Over the past 18 months, or so, I have been remiss in writing.  There has been SO MUCH that has transpired.  I met a wonderful woman, began an exciting courtship, bought an RV, began a MAJOR home renovation, got married and am now finding myself with a bit more time to write.

I never knew how much I missed writing; I never knew how much I enjoyed writing – so brace yourself!  I have a great deal to share with you….

Cheers!  Bob


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A Promise Kept….

Just after I got sober in 1994, I made a promise to myself – to one day return to Ramey AFB, Puerto Rico – to the church I was confirmed in.  From the summer of 1957 to the summer of 1960 I attended Lutheran catechism in that church every Saturday, and for the last year, every Thursday and Saturday.


On the day of my confirmation Chaplain Baumgaertner told us that many would leave the church.  I remember that so vividly, and I remember sitting there imploring upon God that it wouldn’t be me… but, it was.

And so, that promise I made to myself back in 1994 or so, became very important to me; for it was the Lutheran Church (here in Whitehouse, OH) that I initially turned to for help when I decided to get sober.

Last week (June 15 – 21, 2015) I took the opportunity to attend an ‘All-classes School Reunion’ at Ramey.  However, my primary objective was more ‘spiritual’ in nature than anything else – to return to that church, hit my knees and give Thanks to God for saving my life.

On Tuesday, 16 Jun, 2015, before anything else, Carolyn and I went ‘walk-about’ on base to find that church.  And after a bit of time, we found it.  It isn’t a church anymore – it’s a school.  But you know what?  It will always be a church for me!

As we walked along that morning I felt myself  becoming more and more ‘anxious,’ as if I were returning home.  And I suppose I was.  As we walked on the sidewalk I first caught glimpse of what I thought used to be the church, and it was!


And it became even clearer the closer we got.


We walked around a bit, then I found a way in.  There was no one around to ask about going in, but I have always found ‘forgiveness’ easier to receive than ‘permission.’  So, in we went.

It hardly looked like a church inside, the only resemblance were the remaining pews.


But you know, that was good enough for me.  And after a while, I approached the general area I remember sitting in that day – the day I was confirmed – and I ‘hit my knees.’

As I kneeled there, I reflected on how blessed I truly am – and the tears flowed.  Tears of joy; tears of gratitude; tears of humility…






And then I spent time asking for strength to continue on this wonderful journey I am on today… and giving “thanks” for the opportunity to keep a promise made…

IMG_0472So my trip to Ramey was a great experience for me; way beyond the reunion itself, the food, the beaches and everything else… And for this, I am so grateful.

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Military Brats Proclamation, Rough Draft

WHEREAS:  There are over 15,000,000 current and former “military children” living in the United States today; and

WHEREAS:  Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines “brats” as 1. a: an ill-mannered annoying child and/or b: an ill-mannered immature person <a spoiled brat>, it goes on to say 2. the child of a career military person <an Army brat>.

WHEREAS:  It is said that the word  “Brats,” as used in the term “Military Brats,” has it’s origins in the British Army.  (“Brat” was used as an Administrative “status” when a member of the British Army was assigned abroad and could take his family (mostly to India):  BRAT status:  British Regiment Attached Traveler.  Over the years, it was altered to refer only to the children of the military member.  The term not only stuck, it has now been adopted world-wide): and,

WHEREAS:  The term  “Military Brats” has been used in the American Military for over 200 years now, the children of our military being known as ‘Military Brats,’ or just ‘Brats;’ and

WHEREAS:  There are over 15,000,000 current and former “military children” living in the United States today; and

WHEREAS:  Merriam-Webster’s dictionary defines “brats” as 1. a: an ill-mannered annoying child and/or b: an ill-mannered immature person <a spoiled brat>, it goes on to say 2. the child of a career military person <an Army brat>.

