Segment 4

Annotation

When they got overseas to Italy, black and white [Annotator’s Note: African American and Caucasian], they were a team. When the war ended and they returned to the States, there was a sign at the bottom of the gang plank indicating that whites were to go to one side and colored to the other. Holloman wondered what kind of country had he fought for. He had fought for recognition. He thought that America was a sick country. Holloman thought that after the war he would be a commercial pilot but no one would hire a black pilot. He had to return to the military to keep flying. He left the service in 1947 and went to school but then returned to the service. He was asked to come back by his old commander, Colonel Davis. He helped integrate the Air Force in 1948. Holloman was sent to Biloxi, Mississippi to Keesler Field with 3 other combat veterans. They had no privileges off the base. General Lawrence, the commanding general there, told everyone on base to respect Holloman and the other 3 African-American officers or they would be court-martialed.Each of the 4 had to select a white officer to room with and John Riddle from Phoenix, Arizona became Holloman's roommate. They got along fine and became a bridge playing team. Holloman felt that the people in the South were stupid because they couldn't conceive of a black person being a captain. They assumed that he was white with a suntan. He played bridge for 6 months up and down the Gulf Coast. At a game in Gulfport a lady asked him if he was colored. When he replied that he was, he and his partner were thrown out of the tournament. Word was spread from Miami, Florida to New Orleans that Holloman was colored. Holloman’s stay in Mississippi was a good one. He stayed in Pascagoula, Mississippi.When General Powell took over the base he tried to re-segregate the base. He forbade the African-American officers from swimming in the base pool. A group of officers rebelled and went to the pool anyway. The base commander gave Holloman a choice, he could be grounded [Annotator's Note: not allowed to fly] or leave the service, so Holloman resigned. Holloman headed out to California to go to school at the University of California. By the time he got to Berkeley, the Korean War had started and he had a telegram ordering him to report for duty. Holloman was stationed at Travis Air Force Base. He was a SAC [Annotator's Note: Strategic Air Command] pilot and as a captain was a copilot on a B-29. When he complained about wanting to be checked out as an aircraft commander he was transferred to a new squadron flying B-50s, then was transferred again to a squadron flying B-36s. Holloman felt that SAC and Curtis Lemay [Annotator's Note: USAF General Curtis Lemay] were racists.

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