Retired Feb. 1, 1970.
Brigadier General Harold Vernon Larson is the director of military assistance, Deputy Chief of Staff, Systems and Logistics, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. He is responsible for discharging the Department of the Air Force's responsibilities under the Military Assistance Program in the manner best adapted to the timely and effective attainment of United States objectives in the field of military assistance, both grant aid and foreign military sales.
General Larson was born in Strong, N.D., in 1918. His family moved to Portland Ore., when he was a child. He entered military service in July 1940 as a flying cadet, completed flight training at Randolph and Kelly fields, Texas, in March 1941, and was commissioned a second lieutenant in the Air Reserve.
His first assignment was with the 22d Bombardment Group at Langley Field, Va. Subsequently, he was assigned to the 38th Bombardment Group at Jackson Army Air Base, Miss., and, after the outbreak of World War II, was transferred to Thirteenth Air Force in the Pacific Theater of Operations. General Larson served as a bomber pilot and the operations officer of the 70th Bombardment Squadron and participated in combat missions from Guadalcanal in the Solomon Islands.
Returning to the United States in 1943, General Larson was assigned to a B-26 combat crew training unit as a squadron operations officers and later as a squadron commander at Barksdale Field and Lake Charles, La., respectively. From Lake Charles he was assigned to the 56th Combat Crew Training Wing at Morris Field, Charlotte, N.C., as the flying safety officer. In 1945, he went to First Air Force Headquarters at Mitchel Field, N.Y., responsible for A-20, B-25, B-26 and A-26 bomber crew training.
After World War II, General Larson separated from the service and returned to the University of Oregon to obtain his bachelor of science degree. During the period 1946 - 1947, he was engaged in graduate studies at the University of Uppsala, Sweden.
Returning to active service in 1947, General Larson was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force as a staff officer in the Directorate of Plans and Operations. In 1950, he was transferred to Oslo, Norway, as the programs and reports officer of the Military Assistance Advisory Group. Following this duty, he returned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force in 1952 for assignment as a staff officer and later as deputy chief, Plans and Policy Division, Assistant for Mutual Security, which was the focal point for all Air Force military assistance planning worldwide.
In October 1955, General Larson was transferred to Ohio Wesleyan University as professor of air science of the Air Force Reserve Officers Training Corps Detachment. This detachment was also responsible for the AFROTC program at Denison University, Kenyon College and Otterbein College, all located in central Ohio.
General Larson attended the Army War College at Carlisle Barracks, Pa., in 1958-59, and subsequently was assigned to Headquarters Commander in Chief Pacific at Camp Smith, Hawaii, as assistant chief of the Joint Policy Section and later as the assistant chief of the Foreign Military Aid Branch. This latter office was responsible for triservice military assistance policy and planning matters for all recipient Far East countries.
In July 1962, General Larson was assigned to the Joint Chiefs of Staff where he served in the Far East Branch and the Plans and Policy Branch, and later as the deputy special assistant for military assistance affairs, responsible for the triservice strategic aspects of military assistance worldwide.
Upon completion of the JCS tour in August 1965, he was transferred to the directorate of military assistance, Headquarters U.S. Air Force, where he held the position of chief, Plans and Policy Division and acting director of military assistance until he was appointed director of military assistance in March 1966. He was promoted to brigadier general in May 1966.
General Larson, a command pilot, has been awarded the Air Medal with oak leaf cluster, Joint Service Commendation Medal and several campaign and service medals.