WHEREAS:  It is said that the word  “Brats,” as used in the term “Military Brats,” has it’s origins in the British Army.  (“Brat” was used as an Administrative “status” when a member of the British Army was assigned abroad and could take his family (mostly to India):  BRAT status:  British Regiment Attached Traveler.  Over the years, it was altered to refer only to the children of the military member.  The term not only stuck, it has now been adopted world-wide): and,

WHEREAS:  The term  “Military Brats” has been used in the American Military for over 200 years now, the children of our military being known as ‘Military Brats,’ or just ‘Brats;’ and

WHEREAS:  There are some, both within the military and outside of the military community, who have no concept that the term “Military Brat,” is a term of endearment; an “earned” term of endearment.  (The very word itself is used in uppercase to differentiate the word “brat” from the contemporary derogatory concept of the word.  Military Brats are Brave, Resilient, Adaptable and Tolerant.  They embody Pride, Patriotism, Sacrifice, Commitment and many other things.  And yes, they are “Spunky!”); and,

WHEREAS:  These children also serve our community and our nation themselves, whether by supporting their parents with enduring numerous worldwide moves or by providing support at home dealing with multiple deployments; and

WHEREAS:  There was a recent effort to “rebrand” these Military Brats, and thus denying them of their proud heritage and identity.

NOW THEREFORE, I, (name, position/title) of (city/town/state) do hereby proclaim that henceforth and forever, these Military Children, both children and adults, will be forever known and recognized by the Village of Whitehouse, Ohio as MILITARY BRATS.

IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused to be affixed the Great Seal of the (City/County) of (city/town/state) this _______day of ______________, 2015.:

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Military Brat Proclamation Letter, 2

(Written 5 Jan 2015)

Good Afternoon Ms. Kuhn,

A couple-3 weeks ago I sent an email to you inquiring about the possibility of a “Proclamation” from the Village of Whitehouse acknowledging Military Kids as “Military Brats.”  Since that email we have been steadily gaining national acclaim for our cause.  The latest being an article in the “Toledo Free Press.”

Why is this even a “big deal” to me, and other ‘Brats?’  It’s the essence of our heritage, of my heritage.  I am ‘of’ Whitehouse, but not ‘from’ Whitehouse.  I was brought to Whitehouse when I was 4 or 5 days old and lived here until I was 4 – when my Father was recalled to Active Duty on 7 November 1950.  For the next 13 years I lived at 9 different locations in 12 different homes.  I attended 13 schools during that period; 4 high school in 3 different countries.

“Military Brat” is a term given to me some 200+ years ago; not something recently conjured up.  It has a rich history and meaning.  “Brats” are patriotic, proud, tenacious, resilient, tolerant and so forth.  And a much as we consider the term a ’term of endearment,’ there are those, predominately non-military who consider it a derogatory term.

We successfully shut down the initiative by the little Champs to ‘re-brand’ us.  But what if we miss it next time – and there will be a “next time,” if we don’t claim our heritage now!

I moved back to the area in 1991, after my Air Force career.  On one hand, it was the only “home” I knew.  But Whitehouse really isn’t my home – any and all military installations that are enclosed in parameter fences are.  So if I lose my Military Brat heritage, where does that leave me?

There is a similar proclamation working it’s way through the Texas legislature, hopefully to be signed this week.  Once I have that in hand I hope to approach the Ohio State legislature for similar support.  One state at a time, until we gain national recognition for who we are.

It would be a great honor to be recognized by my own “home town;” not as an individual, but a one who also served as a kid – as a Military Brat.  And you don’t think these kids don’t serve?  Try to imagine moving every 2 years of your life; without a choice and never complaining.  I did – and I would do it again, in a heartbeat!

Thank you for you time here.


Robert F. Holliker Jr.
Lt. Col./USAF (Ret.)
Air Force Brat


–  Are you aware that my Great-great Grandfather John Holliker “cleaned up” the area around of what is now known as the Little Quarry?  When he was in his 80’s?

–  Are you aware that my Grandfather Fred Holliker literally fed the folks of Whitehouse during the Great Depression, because they didn’t have any money to buy food?

