Hamilton H. Howze

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Hamilton H. Howze
Hamilton Howze.jpg
Lt. General Hamilton H. Howze 2 April 1962
Born(1908-12-21)December 21, 1908
West Point, New York
DiedDecember 8, 1998(1998-12-08) (aged 89)
Place of burial
AllegianceUnited States of America
Service/branch United States Army United States Army seal
Years of service1930-1965
RankUS-O10 insignia.svg General
Commands held82d Airborne Division
XVIII Airborne Corps
Third Army
Eighth Army
Battles/warsWorld War II
AwardsDistinguished Service Medal
Silver Star
Legion of Merit
Bronze Star
RelationsMajor General Robert Lee Howze (father)
Major General Robert Lee Howze Jr. (Brother)

Hamilton Hawkins Howze (December 21, 1908 – December 8, 1998) was born in West Point, New York, while his father, Major General Robert Lee Howze, an 1888 West Point graduate, was serving as Commandant of West Point. He was a developer and advocate of helicopter-borne air mobility warfare.

Early career[edit]

Howze attended West Point, graduating in the Class of 1930. He was commissioned into the 6th Cavalry.[1]

In WWII he served as the commanders of: 2nd Battalion, 13th Armor Regiment (1943); 13th Armor Regiment (1943–44); 1st Armored Division, Italy (1944–45). After the war Howze served as the G-3 of the 1st Armored Division in 1946. Three years later he attended the National War College, which was followed by an assignment in the office of the G-2 from 1949 to 1952. After promotion to Brigadier General in 1952 he became Assistant Commanding General, 2nd Armored Division, European Command, until 1954.[1]

Air Mobile[edit]

Howze is recognized as the intellectual force behind the concept of air-mobility and current US Army Aviation doctrine. While serving as the first Director of Army Aviation, Department of the Army, from 1955 to 1958, he developed new tactical principles for the employment of Army Aviation, and was instrumental in helping the Aviation Center and School become fully established in its new home at Fort Rucker, Alabama. He then became Commanding General of the 82d Airborne Division.[1]

In 1961, as Chairman of the Tactical Mobility Requirements Board, Howze led the development in airmobile theory and doctrine. The Army's adoption of the recommendations in the Howze Board changed mobile warfare. Its revolutionary concepts - based on the use of aviation - changed military attitudes in a similar manner to the way the tank affected ideas on mobility 50 years earlier.[1] Two years later the 11th Air Assault Division was formed to test and validate these concepts. As a result of Howze's leadership, foresight and perception, two air-mobile divisions were eventually established. These divisions, which still adhere to the fundamentals of Howze's air-mobility doctrine, have gone on to provide mobile and combined arms capabilities that are required in today's ground combat conditions.[1]

Howze is credited with starting the convention of naming US Army helicopter types after Native American tribes, because he found the names suggested by the manufacturers too insipid. The Bell H-13, which had already been in service for some years, was renamed "Sioux" at his suggestion and the tradition continues to the present day.[2]

Final commands[edit]

LTG Howze served as the commander of the XVIII Airborne Corps from 1961–1962 and briefly acting Commanding General, Third Army from 1962 - 1963. In October 1962 he assumed command of the armed forces deployed to support the enrolment of James Meredith at the segregated University of Mississippi.[3]

His last assignment was as Commanding General, Eighth Army, Commander-in-Chief of U.S. Forces in Korea, a four-star United Nations command position involving U.S. and R.O.K. troops, from 1963 to 1965.[1] General Howze retired from active duty in 1965 to Fort Worth, Texas.[1]


Howze remained active after leaving the Army and became an executive and consultant for Bell Helicopter in Fort Worth.[4] As a 1957 Charter Member of the Army Aviation Association of America (AAAA), he served for four years as the organization's Senior Vice President and President. He was also a member of the Army Aviation Hall of Fame and was the Chairman of the AAAA's Board of Trustees.[5][6]

He died on December 8, 1998, and was buried next to his father at the United States Military Academy Post Cemetery.[7]

Hamilton H. Howze Gunnery Award

The "Howze Gunnery Award" is presented by the AAAA and is sponsored by Rockwell International Corporation (in the memory of General Hamilton H. Howze), and is presented annually to the top AH-1 & AH-64 crew in the annual GEN Hamilton H. Howze Gunnery Competition. Past awardees include CW2 John S. Van Buren & 1LT Michael J. Blatz, B Company, 1st Battalion, 3rd Avn. Regiment, 2nd Armored Div., APO NY (1989), WO1 Jose E. Trejeda & CW2 John L. Kercheville, AH-1 crew, C & D Trps, 1-7 Cavalry, 1st Cav Div, Ft. Hood, TX (1991), and CW2 Jarrett R. Brewer & WO1 Kevin E. Smith, AH-64 crew, C Troop, 6th Cav Regt, Ft. Hood, TX (1991).[8]

Awards and decorations[edit]

ArmyAvnBadge.png  Army Aviator Badge
US Army Airborne basic parachutist badge.gif  Airborne badge
U.S. Army Distinguished Service Medal ribbon.svg  Army Distinguished Service Medal
Silver Star Medal ribbon.svg  Silver Star
Legion of Merit ribbon.svg  Legion of Merit
Bronze Star Medal ribbon.svg  Bronze Star with Valor Device
Croce di guerra al valor militare BAR.svg  Italian Military Valor Cross
Tong-il Security Medel Ribbon.png  South Korean Tong-il Medal (1st Class)


1962 AHS International Vertical Flight Society "Honorary Fellow" [11]
1974 Army Aviation Association of America Hall of Fame inductee [12]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Goldstein, Richard (1998-12-18). "Gen. H.H. Howze, 89, Dies; Proposed Copters as Cavalry". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-04-12.
  2. ^ Burke, Crispin (Major) (June 29, 2014). "Everyone Relax—The Army's Native American Helicopter Names Are Not Racist". medium.com. Medium Corporation. Retrieved May 29, 2015.
  3. ^ Scheips, Paul (2005). The Role of Federal Military Forces in Domestic Disorders, 1945-1992 (PDF). US Army Center of Military History. p. 121. ISBN 9781517253783. This article incorporates text from this source, which is in the public domain.
  4. ^ "Gen. Hamilton Howze; Father of Air Cavalry". Los Angeles Times. December 19, 1998.
  5. ^ AAAA History
  6. ^ Howze Gunnery Award
  7. ^ Find-a-grave.com entry
  8. ^ Howze Gunnery Award
  9. ^ Just Helicopters Howze biography
  10. ^ Hall of Valor
  11. ^ AHS Int'l Archived 2011-07-28 at the Wayback Machine
  12. ^ AAAA HoF inductees

Popular culture[edit]

General Howze was represented in a fictional account of W. E. B. Griffin's "Brotherhood of War" series of books as General "Triple H" Howard.


 This article incorporates public domain material from the United States Government document "[1] and [2]".

Military offices
Preceded by
John W. Bowen
Commanding General of the 82nd Airborne Division
2 January 1958 – 13 June 1959
Succeeded by
Dwight E. Beach
Preceded by
Thomas J. H. Trapnell
Commanding General of the XVIII Airborne Corps
Succeeded by
William Westmoreland
Preceded by
Thomas J. H. Trapnell
Commanding General of the Third United States Army

Succeeded by
Albert Watson II
Preceded by
Bruce Palmer Jr.
Command General of the Eighth United States Army
Succeeded by
Dwight E. Beach