This World War II veteran loved flying all airplanes, but especially the Mustang.
- By Diane Tedeschi
- Air & Space magazine, August 2007
Courtesy Bill Holloman
(Page 2 of 2)
Holloman: When we went to town, we had lots of contact with them. In Italy, we were all stationed separately but within 25 or 30 miles of each other. They embraced us when we went to town. They wouldn’t let us buy our own drinks. They were very friendly. We were all brothers in arms in a combat area. Segregation didn’t show itself until we got back to American soil. You get off the boat, and it’s all right there. I don’t think that I really hated the social structure of the United States until I came back from Italy. It was kind of sad.
A&S: How did it feel to be flying combat missions?
Holloman: My thinking was: I was doing something that I enjoyed doing. I enjoyed flying. I used to tell a joke to audiences [during speaking engagements] that I wanted to fly so bad that if Adolph Hitler had let me fly, I’d have flown for him. But there were people that flew in the war that say they did it as a duty, as an obligation. I flew in the war because I loved flying. It doesn’t mean that I wasn’t looking toward the day when the war would be over, because I certainly didn’t like getting shot at. Every time we went out there, we got shot at. It was like playing Russian roulette.
A&S: What was your opinion of the German pilots that you encountered?
Holloman: Well, that’s a tough question because I thought I was pretty good. I never considered them being anything else other than well-trained. I talk to German pilots all the time in my travels—those that survived had to be good. I do know that I had respect for my enemy. I thought he had to be something special to be able to fly an airplane.