Aubrey C. Holland
Aubrey C. Holland, Staff Sergeant, U.S. Army Air Forces, 18121510, 7th Fighter Squadron, 49th Fighter Group. Entered the Service from New Mexico. Killed In Action, June 12, 1944, Biak Island air raid.. Buried at: Plot D Row 4 Grave 108, Manila American Cemetery, Manila, Philippines. Awards: Purple Heart. (ABMC, CCVM, DJHSP)
His obituary was published in Curry County, New Mexico, on October 21, 1945.
Aubrey C. Holland was listed as one of the veterans who died in service to be honored on a set of memorial pillars to be erected in Clovis, Curry County, New Mexico. -- Memorial Pillars On Track, Clovis News & Journal, date of article not given on web page.
Aubrey C. Holland is on another list of fallen veterans from Curry County, New Mexico. --Clovis' Fallen Heros.
At right: 7th Fighter Squadron patch, which pictures a Bunyap.
The 7th Pursuit Squadron was activated on 15 July 1941, designated the 7th Fighter Squadron in 1942, and assigned to the 49th Fighter Group. It was originally based at Selfridge Field in Michigan.
"After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, training was greatly accelerated to prepare the Squadron for combat duty. By 16 February 1942, the 7th found themselves at Bankstown, Australia, as one of the first American aviation units in the Southwest Pacific, flying the Curtis P-40.
The first air engagement came on March 14 over Horn Island off Cape York, Australia, with the 7th downing 5 Japanese Zeroes, taking no losses themselves. Until the following September, the 7th would remain in Australia, engaged primarily in air defense. It then moved North to Port Moresby, New Guinea, where its P-40s flew attack and air defense missions against Japanese fortifications. During this period, the squadron originally known as the "Screamin’ Demons," adopted their mascot and emblem, the Bunyap, an Australian aboriginal death demon. Even to this day, the Bunyap remains the squadron emblem.
During WW II, the 7th had 10 of its members earn Ace status, as each of them destroyed 5 or more enemy aircraft in aerial combat. The squadron continued to function effectively during WW II scoring 36 "Kills" in December 1944. By the end of the war, the Screamin’ Demons had achieved 178 "Kills."
In 1944, the squadron began moving northward, as the Allies were driving the Japanese back to their homeland. During this period, the 7th was at Biak Island, Leyte and Mindoro in the Philippines, Formosa, and finally Okinawa." -- 7th Fighter Squadron History.
The Western Star, July 28, 1944.
SGT. AUBREY HOLLAND KILLED on BIAK ISLAND
Leaves Wife and Six Children in New Mexico.
Sgt. Aubrey C. Holland, son of Mr. and Mrs. M. E. Holland and a brother
of Mrs. John Schenk of Coldwater, was killed in action on Biak Island,
off New Guinea, on June 12, 1944, according to a telegram received on
June 28 by his wife, Mrs. Elizabeth Holland of Clovis, New Mexico.
A letter received Thursday of this week by Mrs. Holland from Aubrey's
wife stated she had just received word from the War Department that her
husband had just been posthumously given the Purple Heart Award.
Sgt. Holland had been in the Army Air Corps almost two years and had
been serving in the Southwest Pacific theater for 11 months, most of the
time in New Guinea.
Besides his mother, sister and wife, he is survived by six children,
Lawrence, Glenn, Dan, Aubrey Jr., Joyce and Kathryn, all of the home
except Glenn, who is spending the summer working in a war plant in
Aubrey C. Holland was born at Holland, Va., September 28, 1902, and at
the time of his death was 41 years, 6 months and 14 days of age. He came
to Comanche county in 1920 to help harvest and liked the country so well
that he insisted that his mother and his sister, Eunice, come here with
him to live, which they did, in April 1921. He first worked for Dave and
Ollie Hecht on the farm and the family then moved to the Mrs. Sterner
farm near the north county line, and later moved to the Coy community.
On March 1, 1928 Aubrey was united in marriage in Coldwater with Miss
Elizabeth Bartlett of South Bend, Indiana. They made their home on a
farm near Coy until February 1, 1932, when the family moved to Clovis,
New Mexico, and have continued to make their home there.
Aubrey enlisted in the Army September 26, 1942, at Clovis, N. M., and
was sent to Duncan Field, Texas, for training in a machinists school,
having previously attended the Sweeney Automobile School in Kansas City.
He was then transferred to Buckley Field, Denver, for training as an
armorer, to keep the guns on the planes in good order.
On May 1, 1943, he was sent to Kelly Field, San Antonio, and was given
further training at Jefferson Barracks, Mo., before going to San
Francisco in June, 1943, for overseas duty.
After being in Australia a few weeks he was shipped to New Guinea to
help wrest that large island from the Japs. In May of this year he wrote
that he had taken a four day boat ride and had lost half his clothes and
some personal effects in a fire. On June 9 he wrote his wife, enclosing
some pictures, stating that he had taken another boat ride and supposed
he wouldn't see New Guinea again. He also stated that he was seeing some
of the real stuff but was not in any danger. He said he could see how it
was done and could hear it (the battles.) He was promoted to the rank of
Sergeant a few days before he was killed.
The telegram from the war Department revealed that he had been sent to
the fiercely defended Jap held Biak Island.
Sgt. Holland became a member of the Coldwater Christian church in 1928
and later he and his family joined the Presbyterian church. He was an
upright and honest man and was a good soldier in every respect.
One might wonder, "Why should a man 40 years old, with a wife and six
children, enlist in the army, when he had the opportunity to return to
the farm to produce food, turn down the offer, also that of instructor
to remain in the States, rather than go overseas?" Here is the answer:
When Aubrey was a lad 15 or 16 years old, his half brother died in camp
during World War I. He vowed that if there was ever another war he would
volunteer to take his place in the Army. He kept his word, and as he
boarded the gangplank of his troop ship to go overseas to fight he held
his head high and was conscience free, and, like George Washington, Joan
Of Arc and Martin Luther , was true to his convictions. In his heart he
had the element of true greatness, the spirit which makes America the
"Land Of the Free and the Home of the Brave."
The sorrow of the relatives is shared by all of our people.
Martha A. Luke Holland, probably the mother of Aubrey Holland.
The above news article was transcribed for this site by Shirley Brier.
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World War II Casualties