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Patricia W. & J. Douglas Perry Library
The Papers of Howard B. Aison
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.
SCOPE AND CONTENTS
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.
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; VIII. Artifacts.
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.
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.
Donated by Gerald P. Gaidmore, August 1998.
Open to researchers without restrictions. Questions on literary property rights should be directed to the Special Collections Librarian.
4 linear feet; 8 document cases and 2 oversize boxes
Series I. Correspondence
Folder 1: Fort Leonard Wood, Aug. 1951
Folder 1: Korea, Feb. 1953
Series II: Military Records
Sub-Series A: World War II
Folder 9: Timeline and Notes of Service, 1942-1945
Sub-Series B: Korea
Folder 20: Orders, 1951-53
Sub-Series C: Vietnam
Folder 31: Award of Bronze Star Medal
Sub-Series D: Training
Folder 33: U.S. Army Infantry School - Ft. Benning (Georgia)
Folder 1: Manpower Control Officers Course, 1961 (IV)
Folder 1: Certificates of Completion
Subseries E. General Records
Folder 2: Promotions, 1948-1961
Series III. Student Papers
Folder 3: Georgetown University - School of Foreign Service - International Law
Series IV: Printed Material
Folder 12: Democracy Faces Communism Series No. 1-10
Folder 1: "Second to None" A Short History of Second Infantry Division, 1918-1952
Series V. Maps
Folder 1: Alaska - Maps and Overlays
Folder 1: Puerto Rico (Ponce) - Maps and Overlays
Series VI. Photographs
Folder 1: World War II (numbered with index)
Box 9 (oversize)
Scrapbooks - Vietnam
Series VII. Oversized Materials
Certificates, Diplomas, Posters