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Col. Edward Howard

U.S. Army Colonel Edward B. Howard was born on September 13, 1925 in Washington, D.C. His father, Edward W. Howard, was an attorney; his mother, Edith B. Howard, an English teacher. Howard attended Grimke Elementary School and Garnet Patterson Jr. High School before graduating as valedictorian from Paul Laurence Dunbar Sr. High School in Washington, D.C. in 1943. He then attended Dartmouth College from 1943 to 1945 before being selected to attend the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. Howard went on to earn his B.S. degree in engineering from West Point in 1949 and his M.S. degree in electrical engineering from Purdue University in 1960.

Throughout his thirty years of service, Howard has significant experience with engineering investigations and technical analysis. Howard began his military career in 1949 as a company grade officer, and was then assigned as a signal company commander occupying Germany until 1962. During the Vietnam War he received domestic and international assignments. Howard served as a communications officer in the National Military Command Center at Pentagon and then as an installation commander and staff officer in Bangkok, Thailand where he managed a program to train Thai engineers and directed a fixed communications facility. In 1971, Howard became chief the Frequency Branch in the Office of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and in 1973, he was assigned to the board of the Inspector General of the U.S. Army.

Howard served as a signal corps officer from 1967 to 1979 and then became a senior engineer for Flight Systems, Inc. While there, he recommended the criteria for prioritizing the U.S. Navy Engineering Change Proposal (ECP) and developed the U.S. Navy standard briefing for subcontractor manufacturing. From 1983 to 1990, Howard received several senior-level military and civilian appointments, including being named a senior scientist at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), Naval Research Laboratory (NRL), and the Army Corps of Engineers. He also provided engineering support the RAIL Company to develop the Unmanned Air Vehicle and Tactical Air Launched Decoy production models. In 1970, he was hired by ORI, Inc., and served as the lead engineer to review the Electromagnetic Interference/Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMI/EMC) plans, specification and program documents.

Howard is a member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), the Dartmouth Outing Club, and Methodist Men. For serving in the U.S. Army during a time of war, Howard was honored with the World War II Victory Medal, the Korean Service Medal, and the Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal. His military decorations also include the Combat Infantry Badge, the Army Occupation Medal (Germany), the National Defense Medal with the 1st Oak Leaf Cluster, the Joint Service Commendation Medal, the Legion of Merit Medal, the Bronze Star Medal with the 1st Oak Leaf Cluster, the Office of the Secretary of Defense Identification Badge, and the Meritorious Service Medal.

Howard married the late Willrene M. White Howard on April 8, 1950. They have one daughter, Edith H. Bostic.

Edward B. Howard was interviewed by The HistoryMakers on May 23, 2013.

Accession Number

A2013.147

Sex

Male

Interview Date

5/23/2013

Last Name

Howard

Maker Category
Marital Status

Widower

Occupation
Schools

Grimke School

Shaw Middle School @ Garnet Patterson

Paul Laurence Dunbar High School

Dartmouth College

United States Military Academy

Purdue University

Search Occupation Category
First Name

Edward

Birth City, State, Country

Washington

HM ID

HOW05

Favorite Season

Holiday Season

State

District of Columbia

Favorite Vacation Destination

None

Favorite Quote

If it ain't broke, don't fix it.

Bio Photo
Speakers Bureau Region State

District of Columbia

Birth Date

9/13/1925

Birth Place Term
Speakers Bureau Region City

Washington

Country

United States

Favorite Food

None

Death Date

6/20/2017

Short Description

General Col. Edward Howard (1925 - 2017 ) is a graduate of the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Employment

ORI, Inc

Rail Company

Science and Technology Program

Flight Systems, Inc

United States Army

Favorite Color

Blue

Timing Pairs
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DAStories

Tape: 1 Story: 1 - Slating of Edward Howard's interview

Tape: 1 Story: 2 - Edward Howard lists his favorites

Tape: 1 Story: 3 - Edward Howard describes his mother's family background

Tape: 1 Story: 4 - Edward Howard talks about his mother's education and her becoming a teacher

