Army Aviation Hall of Fame 2004 Induction
COL Harry Townsend (Ret.) – a veteran of three wars, a master Army aviator with more than 8,000 hours (of which more than 1,700 are combat) and a master parachutist – began his military service with the Citizens Military Training Corps. During World War II he was commissioned a second lieutenant and served in Europe.
In 1947 he applied for flight training. When there was no response he and 19 other black parachutists bought an Aeronca Chief and formed a flying club in Fayetteville, N.C. His outstanding service with the 555th Parachute Infantry was rewarded with a Regular Army commission. Townsend completed fixed-wing and helicopter training in 1950, and went on to fly hundreds of combat missions in Korea in H-13 and liaison fixed-wing aircraft.
Following seven years of important staff and command assignments, Townsend took command of the 268th Combat Aviation Brigade in Vietnam. He led the unit's largest air assault, inserting all combat elements of the 173rd Airborne Bde. and a battery of 155mm howitzers.
Townsend's last years of military service were in the offices of the Army's Inspector General, the Secretary of Army and the Secretary of Defense. After retirement he served for seventeen years on AAAA's National Executive Board, ten as trustee and treasurer of the Scholarship Foundation, and as international judge in national and international helicopter championships.