George Locke Howe was born in Bristol, Rhode Island. He served with the U.S. Naval Reserve Force during the First World War, enlisting as a Hospital Apprentice in September 1917, stationed at Newport before travelling overseas to Queenstown, Ireland, in 1918. He also served in Liverpool, Brest and on the U.S.S. Plattsburg, Cape Finisterre, returning to the US in 1919 where he was discharged in May. After continuing his education at Harvard, Howe followed in his father's footsteps and became an architect in Rhode Island. During World War II, Howe served in Europe with the OSS unit, G-2, U.S. Seventh Army, in Algeria and France, responsible for documentation and cover stories. Call It Freedom, in which an anti-Nazi German prisoner-of-war volunteers to be dropped behind enemy lines as a spy for the American army, was based on actual events and Howe's experiences in Army Intelligence.