Tape: 1 Story: 5 - Edward Howard talks about his father

Tape: 1 Story: 6 - Edward Howard talks about his parents' personalities

Tape: 1 Story: 7 - Edward Howard talks about his childhood household

Tape: 1 Story: 8 - Edward Howard talks about growing up in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 9 - Edward Howard describes the sights, sounds and smells of growing up in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 1 Story: 10 - Edward Howard talks about his childhood interest in the soapbox derby and tinkering with gadgets

Tape: 1 Story: 11 - Edward Howard talks about starting grade school at Grimke Elementary School

Tape: 2 Story: 1 - Edward Howard talks about his experience in elementary school in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 2 - Edward Howard talks about going to church as a child

Tape: 2 Story: 3 - Edward Howard talks about attending middle school in Washington, D.C.

Tape: 2 Story: 4 - Edward Howard describes his experience in high school in Washington, D.C., as a high school cadet

Tape: 2 Story: 5 - Edward Howard talks about his interest in becoming a medical doctor, and his joining the United States Military Academy, pt. 1

Tape: 2 Story: 6 - Edward Howard talks about his interest in becoming a medical doctor, and his joining the United States Military Academy, pt. 2

Tape: 2 Story: 7 - Edward Howard talks about boxing champion Joe Louis

Tape: 2 Story: 8 - Edward Howard describes his decision to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 2 Story: 9 - Edward Howard describes his initial experience at the United States Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 3 Story: 1 - Edward Howard describes his experience at Dartmouth College and at the United States Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 3 Story: 2 - Edward Howard describes his interest in photography and staying free of demerits at the United States Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 3 Story: 3 - Edward Howard talks about his experience at the United States Military Academy at West Point

Tape: 3 Story: 4 - Edward Howard talks about attending Ground General School at Fort Riley, Kansas, and the integration of the armed services in 1948

Tape: 3 Story: 5 - Edward Howard describes how he met his wife and they were married in 1950

Tape: 3 Story: 6 - Edward Howard describes his experience in the U.S. Army Signal Corp in Korea in the 1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 1 - Edward Howard describes his experience in the U.S. Army Signal Corps in Korea in the 1950s

Tape: 4 Story: 2 - Edward Howard talks about attending Purdue University to obtain his master's degree in electrical engineering

Tape: 4 Story: 3 - Edward Howard talks about serving on the Army Discharge Review Board

Tape: 4 Story: 4 - Edward Howard talks about his service in the U.S. Army and his retirement as a full colonel in 1979

Tape: 4 Story: 5 - Edward Howard talks about his medals and commendations in the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 6 - Edward Howard talks about attending West Point class luncheons

Tape: 4 Story: 7 - Edward Howard talks about his career as an electrical engineer after retiring from the U.S. Army

Tape: 4 Story: 8 - Edward Howard reflects upon his legacy

Tape: 4 Story: 9 - Edward Howard talks about his family

Tape: 4 Story: 10 - Edward Howard describes his hopes and concerns for the African American community

