Retired Army Lt. Gen. Harold R. Aaron, 58, a veteran of World War II and the Vietnam conflict and the deputy director of the Defense Intelligence Agency from 1977 to 1979, died Wednesday at the DeWitt Army Hospital at Fort Belvoir after a heart attack.
Gen. Aaron served as a rifle company commander in Europe during World War II. Following the war he was commander of a counter-intelligence detachment in the Caribbean and then an instructor at the Artillery and Guided Missile School.
Between 1960 and 1964, he had tours in the Army's Special Welfare Division and in the Directorate for Arms Control and United Nations Affairs in the Office of the secretary of Defense.
He was with the Joint Chiefs of Staff's Office of Counterinsurgency and Special Activites from 1965 to 1967, then went to Vietnam as commander of a Green Beret unit, the 5th Special Forces Group (Airborne), in 1968 and 1969.
Gen. Aaron later was chief of the force analysis group in the Office of the Army Chief of Staff and an intelligence officer in Europe before becoming the Army's assistant chief of staff for intelligence in 1973. He became deputy director of the DIA in 1977, the post he held at the time he retired two years later.
His decorations included the Distinguished Service Medal, the Legion of Merit with two oak leaf clusters, the Bronze Star Medal with two oak leaf clusters, the Air Medal with an oak leaf cluster, the Purple Heart Medal and the National Intelligence Distinguished Service Medal.
Gen. Aaron was a native of Kokomo, Ind., and a 1943 graduate of the U.S. Military Academy at West Point. He also was a graduate Command and General Staff College, the Armed Forces College and the National War College.
He also earned master's and doctoral degrees at Georgetown University and had taught courses in international relations at the University of Maryland and the University of Virginia.
Gen. Aaron was a member of the International Institute for Strategic Studies and the American Political Science Association. He had contributed articles to technical journals.
He was a resident of Annandale.
Survivors include his wife, Marianne D., of Annandale; three sons, Dennis R., of Chicago, and Jeffry W. and Mark D., both of Annandale; four daughters, Patricia Ann (Penny) Howk of Old Tippan, N.J., Barbara L. Aaron of Arlington, Jacqueline M. Aaron of Miami, and Christine A. Aaron of Annandale; a brother, Donald, of Richmond, Ind.; a sister, Patricia McDonough of Annapolis, and two grandchildren.