Kenneth Howe was born on November 19, 1912, in Madison, Missouri. He enlisted in the U.S. Navy on March 20, 1942, and attended basic training at NTS Norfolk, Virginia, from April to June 1942. Petty Officer Howe next attended Landing Boat Training at Solomons, Maryland, from June to September 1942, followed by Amphibious Scout School at Little Creek, Virginia, from September to October 1942. His first assignment was with Amphibious Force, Atlantic Fleet, Naval Operating Base Norfolk, Virginia, where he served as commander of a scout boat during Operation Torch, the invasion of French North Africa in November 1942. During this action he was awarded the Navy Cross for his heroism on November 8 to 11, 1942. He was appointed an Ensign in the U.S. Navy on January 7, 1943, with his promotion dated November 15, 1942, and then reported to Amphibious Training Base Fort Pierce, Florida, in February 1943. His next assignment was with a Scout and Reconnaissance Unit, Amphibious Force, Atlantic Fleet, from February 1943 until he was reported as Missing in Action off the coast of Italy on December 30, 1943. Ensign Howe was kept in a status of Missing in Action until being administratively declared dead on July 23, 1945, although his remains were never recovered and details of his death were never determined. During this time he was promoted to Lieutenant, Junior Grade. Kenneth Howe has a cenotaph at Walnut Grove Cemetery in Paris, Missouri.
His Navy Cross Citation reads:
For extraordinary heroism while in charge of a scout boat from the Transport Ship U.S.S. LEONARD WOOD (APA 12) during the assault on and occupation of French Morocco from November 8 to 11, 1942. Preceding the assault on Fedala on November 8, HOWE skillfully maneuvered his craft in complete darkness from the transport area off the coast toward the landing beach designated for the assault battalion of his ship. Despite a dangerous rock reef at the end of the beach and enemy batteries menacing the shore, he located his position and by prescribed signals guided incoming boat waves of troops. Although under fire from hostile forces, HOWE gallantly maintained his station until his mission was accomplished, thereby contributing to the successful landing of our troops. His dauntless courage and fearless devotion to duty were in keeping with the highest traditions of the United States Naval Service.
His Silver Star Citation reads
For conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity as scout boat officer during the amphibious assault on the West Coast of Italy in September 1943. Courageously embarking in a small Kayak during complete darkness, Ensign Howe located a pre-arranged landing beach and landed in advance of the assault, maintaining his exposed position despite heavy enemy gunfire while he directed the attack forces to their proper landing point. Through his exceptional resourcefulness and heroic perseverance in the face of grave danger, he contributed materially to the success of the landing operations. His outstanding devotion to duty throughout this action and during the period of preparing equipment and training scout boat crews for the assault was in keeping with the highest traditions of the Naval service.