Harold H. Strickland, 77, a retired staff intelligence officer with the Defense Intelligence Agency who also was a retired lieutenant colonel in the Air Force reserves, died Monday at Georgetown University Hospital after a heart attack.
In June 1941, he enlisted in the British Royal Air Force (RAF) and was assigned to one of its legendary "eagle" squadrons, which were composed of Americans citizens who had volunteered to fight Germany.
Col. Strickland flew 52 combat fighter missions with RAF as a pilot of Hawker Hurricane and Supermarine Spitfire aircraft. In September 1942, following this country's entry into World War II, he joined the Army Air Forces and again saw combat duty as a fighter pilot.
In 1943, he was ordered to return to the United States as an instructor. In 1944, he returned to Europe as an Air Forces intelligence officer. He was a major when he went on inactive duty in the Reserves in 1946 and a lieutenant colonel when he retired from the Reserves in 1963.
Col. Strickland had been a resident of Washington since 1946, serving as an intelligence officer first with the Air Force Intelligence Directorate and then the DIA before retiring in August 1965.
He was a member of the Air Force Association, the Royal Air Force Association, the National Aviation Club, the Quiet Birdmen, the Retired Officers Association and the American Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics.
He was the author of a children's book, "Juggernaught of the Rangers," the story of a dog's adventures in war which was published by Dodd Mead & Co. in 1946. The book won an award from the Boys Club of America.
Col. Strickland was born in Louisiana and reared in California. He joined the Army in the 1920s and earned his pilot's wings in 1926. He retired a year later and was an officer of a charter service. He joined the old Civil Aeronautics Administration and was a flight examiner, pilot and district flight superviser in the agency's civilian pilot training program before joining the RAF.
He is survived by his wife, Patricia, of Washington.