Special Collections of the ODU Libraries

Howard Bertram Aison Papers, 1942-1963 | Special Collections and University Archives

By Jay Gaidmore

Collection Overview

Title: Howard Bertram Aison Papers, 1942-1963

ID: 00/MG 61

Primary Creator: Aison, Howard B. (Howard Bertram) (1920-1997)

Extent: 3.2 Linear Feet. More info below.


The collection is arranged into the following series: I. Correspondence; II. Military Records; III. Student Papers; IV. Printed Material; V. Maps; VI. Photographs; VII. Oversized materials.

Series I. Correspondence - Contains letters, dated from August 1951 to September 1953, that Aison sent his wife. Documents his experiences training at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri (August - December 1951) and Camp Gordon, Georgia (January 1952), and his service in Korea (March 1952 - September 1953). Discusses a variety of topics including training and drilling, army food, the weather, a soldier's social life, weaponry, military equipment and clothing, living quarters, the slowness of the mail, an assessment of the military situation in Korea in 1952, Korea's geography and climate, life at the front, the differences between what American soldiers collected as souvenirs to that of other United Nations' forces, French and British fighting forces, the bombing of enemy lines, bunker construction, interaction with soldiers from the Republic of Korea, supply problems, dealing with guerillas, the black market, Korean National Policemen, characteristics of the fighting in Korea, R & R in Japan, "The Friendship Home," Korean orphans, peace talks, South Korea's attitude toward the peace talks, demonstrations against peace talks, Sygman Rhee, troop entertainment by Mickey Rooney, Frances Langford, and Jon Hall, dealing with rodents and scavenging animals including a tiger, and Chinese propaganda. Several letters deserve special note. A letter dated April 2, 1952 includes surrender leaflets fired into enemy lines. A letter dated July 6, 1952 recounts the patrol for which he was awarded a bronze star including citation, map of patrol, and interrogation of prisoners. A letter dated March 22, 1953 discusses the exploits of Courtney Mansfield, an African-American soldier.

Series II. Military Records - This series is divided into four subseries: A. World War II; B. Korea; C. Vietnam; D. Training.

Sub-series A. World War II - Includes an induction notice, promotion certificates, orders, customs declarations for war trophies, a diary, and recollections. The diary records his service during the war for the year 1945. The recollections detail Aison's service in Anzio, Italy and Southern France. Other material of note are instructions for the treatment of the enemy, instructions for the conduct of U.S. troops in North Africa, and a history of the 77th Ordnance Depot Company.

Sub-series B. Korea - Includes orders, training bulletins, commendations, recommendations for bravery and promotions, and standard operating procedures for Civil Affairs. Of note are the training bulletins relating to patrol actions, the combat leaders guide, and general orders for sentinels, and an ID card and pass issued to Korean civilians.

Sub-series C. Vietnam - Includes orders issued in 1962, and a certificate for the Bronze Star.

Sub-series D. Training - Includes training material collected from various training schools such as: The U.S. Army Infantry School at Fort Benning, Georgia, and Manpower Control Officers Course at Fort Benjamin Harrison, Indiana. Noteworthy is the syllabi, course descriptions, and training manuals from the U.S. Army Special Warfare School.

Sub-series E. General Records - Promotions, 1948-1961.

Series III. Student Papers - Includes essays and notes relating to courses in international law, and exporting. Of interest are notes pertaining to hypnotism, and a list of the Dewey Decimal System.

Series IV. Printed Material - Includes issues from Democracy Versus Communism Series, and the Foreign Service Log, military unit histories and yearbooks. Of note is a collection of language guides, and pocket guides of Germany, Italy, and Russia.

Series V. Maps - Contains maps and overlays of regions and countries throughout the world. Appear to be used for military strategic studies purposes for Division Operations, U.S. Army Command and General Staff College (Ft. Leavenworth)

Series VI. Photographs - Documents Aison's service in the military, primarily during World War II and Vietnam. Many of the photographs from World War II are labeled. Of note are two scrapbooks containing photographs of his service in Vietnam. Also of interest are postcards of Paris and Constantine, Algeria, and five panorama photos. Two of these panoramas are from his father's service in the military: Camp Grant, Officers 161st Depot Brigade, November 20, 1917; and Provisional Medical Regiment, U.S. Army Fort Snelling, Minnesota, July 1924. The others are: Georgetown University, 143rd Annual Commencement, May 25, 1942; 77th Ordnance Depot Co., "1st Anniversary Overseas," Caserto, Italy, November 1943; Assoc. Inf. Co. Officers Course No. 2, 24th Co., 1st Stu. Regt., March 26, 1954 - November 18, 1954, Fort Benning, Georgia.

Series VII. Oversized Materials - Includes promotional posters for bullfighting events in Spain dated 1919, 1947, and 1958, a color sketch of a young boy, certificates and diplomas for military training, certificates and diplomas from Bryn Mawr School and Hirsch High School in Chicago, and Georgetown University, and a certificate of confirmation dated 1935.

Date Acquired: 06/22/1999

Subjects: Aison, Howard B. (Howard Bertram), 1920-1997, Korean War, 1950-1953, Korean War, 1950-1953--Veterans, United States. Army, Vietnam War, 1961-1975, Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Veterans, World War, 1939-1945, World War, 1939-1945--Veterans

Languages: English


Aison was a career Army officer who served in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. This collection primarily relates to his service in these wars. Includes correspondence, photographs, citations, orders, diaries and recollections, unit histories, artifacts, and maps.

