Henry D. Holt
US Army, National Guard, Anti-Aircraft Artillery – Corporal
US Air Force, Anti-Aircraft Artillery – Lieutenant
World War II (1939 – 1945)
Born in Shanghai China, Henry Holt came into this world in 1921. Shortly after birth, Henry’s family moved back to San Diego, California, where his father was originally from. His father was a teacher at St. John’s University, and had to take a short trip to China, where Henry was born. His mother was a nurse, and traveled with his father. Henry’s father served a short term in the Army during WWI, but it was Henry who was the main military man of the family. Henry received one year of college before he was called to duty from the National Guard and sent to Hawaii. While he knew his family would miss him, Henry knew his services were needed, so he decided to join his comrades in Hawaii.
Henry received minimal training in the National Guard, having weekly drills, and when he was sent to duty in Hawaii, he received more daily training. He was in the Anti-Aircraft artillery in Hawaii, which is interesting considering he was in Hawaii during the attack on Pearl Harbor. Henry lived in tents and a small camp near Pearl Harbor, Hawaii during his service. Having gone to college, Henry was more educated than most people that he worked with, however he got along well with most of his comrades. While Henry’s time in Hawaii was fairly uneventful, he entered Air Force training, his true passion.
He served in the Air Force for three and a half years, and was relieved when he was finally able to leave the Army. He used his flying skills to become an airline pilot, a job he held for thirty five years. He believes the most difficult part of his service had to be waiting for something to happen in Hawaii. Many were scared of attack, and the nerves that came, knowing you were waiting for something to happen. However he had quite an experience, being so close on the hallow day of December 7th, 1941. Henry’s camp was roughly 5 miles away from Pearl Harbor, and could see little planes flying into the earth and could of black smoke. He was so disappointed because he just watched while so many people died. It was a crazy time.
Ultimately, Henry supports his country, and knows that entering the Army was the right thing to do. Some people need to sacrifice in order to keep this great country safe. The view of war and the military was much different during his time, many college kids were going into the military after high school, and he is happy that he took his life in this direction. War is an experience that will teach you many life lessons, a different perspective of the capabilities of others. War is a horrible thing, but under certain circumstances it is justified and we need people to be there for our country.
Interviewed by Harry Baker on June 21, 2011.