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George P. Howell Jr. 1923

Cullum No. 7135-1923 | 6/10/1979 | Died in Charleston, SC
Interred in St. Johns Episcopal Churchyard, Congaree, SC

 


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<em>George Pierce Howell </em>was born on 5 November 1901 in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Colonel George P. Howell and Louise Knight Howell. His father was a United States Military Academy graduate, Class of 1893, and his maternal grandfather, General John Knight, was also a United States Military Academy graduate, Class of 1868.</div>
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His uncle was Colonel William A. Ladue, Class of 1894. Both his father and uncle stood first in their classes and both were commissioned in the Corps of Engineers, which in those days were the cream of the officers corps.</div>
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As a result of this heritage, great things were expected of George in the academic and military field by his family, and as his accomplishments will testify to, he lived up to these expectations.</div>
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As a boy George was fortunate to grow up in Charleston, South Carolina, where his father was District Engineer for thirteen years. He attended the Gaud School for boys and he graduated from Porter Military Academy in 1918 prior to entering West Point.</div>
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There are still many of Charleston&rsquo;s older, most attractive matrons who grew up with George and remember with affection the lifelong charm he had for them.</div>
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George was appointed to West Point from the District of Columbia and entered in June 1919. He was assigned to &ldquo;E&rdquo; Co. and his roommate for the entire four years was Laurence E. Craigie. General Craigie writes that George had a way of charming their Tactical Officer, Captain Ryder.</div>
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After Plebe year, George attended the hops at Cullum Hall and always had four or five admirers on the string. He was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Infantry and his first station was Fort Sam Houston, Texas, with the 23d Infantry, 2d Division. There were about seventy classmates in the area including the flying fields, and it was a choice assignment. Wedding bells were often ringing for the various classmates and George enjoyed that assignment very much.</div>
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In the summer of 1926 George was ordered to the Philippines and assigned to the 31st Infantry in Manila. It was while stationed in Manila that George met and married Felicia North Chisolm of Columbia, South Carolina, on 2 November 1927. She was also an Army daughter, her father being Lieutenant Colonel Edward N. Chisolm, an Engineer Officer. This was a very happy marriage that lasted over fifty years. Felicia predeceased George by about two years.</div>
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Returning from the Philippines in April 1928 George was assigned to the 31st Infantry at Fort Eustis, Virginia, and then assigned along with several other classmates to attend the Company Officers Course at Fort Benning, GA, in 1930. Upon graduation in June 1931 he was assigned to the 29th Infantry, Fort Benning, Georgia, and appointed personnel adjutant of the 29th Infantry. This was another choice assignment.</div>
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George was the first classmate to recognize the importance of the future of airborne troops. He entered airborne training in 1940 and became executive officer of the 501st Airborne Battalion at Fort Benning under Bud Miley, United States Military Academy, Class of 1919. He served as commandant of the Parachute School from May 1942 to June 1943 and was the first member of the class to become a brigadier general on 8 August 1942.</div>
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He went overseas with the 82d Airborne Division as the commanding general of the 2d Airborne Infantry Brigade in July 1943 and continued to serve in that capacity until September 1944.</div>
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George received a severe injury to his ankle which precluded his jumping with his unit. He was put in command of all the seaborne elements of the 82d and landed on the beach in Normandy on &ldquo;D&rdquo; Day. He was awarded the Bronze Star Medal. His citation reads in part as follows: &ldquo;He fulfilled this assignment with consummate skill, force and tact. His excellent management, superior leadership and clear thinking initiative effected the accomplishment of this task in the most exemplary manner.&rdquo;</div>
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In September 1944 the Supreme Allied Commander decided he needed an airborne officer of the highest qualifications at the Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force, planning future airborne operations.</div>
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George was a natural choice to deal with the British due to his knowledge, charm and courtly manner, and while he hated to give up his command there was no choice.</div>
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In his new job he was thrown in contact with presidents, kings and prime ministers in addition to all the top British generals, who were greatly impressed by his manners and charm.</div>
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He was awarded the Legion of Merit for &ldquo;exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services, European Theater of Operations, 15 September 19447 May 1945.&rdquo;</div>
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The Royal Netherlands Government honored George by awarding him the Order of Orange-Nassau, rank of Commander with Swords for his service as Deputy Head of Supreme Headquarters Allied Expeditionary Forces on 14 September 1944 to 7 May 1945 in aiding the Netherlands. He was also decorated by the British Government and was made an Honorary Member of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire and presented a Medal and Ribbon for his service to the Emperor.</div>
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In June 1945 George was taken ill and returned to the States for sick leave and terminal leave. He retired 31 December 1945 with a 100% physical disability.</div>
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Felicia and George settled in Columbia, South Carolina, and were active in civic and social affairs of the city in spite of George&rsquo;s many illnesses and operations.</div>
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They celebrated their fiftieth wedding anniversary in November 1977. It was a long and happy marriage. Felicia died shortly thereafter.</div>
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George&rsquo;s illness did not permit him to remain long in Columbia by himself. His oldest daughter, Felicia Morrison, the wife of a prominent Charleston attorney, William McG. Morrison Jr., brought George back to live with her family. A comfortable apartment was arranged for George in her home with its own separate entrance.</div>
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Felicia gave George the best and most loving care. She hired nurses around the clock to he with him as he was so much more comfortable at home than at the hospital.</div>
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He died at home on 10 June 1979 and was buried in the churchyard at St. Johns Episcopal Church, Congaree, South Carolina, with full military honors.</div>
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George never lived long enough to see his oldest grandson and namesake, W. Howell Morrison, admitted to the Bar and be appointed as Assistant Federal District Attorney with offices in the federal courthouse here in Charleston. His second oldest grandson is a commissioned officer in the United States Navy. His third grandson is a student at medical college.</div>
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He is survived also by his youngest daughter, Ann Louise Malz, of Atlanta, George, and four granddaughters.</div>
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George is remembered with great love and affection by all who knew him. He will be sorely missed.</div>
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<em>&mdash;William Lucas &rsquo;23</em></div>

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