A Brief Bio, As Of February 2009 -
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was born on January 11, 1946, in a little farm house in the middle of a wheat
field, about 5 miles from Oklaunion, Texas, which is about 50 miles west of
Wichita Falls, Texas. I
am child number 8, out of 10 Holt Kids…7 boys and 3 girls. Dad
was a farmer and when I was 4 he bought Grandpa Robert’s farm in the northeast
corner of Texas, along the Red River, near Clarksville, Texas. All
of us lived in that 3 bedroom farm house; for the first 2 years there was no
indoor plumbing or facilities (just a
3-holer outhouse), no electricity, and only a wood stove for both cooking and
heating. In 1953 we
finally got electricity, and a gas pipe run to the house. This enabled dad to
install an electric pump on the well, and put plumbing in the house…WITH
had a celebration that day; everyone pushed the outhouse off the hill and into
the creek. In
1955 we even got a Party-Line Telephone AND a black & white TV!
In 1956, after a couple of bad years on the farm, we
moved back to Oklaunion, where my dad started Holt Construction Company,
building and remodeling houses. An
Air Force Housing contract moved us to Wichita Falls, Texas, for a year. The
next year we moved to Dallas, Texas, where I attended High School and met my
wife-to-be, Sandy Sims. We
started dating when she was 14 and I was 15. During
the last 2 years of High School I worked at Red Bird Airport, near Dallas, and
started flying lessons. I got my Student Pilot’s License at 17.
After graduation I attend one year of college, but
couldn’t afford to take enough hours to be exempt from the Draft. We
had wedding plans, and I didn’t want to leave the area, so I joined the Army in
August, 1965, because they promised me an assignment in the Dallas area. After
Basic Training at Fort Polk, Louisiana, Sandy and I got married (October 21,
1965), and I was assigned as a Private E2 in the Fire Control of the 67th
Air Defense Artillery Battalion, in Alvarado, Texas, about an hour south of
The duty was awful! There
were only 8 of us on the KP Roster and when I made PFC I also went on the Guard
We were a nuclear unit, so I was also put on the Red
Phone Hot Line Roster! Needless
to say, I was always on some DUTY and rarely ever SAW the computer console I was
supposed to man. I
went to the Commander to get out of the unit and was told I had to either
volunteer for Vietnam, or apply for OCS. I
applied for OCS, but before he would approve it I had to request Artillery as my
first choice. I
put Signal 2nd and got my 2nd choice!
I arrived at Fort Gordon in June, 1966, for OCS Class
02-67… along with a bunch of other scared privates, and a bunch of seasoned NCOs
who were sure they knew-it-all. Most of the senior NCOs washed out as I recall!
turned out to be one of those defining
events of my life. During
those 6 months I learned more about myself than ever before. I
formed closer friendships than I ever thought possible. I
gained a better understanding of our country and what freedom was about. I
learned leadership, camaraderie, focus and personal excellence. I
graduated in January, 1967, as a Second Lieutenant. While
in OCS I applied for and was accepted into Flight School but had to wait 3
months for my class. I
stayed at Gordon as a Radio Repair Training Company XO until my class date.
I attended Fixed Wing Flight School at Fort Stewart,
Georgia, for 4 months, for the Basic Flight portion. Interesting
event: while flying a T-41 on my first Solo Cross-Country flight I had an engine
failure; a crankcase bolt broke, allowing the engine to vibrate, and
interrupting the fuel flow. With
oil covering the windshield I landed dead-stick at an old abandoned air strip in
Statesboro, Georgia; a fun day!
The Advanced portion of my flight school was at Fort
Rucker, Alabama, where we flew the O-1 Bird Dog for Tactics, and the T-42 Twin
Engine for Instruments. I
graduated 1st in the class, so they allowed me to stay another month
and transition into the U-21 Turboprop Twin Engine aircraft. I
was assigned to the Command Airplane Company, 210th CAB at Long Thanh,
Vietnam, about 20 miles east of Saigon. We
flew Combat Support missions throughout the entire country; and I flew 2
missions on the ocean route around Cambodia to Thailand. We
carried mostly VIP-level passengers, and sometimes a little cargo. I
got promoted to Captain and was in Vietnam from April '68 to April '69.
My next tour was in Germany, as the Communication Officer for the 72nd
Field Artillery, for a year, and then as Aviation Officer. We
had OH-13 Helicopters, U-6 Beavers, and some 1951 Model Bird Dogs!! Quite
a change from U-21s! After 2 years I was
reassigned to Vietnam, with Rotary Wing Flight Transition enroute. Another
interesting event: my first night instrument takeoff in a UH-1… we had a
hydraulic system failure… just as the skids got light on the pad. After
a little tap dancing the instructor helped me push the Collective Pitch back
down so we could shut it down on the pad!
