Segment 7

Annotation

A typical day [Annotator’s Note: in Italy during the war in 1945] started at 4:40 or 5:00 in the morning. After breakfast they went to briefing and took care of their personal things. Missions could last 5 or 6 hours and it was difficult to relieve yourself at 30000 feet. Holloman flew primarily escort missions. He flew a total of 19 missions and 12 or 13 of them were escort missions. Holloman only encountered a German fighter once. He broke formation and went after it. For breaking formation Holloman got a letter of reprimand, an Article 15.General Eaker [Annotator's Note: USAAF General Ira C. Eaker] determined that the fighters should stay with the bombers. When he took command of the 12th Air Force he interviewed all of the group commanders and kept the ones he thought would be listened to. Colonel Ben Davis was one of them. Holloman didn't like flying ground support missions.In Italy, Holloman flew P-39s then P-47s then P-51s [Annotator’s Note: all American fighter planes]. They lost a couple of planes on every ground attack mission.Colonel Davis [Annotator's Note: USAAF/USAF General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.] was a professional soldier. He had graduated from West Point in 1936. He inherited a bunch of civilians in uniform. Davis made a military man out of Holloman. He instilled discipline and pride in his men and told them that what they did reflected on the Negro race. He taught them to be the best. Davis and Holloman were friends for life. Holloman knew him before he went into the service. Holloman believes that his unit wouldn't have been as good as it was without Davis.He believes that racism was the reason Davis wasn't promoted at the same rate as the white officers.President Clinton promoted Davis to four stars [Annotator’s Note: to a four star General] in 1998. The only three men to receive their fourth star after they retired were Jimmy Doolittle, Ira Eaker, and Ben Davis. Holloman is not an African-American; he is an American of African descent and is proud of it. An African-American is a person born in Africa who later becomes an American citizen. Holloman has a white friend who was born in Nairobi, Kenya. As a young man he moved to the US and became an American citizen. He served in the US Air Force then went to work for a commercial airline. He is an African-American. Holloman's secretary in Germany is white and had been born in Africa, married an American, and became an American citizen. She is an African-American. Holloman is of African descent but an American first.

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