Bruce Holloway earned his “spurs” as a fighter pilot over China where he shot down 13 Japanese aircraft! Born in 1912, Holloway grew up and attended high school in Knoxville, Tennessee. He studied engineering for two years at the University of Tennessee and then entered the United States Military Academy. In 1937, he graduated and received a commission in the cavalry, but soon began flying training. Holloway received his wings at Kelly Field, Texas, in 1938, and then went to Wheeler Field, Hawaii. He became a flight lead in the Boeing P-26 “Peashooter” and later the Curtiss P-36 Mohawk in the 6th Pursuit Squadron.
After returning to the States in 1941, he took a postgraduate course in aeronautical engineering at the California Institute of Technology. In May 1942, Holloway went to China as an observer in the China Air Task force. He flew four combat missions with Chennault’s American Volunteer Group, the “Flying Tigers,” before it disbanded on 4 July 1942. Next, Holloway became Squadron Commander of the 76th Fighter Squadron, and later Operations Officer of the newly formed 23rd Fighter Group. In January 1943, he took command of the Group. In 19 months of combat, he flew 110 missions. One year later, he returned to the States and worked fighter requirements until the end of the war. In 1946, he became Commander of the Army Air Forces’ 412th Fighter Group, which was equipped with a jet, the Lockheed P-80 Shooting Star.
During 1946-1947, Holloway studied in the first class of the Air Command and Staff School and then began a series of assignments in Air Defense Command. He attended National War College in 1950-1951 and then went to HQ USAF staff where, in 1953, he was promoted to brigadier general. In 1955, Holloway joined Tactical Air Command, first as Vice Commander of Ninth Air Force and later Vice Commander of Twelfth Air Force. As a major general, he returned in 1959 to HQ USAF as Director of Operational Requirements. In 1961, he received his third star and became Deputy Commander, United States Strike Command at MacDill AFB, Florida. General Holloway commanded United States Air Forces in Europe during the critical period when France withdrew its forces from the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and forced closing of nine USAF bases.
In 1966, he became Vice Chief of Staff, HQ USAF and then two years later took command of Strategic Air command (SAC). Under his leadership, SAC was the chief deterrent to the Soviet Union’s nuclear threat and also flew thousands of bombing, aerial refueling, and reconnaissance missions over Southeast Asia. Holloway, with his wife Frances, retired to Florida in 1972 after 39 years of military life.