Retired June 30, 1961.
Brigadier General Harold H. Twitchell was born in Lancaster, N.H., in 1904. He graduated from Lancaster High School 1921 and received his bachelor of science degree from the University of Vermont, Burlington, in 1925. During academic college was active in ROTC and received a commission as a second lieutenant, inactive Infantry Reserve on graduation. On obtaining his doctor of medicine from the University of Vermont in 1929, he accepted a commission as a first lieutenant in the Medical Reserve of the Army on June 17, 1959. He was called to active duty on July 1, 1929.
Lieutenant Twitchell's first assignment was to Walter Reed General Hospital Washington, D.C., for medical intern training. On completing his rotating internship he remained with the staff at Walter Reed for residency training in general surgery for one year.
In January 1931 Lieutenant Twitchell was accepted for the Medical Corps of the Regular Army. He attended the Army Medical School, Washington, D.C., from Sept. 1, 1931 to January 1932 and the Medical Field Service School, Carlisle Barracks, Pa., for six months beginning in January 1932. Following this training he was assigned as transport surgeon aboard the USS Chateau-Thierry out of New York to Puerto Rico, Panama, San Francisco and Hawaii from July 1932 to August1934. During his last trip as transport surgeon he met Barbara Wetherill, daughter of an Infantry colonel enroute to Hawaii, who later became his wife in June 1934.
Doctor Twitchell's keen professional interest in the medical problems associated with flying in our then young air arm led to his attendance at the Army Medical School of Aviation Medicine in August 1934. Upon graduation in December 1934, Captain Twitchell was assigned to the Station Hospital, Langley Field, Va., where he remained until February 1939.
During the following decade General Twitched served as chief of surgical service, post surgeon and staff surgeon at various military hospitals in the United States. In World War II he first saw duty overseas as staff surgeon of the Twenty-First Bomber Command and later as staff surgeon of the Twentieth Air Force in the Pacific Theater.
His outstanding leadership and professional ability in organizing and directing the Medical Services of the 21st Bomber Command and 20th Air Force earned Colonel Twitchell the Legion of Merit in 1945 and an oak leaf cluster to the Legion of Merit in 1946. "Under the guidance of Colonel Twitchell, the Medical Services of Twentieth Air Force have been exemplary of the highest type of professional medical practice. His brilliant planning and unstinting efforts toward the execution of sanitary preventive medicine and aeromedical measures resulted in the achievement of an amazingly good state of health within the command."
On return to the United States in February 1946 Colonel Twitchell was assigned to the Surgical Service at Fitzsimons General Hospital, Denver, Colo. In September 1947 he became base surgeon and hospital commander at Hamilton Air Force Base, Calif.
From June 1948 to July 1951 Colonel Twitchell was assigned as commander of Tripler General Hospital, Hawaii. With the autonomy of the Air Force Medical Service in 1948, Colonel Twitchell with his broad professional background in aviation medicine elected to be transferred to the Air Force. He had the distinction of being the first Air Force medical officer to command an Army general hospital jointly staffed with medical personnel of the Army, Navy and Air Force. His outstanding ability in organizing personnel of these services into a harmonious working unit providing the highest quality of professional care received special recognition from the commanding general, U.S. Army in the Pacific. He was promoted to brigadier general in April 1951 just prior to his return to the United States.
From August 1951 to July 1952 General Twitchell was assigned as director, Plans and Hospitalization, Office of the Surgeon General, Headquarters U.S. Air Force. This was followed by assignments as chief of the Armed Forces Medical Policy Council's Planning Coordination Division, Office of the Secretary of Defense, from July 1952 to July 1953 and as director of professional services, Office of the Surgeon General, U.S. Air Force from August 1953 to September 1955.
The general, in September 1955, became surgeon, Continental Air Command, Mitchell Air Force Base, N.Y. In January 1958 he was assigned as surgeon, U.S. Air Forces in Europe, APO 633, to begin his third overseas tour.
General Twitchell is a nationally recognized specialist in the field of aviation medicine with the rating of chief flight surgeon. He is a fellow in the American College of Surgeons and a member of the board of governors of the American College of Surgeons (1953 - 56). He is a member of the American Medical Association, the Aeromedical Association and is at present a vice president of the Association of Military Surgeons.
Religion -- Protestant. Clubs -- Masonic Bodies, Blue Lodge, Scottish Rite and Shrine and Sojourners.
Especially interested in cattle and horses. He has raised purebred Arabian horses and participated in organizations promoting this breed. Vice president and show chairman for Arabian Horse Association of East Washington D.C. during 1955 and 1956. Was president in 1957. Sports include horseback riding, occasional golf and bowling. Diversion -- gardening.
Participates in the usual civic activities. President of Boy Scouts Activities. Participates in PTA
DECORATIONS AND MEDALS
Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster
American Defense Service medal
American Campaign Medal
Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal
World War II Victory Medal
National Defense Service Medal
Department of Defense Identification
Air Force Longevity Service Award with six oak leaf clusters.
OPINIONS, TASTES AND EVALUATIONS
Likes all food except green peppers. Prefers thick rare steak. Would rather wear Levis than a tuxedo in civilian dress.
Likes westerns and mysteries for relaxation. Professional journals and books for serious reading. He prefers dance music to high brow and long flair. In travel likes Europe, South America and Western United States. In choosing a climate would select warm weather. Scenery -- mountains and forests.
Live and let live.
Honesty, straightforwardness is the minimum.
His brilliant planning and leadership is stimulating and an objective lesson that proper planning is the key to any successful endeavor.