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.
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
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
Lieutenant Holbrook was transferred to
in Monroe, Louisiana to begin his
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
Mississippi and eventually
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
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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