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First Name: Besby

Last Name: Holmes

Birthplace: San Francisco, CA, USA

Gender: Male

Branch: Air Force (1947 - present)

Home of Record: San Francisco, CA
Middle Name: Frank

Date of Birth: 05 December 1917

Date of Death: 23 July 2006

Rank: Lieutenant Colonel

Years Served:
Besby Frank Holmes

•  World War II (1941 - 1945)
•  Korean War (1950 - 1953)
•  Vietnam War (1960 - 1973)


Besby Frank Holmes
Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Air Force

Besby Frank Holmes was born on 5 December 1917 in San Francisco, CA.

Holmes, a native of San Francisco, CA, joined the U.S. Army Air Corps in 1941 and was sent to Pearl Harbor, HI, for training and gunnery school. On 7 December 1941 when Japanese planes attacked Pearl Harbor, Holmes was among the men who attempted to fight back. At one point he managed to get a plane up into the air.

In 1942, Holmes was assigned to the 67th Pursuit Squadron and took part in the Guadalcanal Campaign. In 1943, Holmes was assigned to an airfield at Guadalcanal when an intercepted Japanese message revealed that Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, commander of the Japanese Pacific Fleet and planner of the Pearl Harbor attack, was on a plane conducting an inspection tour passing nearby Guadalcanal. On 18 April 1943, then Lieutenant Holmes was among the sixteen pilots sent to intercept Admiral Yamamoto, who was with his staff on board two medium bombers. The squadron intercepted the Japanese planes and, in the following battle, the bomber carrying Admiral Yamamoto was shot down either by Captain Thomas Lanphier or 1st Lieutenant Rex Barber, while Lieutenant Holmes shot down the second.

By the end of World War II, Holmes had been awarded the Navy Cross and was honored as an ace with five credited kills. He remained in the military serving both in the Korea and Vietnam Wars until his retirement in 1968 at the rank of Lieutenant Colonel.

Medals and Awards

Navy Cross
Distinguished Flying Cross (3 Awards)
Legion of Merit
Air Medal

Death and Burial

Lieutenant Colonel Besby Frank Holmes died on 23 July 2006 in Greenbrae, CA. He is buried at Golden Gate National Cemetery in San Bruno, CA.

Honoree ID: 2645   Created by: MHOH




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