I was assigned to the 13th CAV HQ in Can Tho, Vietnam, in October,
1971. My primary job was Squadron
Communication Officer, and as a C&C Pilot with the Commander, plus various
Administrative Pilot duties. The Army had started standing-down units in
preparation for phasing out of 'Nam so the 13th was ordered to
pack-it-up 5 months and 29 days after I got there…ONE DAY short of what I needed
to stand-down with them!!
I was reassigned as the Delta Communication Officer at the HQ of the 164th
Aviation Group, there in Cam Tho. I flew
mostly admin flights after that.
I knew things were winding down in September '72 when I was on a flight to Ben
Hoa and got arrested by the MPs. The UH-1
broke down on the pad there, and since I had Crypto for the 164th I
decided to hop a bus to Saigon and catch a chopper, at the Hotel 3 Heliport,
back to Can Tho. The bus stopped at the
gate leaving Ben Hoa, and the MPs got on, checking everybody’s papers! Seems
they had instituted a policy that all who were traveling in-country had to have
travel orders that listed where they were going, type of weapons in their
possession, AND the number or rounds of ammo carried!
He then asked for my Installation ID. All the facilities in-country were
supposed to issue special ID Cards showing where they were stationed! I had
neither, so he said I would have to accompany him to the station to be
PROCESSED. When I got up to go he saw my
38 Pistol which was on my belt under the flap of my 2-piece Nomex flight suit. He
declared it to be a concealed weapon, and said it was suppose to be on the
orders along with the ammo I was carrying! I
was ticked-off by now and asked, “What happens if I get attacked and shoot some
of my rounds at the enemy?” He said,
“Well, you wouldn’t have the correct number of rounds on your orders!!” I
knew then we were wasting our time in Vietnam!
They took me to the station and I finally got bailed out by the 1st
Signal Brigade folks,and was allowed to go back to Can Tho!
After 'Nam I went to the Advanced Course at Gordon, and then to the 9th
Division at Fort Lewis, Washington. After
assignments with the 13th Artillery Battalion, then as ‘B’ Company
Commander of the Div Sig BN, and as Communication Officer of the CAV SQ, I was
released for a year for Degree Completion, at St Martin’s College in Olympia,
I ended up back in Germany for a second tour, as Aviation Officer and Training
Officer of the 7th Signal Brigade, for 3 years. I
got promoted to Major while there. I was
also selected to attend the Navy’s Armed Forces Staff College in Norfolk,
Virginia, and spent 6 months there. From
there I was assigned as a Communications Officer on the Bravo Battle Staff Team
for the Admiral of the Atlantic Fleet, flying onboard the CINCLANT Airborne
Command Post, Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. These
were EC-135s (Boeing 707s), chocked full of computers and communications
equipment. I had an ELF antenna coiled in
the belly that could be let out 28,000 feet behind the aircraft! Now
that is an
extremely low frequency!!
It was a high-profile job since we were the back-up the NECAP… the President’s
Airborne Command Post. One day, a few
months before I was reassigned, my commander surprised me at 30,000 feet by
calling attention and reading my Lieutenant Colonel promotion orders!
My next assignment was as the Director of Information Management at Fort
Campbell, Kentucky…. home of the 101st Airborne. I
was there for 4 years, and retired after a 22 year career, on September 1, 1987. I
was awarded all of the normal awards a clean-nosed Vietnam vet got. I
was also awarded an MSM, 10 Air medals, and attained Senior Aviator Wings.
After retirement I owned a home remodeling company for awhile, but longed for
Texas, so we moved home in 1990. I
dabbled in home building and insurance, but working with people had been my
passion. Throughout my career, at every
station, my wife and I had been active in a local church, and had led many
teenage youth groups. So, in 1992, I
agreed to become Minister of Youth and Music for a church in Copperas Cove,
Texas. In January, 1994, I agreed to go
back to Clarksville, Tennessee, to become Minister with Singles and College at a
I was there until June 2007. I retired
from church staff, moved to Martin, Tennessee, with the grandkids, and became a
free-lance speaker and author. One book
has been published, “Every Single Day,” a devotional book for singles, and
another book & board game are currently under consideration for publication. Sandy
has now gone through 18 months of Thyroid Cancer surgery, both treatments
and scans, and finally got an ALL CLEAR in the fall of 2008. We
have been married for 43 years.
To see more pictures of Ltc. (R) Holt, visit his
OCS class page.
Above content posted 26 February 2009.