Here's the thing that I see, and I'm no 'apologist' of his.
People learn by making mistakes. I know I've made several, and I try to learn from every one.
Maybe he didn't do things perfectly, but things can go south when you're trying to figure out who to shoot.
I can also see the concept of him being self-critical, admitting to himself that he needed to do things better in the future, and pursuing a course of learning and self-improvement to achieve that.
Which makes him an instructor.
Nobody learns from the people that didn't make it out of the gunfight. The people that make it out of the gunfight in one piece - often times by luck - have a belief that since they made it through the fire their actions were golden. Not necessarily the case.
The guy that lives through it knowing that luck played a major role, he's more likely to improve.
One of my favorite instructors was the 7th most prolific snipers in American history until the war in the sandbox got rolling hard. He'd say "don't do that the way you're doing it". OK. For me to learn though, I (this is just me) need to make sense of WHY I'm doing what I am, so I ask "why is this wrong?" and he'd say "because that'll get you killed".
OK, good enough.
Is Yaeger a coward? I don't see that personally.
And I won't "armchair quarterback" how someone dealt with the situation, as long as the failures weren't blatant. Do what you can, with what you have, and drive on.