Scope and Contents of the Materials

The Papers of Howard B. Aison, dating from 1942 to 1963, contains correspondence, photographs, military training manuals, orders, diaries, recollections, unit histories, commendations, printed material, artifacts, and maps. The bulk of the collection documents his service in the United States Army and his participation in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. Also, includes papers accumulated during his years as a student at Georgetown University.

Collection Historical Note

Howard Bertram Aison was born in Chicago, Illinois on June 7, 1920. He served almost his entire life in the United States Army, serving in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam. He attended Georgetown University, graduating in 1942 with a Bachelor of Science in Foreign Service. He also participated in ROTC. On June 4, 1942, Aison was drafted into the United States Army. Although he had taken ROTC courses in college he chose to remain an enlisted man, feeling that he was not prepared to be an officer. He served in the 77th Ordnance Depot Company taking part in the Allied campaigns in North Africa, Italy, Southern France, and Germany.

After the war, Aison returned to civilian life, married, and began working as a salesman. He did not enjoy civilian life, however, and chose to reenlist in the Army, this time as an officer. He was commissioned a second Lieutenant in the Ordnance Department on August 6, 1948. On March 7, 1951, he was promoted to first Lieutenant in the Infantry and, a year later, was ordered to Korea. Aison was first assigned as a United Nations liaison officer with the 2nd Infantry Division, 8th Army. He was responsible for acting as the liaison between the U.S. Division and the United Nations' units serving with it. He then became a platoon leader in a weapons platoon, and then a rifle platoon. On July 6, 1952, he was awarded a Bronze star for actions during a patrol. He was transferred to Civil Assistance in the 2nd Division, where he took an active role in the formation of the "Friendship Home," an orphanage for Korean children. On July 31, 1953 he was promoted to Captain and returned home from Korea in September.

From March 1962 to March 1963, Aison served as senior advisor to the 6th Regiment, 2nd Infantry Division, I Corps, Army of the Republic of Vietnam. On October 21, 1963, he was awarded a Bronze star with first Oak Leaf cluster for "meritorious duty against hostile forces." He retired from the United States Army in 1969 as a Lieutenant Colonel. He resided in Virginia Beach where he worked in imports and exports and invested in real estate. In 1974, he separated from his wife, but never divorced. On August 28, 1997, Lt. Colonel Howard Bertram Aison (ret.) died in Virginia Beach.

Subject/Index Terms

Aison, Howard B. (Howard Bertram), 1920-1997
Korean War, 1950-1953
Korean War, 1950-1953--Veterans
United States. Army
Vietnam War, 1961-1975
Vietnam War, 1961-1975--Veterans
World War, 1939-1945
World War, 1939-1945--Veterans

Administrative Information

Repository: Special Collections and University Archives

Alternate Extent Statement: 8 Hollinger document cases and 2 oversize boxes

Access Restrictions: Open to researchers without restriction.

Use Restrictions: Before publishing quotations or excerpts from any materials, permission must be obtained from Special Collections and University Archives, and the holder of the copyright, if not Old Dominion University Libraries.

Acquisition Source: Gerald P. Gaidmore

Acquisition Method: Gift. Accession #A98-5

Preferred Citation: [Identification of item], Box [insert number], Folder [insert number and title], Lt. Colonel Howard Bertram Aison Papers, Special Collections and University Archives, Patricia W. and J. Douglas Perry Library, Old Dominion University Libraries, Norfolk, VA 23529.

Box and Folder Listing

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Correspondence],
[Series II: Military Records],
[Series III: Student Papers],
[Series IV: Printed Material],
[Series V: Maps and Overlays],
[Series VI: Photographs],
[Series VII: Oversized Materials],

Series VI: Photographs
Box 8
Folder 1: World War II (numbered with index)
Folder 2: World War II (labeled)
Folder 3: World War II (labeled)
Folder 4: World War II (unlabeled)
Folder 5: Vietnam (I)
Folder 6: Vietnam (II)
Folder 7: Military
Folder 8: Holiday Greetings
Folder 9: Postcards - Constantine, Algeria
Folder 10: Prints - Paris (labeled), undated
Folder 11: Prints - Miscellaneous
Folder 12: Negatives
Oversize Box 9
Item 1: Panorama Photographs
Oversize Box 10
Item 1: Photo Album - Vietnam, circa 1962-1963
Includes photographs of landscapes, local Vietnamese citizens, and images of casualties of Vietnam conflict.
Box 11
Item 1: Vietnam War Photo Album, Part I, circa 1962-1964
Photo album featuring daily life of American soldiers in Vietnam, training Vietnamese soldiers, landscapes of Vietnam, military demonstrations, and other images of Vietnamese culture.
Item 2: Vietnam War Photo Album, Part II, circa 1962-1964
Photo album featuring daily life of American soldiers in Vietnam, training Vietnamese soldiers, landscapes of Vietnam, military demonstrations, and other images of Vietnamese culture.
Box 12

Browse by Series:

[Series I: Correspondence],
[Series II: Military Records],
[Series III: Student Papers],
[Series IV: Printed Material],
[Series V: Maps and Overlays],
[Series VI: Photographs],
[Series VII: Oversized Materials],

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