United States Air Force Officer.
A native of San Francisco, California, Holmes joined the United States Army Air Corps in 1941 and was sent to Pearl Harbor, Hawaii for training and gunnery school. On December 7, 1941, when Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor, Holmes was amongst the men who attempted to fight back, and at one point managed to get a plane up into the air. In 1942, Holmes was assigned to the 67th Pursuit Squadron and took part in the Guadalcanal campaign. In 1943, Holmes was assigned to an airfield at Guadalcanal when an intercepted Japanese message revealed that Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Japanese Pacific Fleet and planner of the Pearl Harbor attack, was on a plane conducting an inspection tour passing nearby Guadalcanal.
On April 18, 1943, then Lieutenant Holmes was among the sixteen pilots sent to intercept Admiral Yamamoto, who was with his staff on board two medium bombers. The squadron intercepted the Japanese planes and in the following battle, the bomber carrying Admiral Yamamoto was shot down either by Captain Thomas Lanphier or 1st Lieutenant Rex Barber, while Lieutenant Holmes shot down the second.
By the end of World War Two, Holmes had been awarded the Navy Cross and was honored as an ace with five credited kills. he remained in the military serving both in the Korea and Vietnam Wars until his retirement in 1968 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.
Over his career, he would be awarded the Navy Cross, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Legion of Merit and the Air Medal.
Richard Henry Holmes
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