Appointments and awards, letters of condolence, writings, and
published and newspaper accounts, 1917-1921, relating to the life and career of
Howard T. Douglas and to the Alaska Flying Expedition of 1920.
Howard T. Douglas was born in Covina, California, in about 1883, the second son of
Summerfield Douglas, of the Covina Realty Company. He graduated from Covina Union
High School and the University of California at Berkeley. He enlisted as a private
in the United States Army in January 1917, joining a coast artillery unit in Covina.
Upon the United States declaration of war in April 1917, he was sent to officer
training school at the Presidio in San Francisco. Upon receiving his commission as a
first lieutenant of infantry, he proceeded via Camp Lewis to the school of fire at
Fort Sill, Oklahoma. In January 1918, he proceeded to France where he served as an
aerial observation officer, where he served with distinction, being twice
recommended from promotion to Major, and receiving the Distinguished Service Medal.
Following the armistice he was placed in command of an aviation unit in Germany; he
returned to the United States in the summer of 1919. He then entered the Regular
Army with the rank of Captain, and was attached to General Mitchell, Chief of Air
Service. He served as Mitchell's aid and flying companion, directing a cross-country
flight and playing a vital role in the Alaska flying expedition of 1920. He helped
write the War Department's first aviation manual. He was drowned in the Chesapeake
Bay, off Tangier Island, on June 22, 1921, during a practice bombing raid on the
hulk of the battleship San Marcos, after his plane collided with another flown by
Lieutenant Marll J. Plumb. His body was not recovered until July 1, 1921. He was
buried in Oakdale Cemetery, Covina, on July 12, 1921.