First Lieutenant William Covington Holbrook, Jr. (1921 - ) was born in Akron, Ohio on August 23, 1921 to Willie C. and Pansy Marie Holbrook.  He graduated from East Akron High School in 1939 and attended Akron University for one year before getting a job as a draftsman at Goodyear Tire & Rubber Company.  On August 22, 1941 Bill married his high school sweetheart, the former Sophie Relich. Bill volunteered for the service on April 18, 1942. He applied for and was accepted to the 7 month long Aviation Cadet Program.  Bill began Primary Flight Training in Nashville, Tennessee then moved on to Basic and Advanced Flight Training at the Army Airfield in Marfa, Texas. He received the silver wings of the United States Army Air Force in Class 43-H from Marfa, Texas and graduated from flight school on August 30, 1943 along with several other members of the Second Emergency Rescue Squadron. Hugh Pennington, Harry Remington, Larry Bormann, John Denison, John Dickinson, Denzil Kathman, Leroy Nelson, Frank Rauschkolb, Robert Rohlfing, and Jim Scott were graduates of this class.


"My Story" | "First Try" | "The Canteen" | "Sitting Duck" | "The Paddle"

Lieutenant Holbrook was transferred to
Selman Field in Monroe, Louisiana to begin his Transition Flight Training in the PBY-5A. Bill also received the Gold Wings of a Naval Aviator at Pensacola Naval Air Station in January 1944 after completing the Navy syllabus. He and other 2nd ERS members were transferred to Gulfport Field, Mississippi and eventually Keesler Field, Biloxie, Mississippi to complete the Air Sea Rescue Training required by the USAAF. He joined the Second Emergency Rescue Squadron in April 1944 as one of the charter members. Once complete, the Second Emergency moved to California to begin the transition to the Pacific Theater to join the war effort.  Bill piloted the crew of a PB-Y and performed air-sea rescues off the coast of New Guinea from July 7, 1944 through November 1, 1944.  He was transferred to the Phillipines and served there until April 1, 1945. 

After the war, Bill became corporate pilot for Goodyear in Akron, Ohio. In 1952 he was transferred to Cumberland, Maryland where he served as chief pilot for the Kelly Springfield Tire Company. Bill enjoyed flying sailplanes as well as motorized planes. In 1972 he made a world record goal and return sailplane flight from northern Pennsylvania to southern Virginia and back. Bill also won the Smirnoff cross-country sailplane race in 1974. Bill and Sophie moved to Tucson in 1994 where Bill enjoyed watercolor painting, writing, and serving as an elder in the Presbyterian Church. Sophie passed away in November 2014 shortly after celebrating her 93rd birthday and their 73rd wedding anniversary. Bill has four daughters: Karen, Billie, Debbi, and Lisa; five grandchildren and five great grandchildren. Bill currently lives in Southport, North Carolina near his oldest daughter, Karen.

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