The collection consists of a diary kept by Sgt. Howell while serving in the Army Air Force in Europe during World War II. The diary begins November 10, 1943, when Howell was preparing to go overseas, and ends April 26, 1944, three days prior to his capture by the Germans.
At the beginning of the diary is a listing and brief description of the twenty-three missions Sgt. Howell flew over Europe. Such information as the dates and destinations of the missions is provided along with the many technical problems encountered, the amount of enemy resistance, and the number of casualties sustained in each raid. Of particular interest is the number of missions in which no bombs were dropped and the many technical problems encountered during the flights, such as "blow-outs" in the oxygen and hydraulic systems and failures with the gun turrets.
The daily citations begin with Sgt. Howell leaving Herrington A.A.B., Kansas, and follows his flight to England by way of South America and Africa. The diary reflects Howell's daily routine of classes, off-duty relaxation, and preparations for flying. Of interest are the numerous occasions on which Howell was briefed and prepared to fly his mission only to be canceled. The diary concludes with a list of names and addresses and a short note to Sgt. Howell's mother, telling her who to notify in case of his missing in action.
For related material, see G. Vince Howell Oral History Interview, O.H. 20.