbert R. Howell (1965/03/21)
Santa Cruz County's first war casualty of the Vietnam War period was not from Santa Cruz County, was not a war casualty, nor did his death occur in Vietnam, yet Watsonville designated him as one of its own. On March 23, 1965, the Watsonville Register-Pajaronian declared "Watsonville Youth Drowns in Germany."
Herbert R. Howell, one of the ten children of Mr. and Mrs. Lon W. Howell, was born in Clovis, New Mexico, July 2, 1946. Later the Howell family, that would grow to include seven boys and three girls, moved to the Pajaro Valley. Herbert was raised in a rural residence on Strawberry Canyon Road located between Watsonville and Moss Landing, California. While Watsonville was his urban center, his education took place at Elkhorn Elementary School and Salinas High School in Monterey County.
With his parent's permission Herbert left high school in the early part of 1963 at age seventeen to enlist in the US Army. After Private Howell completed his basic and advanced individual training in November, he was assigned to Company D of the 703rd Maintenance Battalion of the 7th Army in Europe. While serving at an undefined unit and location in Germany, Private Herbert R Howell was accidentally drowned in the Main River on March 21, 1965.
His body was returned to California and following a funeral service in Pacific Grove on April 1, 1965, was buried with full military honors in the Mission Memorial Park in Seaside California.
(WRP March 23, 1965, WRP March 30, 1965 2:3)