Tape: 4 Story: 11 - Edward Howard talks about how he would like to be remembered

Tape: 5 Story: 1 - Edward Howard describes his photographs

DASession

1$1

DATape

3$3

DAStory

2$6

DATitle
Edward Howard describes his interest in photography and staying free of demerits at the United States Military Academy at West Point
Edward Howard describes his experience in the U.S. Army Signal Corp in Korea in the 1950s
Transcript
What was your--did you have a favorite part of West Point [United States Military Academy], I mean something that really was great that you liked the most about West Point?$$Well, I don't know of anything that, considered a favorite. I, I know I started a series of photographs. Photography was one of my hobbies, so I would put--each week, essentially, I would have a new picture on the bulletin board. And sometimes, I would have them indicate something and ask for a suggested title. I know that I borrowed a Great Dane from one of the faculty members. And I had a fellow who had his full dress uniform show, have that on his arm. We had the dog, he was holding a roll in his hand, and I used that as the barker (unclear) rule in the "Tales of Hoffman." So his name was Hoffman, and that was how, I mean I would ask, put these--as I say, put these pictures on the board, usually on a weekly basis, some significant event or something humorous or whatever you wanna call it.$$Okay, did people like your photos for the most part?$$Oh, I think so, yes.$$Okay, all right, so--okay, what was the worst time at West Point? Was there a time when you thought you weren't gonna make or a time that you thought that you were gonna get in trouble or did get in trouble or--$$It doesn't ring a bell.$$So you never experienced any real, you know, down times or--$$No.$$Okay, and what would you think would be your great triumph at West Point?$$Greatest?$$Triumph.$$Triumph?$$Yeah.$$I guess I stayed essentially demerit free. I didn't get into any problems of demerits or academic problems or anything so that, I could sweat easily. And when you're showing signs of putting out, as they called it, I would give the impression that I was putting out. So by perspiring under pressure, I just managed to survive, so to speak.$$I don't understand that, now, kind of explain that again for us?$$Well, as I say, you wanted, when you're a plebe, your first year, you wanna show that you're absorbing what they want you to get. So by showing that I would, when I would perspire and give--it made it look as if I was really trying to do the right thing. And it lessened any severe treatment that I would get not putting out.$$Okay, so--$$So--$$Go ahead.$$Well, as I say that's, that was showing that you were taking everything that they're giving you. I could show that I was trying to do what I was told to do. So I didn't have any academic, any demerit problems or anything like that from not trying to follow instructions.$$Okay, so if they gave you an instruction, and you were--and if you didn't show that you were sweating, they would, it would indicate that you weren't trying hard enough.$$Um-hum, yeah.$$But you could sweat easier--$$Yes, so--$$So (laughter), it always looked like you were trying.$$(Laughter) Yeah.$$Now, this is a, I guess would be a racial kind of characteristic that--I think African Americans actually sweat easier than white people.$$Oh.$$And I, you know, I'm not a scientist but life has indicated to me that that's true, pretty much. I used to go to band camp, and they used to pass out salt pills to all the white people 'cause they would pass out on the field, 'cause they couldn't--they didn't sweat like me. But I sweated a lot. I never needed it.$$(Laughter).$$But the, it's--so this is something that you can do (laughter) that kept you out of big trouble?$$Yes, I think so.$$'Cause it always looked like you were trying much harder--$$Yeah.$$--because you sweated easier.$$Um-hum.$$But you were trying, though, right?$$Oh, yes.$$Anyway, so, okay. That's interesting, that's interesting.$And I have here--I don't know what comes next exactly, but what I have here is that you were assigned to Camp Cooke in California, is that right?$$(OFF-CAMERA VOICE): Assigned to Fort Monmouth, then he went to--$$Oh, okay, he's goes--okay, you go to Korea first, right?$$(No audible response).$$No, okay. What was the first?$$(OFF-CAMERA VOICE): I think he was assigned to Fort Monmouth and from Fort Monmouth, he was sent to Korea 'cause he went to Korea within six months of his marriage.$$All right, so.$$(OFF-CAMERA VOICE): He goes to Korea in '50 [1950], '51 [1951].$$Yeah, so I'm hearing that you went to Fort Monmouth [New Jersey] and then to Korea, right?$$Yes.$$Is that true?$$Yes.$$Okay, and you're--now, you were in the Signal Corp--$$Signal Corp, um-hum.$$--in Korea. What were your duties as a Signal Corpsman in Korea?$$We, I had the communications element of the division. The division's Signal officer was a Lieutenant Colonel, and I had the wire platoon, wire communications in those days. We did a lot of field wire installations and that sort of thing. We, that is cable to various units we supported, and I recall the unfortunate incident where the division Signal officer was traveling with some of my people, and we had these two and a half ton trucks with wire cable. The trouble, the problems were with mines mostly, whereby a mine was struck by one of the vehicles that I had and the Signal officer was traveling with some people in a jeep. I was in another jeep, and this cable, two and a half ton truck, hit a mine which didn't do too much damage, but the jeep where the Signal officer was, was--when they heard this other instance, when he heard the trouble, he backed up, and he backed over a mine. And that took out the Signal officer and one of my drivers, I believe, was with him and everything. So that they lost their lives in that incident--$$Okay.$$--which was a bit unnerving, so to speak.$$Yes, sir.