William Harvey Holt – Major General, United States Air Force

Retired Sept. 1, 1974, Died Nov. 7, 2000

Major General William Harvey Holt was chief of staff, Allied Air Forces Southern Europe, with headquarters in Naples, Italy.

General Holt was born in 1919, in Raleigh, North Carolina, and was reared in San Diego, California. He entered active military service as an aviation cadet in February 1942 and was commissioned a second lieutenant upon completion of pilot training school in
September 1942.

General Holt was assigned to the 99th Bombardment Group in October 1942 and went overseas with the group in February 1943. Operating from North Africa, he completed a tour of duty as a B-17 pilot in July 1943. In September 1943, after two months of duty as a combat instructor pilot, he returned to the United States where he was assigned as a regional safety officer in Florida and Texas. From September 1944 to September 1945, he was assigned to the 6th Ferry Group at Long Beach, California, as a flight instructor.

General Holt requested release from active military service in December 1945 and pursued various flying activities including nonscheduled airlines, crop dusting, flight instructing, and production test flying.

Following voluntary recall to active military service in September 1948, General Holt was assigned to the 8th Fighter Group in Japan. He performed duty as squadron maintenance officer, flight commander and operations officer. During the Korean War
he flew F-80 and F-84 aircraft and was involved in the first combat operation. In November 1950, he was assigned duty as fighter operations officer in the Joint Operations Center, Fifth Air Force, Korea.

Returning to the United States in August 1951, he was assigned to Air Defense  Command as operations officer for the 83d Fighter Interceptor Squadron, Hamilton Air Force Base, California, and later served as commander. In July 1952 he became
operations officer for the 84th Fighter Interceptor Squadron at Hamilton Air Force Base and in March 1953 became commander of the 465th Fighter Interceptor Squadron, McChord Air Force Base, Wash. In July 1954 he assumed duties as assistant deputy for operations and training, Western Air Defense Force, Air Defense Command, with headquarters at Hamilton Air Force Base.

General Holt entered the Air Command and Staff School, Maxwell Air Force Base, Alabama, in August 1955. In July 1956 he was assigned as deputy director/director of operations for the 406th Fighter Interceptor Wing at Manston, England. In July 1958 he
was assigned as commander, 79th Tactical Fighter Squadron which was equipped with F-100 aircraft and based at Woodbridge, England.

General Holt returned to the United States in August 1960 for assignment to Tactical Air Command, initially as director of inspection at Headquarters Tactical Air Command, Langley Air Force Base, Virginia. In September 1962 he was assigned to George Air Force Base, California, as deputy commander for operations, 355th Tactical Fighter Wing. In July 1964 he was assigned as director of operations, 4520th Combat Crew Training Wing, Nellis Air Force Base, Nevada. In July 1965 he was reassigned to command the 355th Tactical Fighter Wing, which had moved to McConnell Air Force Base, Kansas. In October 1965 the 355th Wing began an increment deployment to Southeast Asia, and General Holt went with the advance echelon.

Following his tour in Southeast Asia, General Holt was assigned to Headquarters U.S. Air Force. He held several positions in the Directorate of Operations: chief of the Tactical Division, Strike Systems Division, and Operations Review Division; deputy
director and subsequently director for the U.S. Air Force Command Post. In addition, during his assignment to Headquarters U.S. Air Force, General Holt chaired a number of study groups on the Southeast Asia war. Study efforts included the Integrated Strike and Interdiction Plan; Econometric Targeting Concept; Logistic Import Denial Study; and New Look, a forecast of North Vietnam's actions following the bombing halt in March 1968.

General Holt was assigned as assistant deputy chief of staff, operations, Headquarters U.S. Air Forces in Europe, Lindsey Air Station, Germany, in August 1969. In August 1970 he was assigned duty as inspector general for USAFE. In July 1972 he became chief of staff of Allied Air Forces Southern Europe, Naples, Italy.

His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit, Distinguished Flying Cross with oak leaf cluster, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with 14 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Presidential Unit Citation Emblem, Republic of Korea Presidential Unit Citation Ribbon and Republic of Vietnam Campaign Medal.

He was promoted to the grade of major general effective Septtember 1, 1971, with date of rank November 2, 1967.


  • VETERAN SERVICE DATES: 09/01/1944 – 09/01/1974
  • DATE OF BIRTH: 01/24/1919
  • DATE OF DEATH: 11/07/2000
  • DATE OF INTERMENT: 11/22/2000


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