U.S. Army Air Corps Veteran Robert Holts is today’s Veteran of the Day.

Today’s #VeteranOfTheDay is U.S. Army Air Corps Veteran Robert Holts, a member of the Tuskegee Airmen.

Robert Holts was born in 1924 in Omaha, Nebraska, and had eight siblings. His father was a World War I Veteran and worked as a porter at the Union Outfitting Company. His mother died when he was 15. Holts attended Kellom Elementary School and helped support his family selling newspapers in downtown Omaha and working as a busboy.

While attending Central High School, Holts enlisted in the U.S. Army Air Corps on Nov. 21, 1942. He was joined by five friends that were 18 or younger and not subject to the draft. He was sworn into service at Fort Crook, Nebraska, and traveled by train to Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, where he received his uniform and completed Army General Classification Testing (AGCT). He was not informed about qualifying for further testing for Officer Candidate School or Aviation Cadet Training.

Holts completed basic training at Barracks Military Post in Lemay, Missouri. In January 1943, he enrolled in an intensive engineering drafting course at Franklin Technical Institute in Boston, Massachusetts. During the eight hours of classes per day, he studied drafting and surveying. Then, he was sent to Langley Air Force Base in Virginia, where he was assigned to Company B, 428th Signal Construction Battalion.

In mid-summer 1943, Holts went home on leave and saw Joe Carter, one of the five friends who enlisted with him. Carter was wearing wings of an aerial gunner and was involved with the Tuskegee Airmen. Holts was inspired to take the Aviation Cadet Qualifying Exam and passed. He started Pre-aviation Cadet Training at Keesler Field, Mississippi, in December, but “washed out” in April, and returned to Langley Field, unable to become a pilot.

In July 1945, Holts was assigned to the 118th Base Unit, Squadron D at Goodman Field, Kentucky. He supported the Tuskegee Airmen – a distinguished group of predominantly black aviators – as a draftsman, drawing up maps and documents for Col. Benjamin O. Davis Jr., the former commander of the 332nd and the Air Force’s first African American general.

Holts was honorably discharged in February 1946 at the rank of corporal. He moved to Detroit, where he worked for the U.S. Postal Service for almost 40 years before returning to Nebraska. He was awarded a Congressional Gold Medal, inducted into the Nebraska Aviation Hall of Fame and served as the president of the Alfonza Davis Tuskegee Airmen Nebraska Chapter.

Holts died on Feb. 12, 2021, at the age of 96.

We honor his service.

Nominate a Veteran for #VeteranOfTheDay

Do you want to light up the face of a special Veteran? Have you been wondering how to tell your Veteran they are special to you? VA’s #VeteranOfTheDay social media feature is an opportunity to highlight your Veteran and his/her service.

It’s easy to nominate a Veteran. Visit our blog post about nominating to learn how to create the best submission.

Veterans History Project

This #VeteranOfTheDay profile was created with interviews submitted to the Veterans History Project. The project collects, preserves, and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war Veterans so that future generations may hear directly from Veterans and better understand the realities of war. Find out more at http://www.loc.gov/vets/.

Writer: Aubrey Benton

Editors: Nathaniel Scott, Theresa Lyon

Researcher: Carl Wesseln

Graphics: Yasmine Pierce

By DME Interns

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Published on Jul. 5, 2022

Estimated reading time is 2.8 min.

Views to date: 423


  1. Senior Veterans Care Network July 12, 2022 at 4:11 pm

    We honor the service of Robert Holts.

  2. Herbert Garber July 5, 2022 at 5:04 pm

    His story is inspiring, However, I had the privilege of serving in Army of the
    United States at the same time in the Army Air Forces NOT the Army Air Corps which was replaced in 1939. I wish authors would designate our branch of service correctly.
    Thank you.

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