Retired Brig. Gen. James H. Howard, 81, the only fighter pilot in the European theater of World War II to receive the Medal of Honor. In 1944, as Allied bombers flew over Germany, Howard single-handedly took on 30 Nazi aircraft that hampered the bombing mission. He destroyed at least four enemy airplanes and damaged others before he was forced to return to England. The Medal of Honor is the nation's highest military award. Toward the end of the war, Howard became commander of the Pinellas Army Air Field, which is now St. Petersburg-Clearwater International Airport in Florida. Fighter pilots went there for gunnery and dive-bombing training. Howard later operated a systems engineering business in Washington. Born in Canton, China, where his father was a missionary, he spent his teen-age years in St. Louis and later graduated from Pomona College. Before going to Europe, Howard flew with the Flying Tigers in China. On March 18 in Belleair Bluffs, Fla.