– Are you aware that Fred fed these folks in the end, at his own expense?  His choice.  He “sold” his share of his inheritance of the Holliker Family Homestead, out on Cemetery Road.

– Are you aware that the folks of Whitehouse came together in 1937 to build a house for my Grandparents, Fred and Vilena Holliker – for feeding them during that Depression? That Ms. Kuhn, is called “spirituality,” and is a great reason why I moved back in 1991…

Posted in Military Brats | 1 Comment

Military Brat Proclamation Letter, 1

(Written 3 December 2014)

Good Morning Mayor Kuhn,

My name is Bob Holliker.  I am writing to propose that the Village of Whitehouse pass a Resolution to recognize the sacrifices and service of Military Children – of Military “Brats” to our village, to our state and to our country.


There are approximately 15,000,000 present and former Military “Brats” in our country at any given time.  We have served our country for generations.  In Pat Conroy’s Introduction to Mary Edwards Wertsch’s book, “Military Brats: Legacies of Childhood Inside the Fortress,” he observes, “…military brats, my lost tribe, spent their entire youth in service to this country and no one even knew we were there.”

Five years ago I suggested to Mr. Bob Latta, R/OH, that he introduce legislation to the Congress, to recognize Military Kids for their service to our country.  To his credit, he did.     H.R. 5333: Children of Military Service Members Commemorative Lapel Pin Act, May 2010, (2).  That legislation has sat “in committee” for almost 5 years now, in one form or another, going nowhere.

Recently I learned of an organization, “The Little C.H.A.M.P.S.,” who’s stated objective is to “bridge the gap between military families and their civilian neighbors.  On the surface, a great idea.  However, when you look deeper into the organization there are some disturbing revelations.

C.H.A.M.P.S. is an acronym for “Child Heroes Attached to Military Personnel.  Well Ms. Kuhn, as a “Brat,” I am not a hero.  And I sure am not “attached” to anyone!  This name was created as a marketing tool.  The book they use, “The Little C.H.A.M.P.S.” was originally titled “The Little Brats.”  However the organization could not procure funding nor support with using the term ‘Brat.’  There are elements, both within the military and the civilian communities, who object to the term “Brat” used in the context with military kids.  And often they hold powerful positions.  Up until now, we (Brats) have known of them, and for the most part, have ignored them.  But we can not ignore them anymore.  They are threatening our Heritage now.

In the C.H.A.M.P.S. literature they claim that they are not out to “re-brand” Military Brats, then we see this:

Screen Shot 2014-11-28 at 6.10.14 PM
(And by the way, their use of the respective service seals is illegal by US Trademark law.)

So, what’s the big deal?  Being a “Military Brat” is a term of Endearment to many of is, to MOST of us.  It’s a term we EARNED!  The distinction is a “brat,” in the contemporary sense, is a ruffian, a hooligan and the like.  “Brats” are patriotic, loyal, resilient, tenacious, charming and good looking.  (Also humble.)

Official Flower of the Military Child

A couple days ago I was approached by the mayor of another village here in NW Ohio.  They want to introduce a Resolution to recognize Military “Brats” for the reasons I described above.  I am so humble, and grateful with the gesture.  However I am “of” Whitehouse.  I was born at Mercy hospital, and brought home to Whitehouse 4 days later.  I then left Whitehouse in 1950 when I was 4.  For the next 13 years I travelled all over the world, often telling people I was ”from” Whitehouse, OH.  But the reality is, I am “from” nowhere.  I attended 11 schools in 12 years; 4 high schools in 3 countries.  I grew up on 7 Air Force bases, two of which are now gone.  I have carried the Pride of being a Military Brat in my heart for all these years.  If this organization is successful in relegating my Heritage to an obscure footnote in military history, where will that leave me, and millions of others?

What’s in a name you might ask?  Everything.  Ask an Anthony Wayne ‘General,’ or a ‘Buckeye,’ or an Afro-American or a Marine.  “Once a Marine, always a Marine.”  We feel the same way…

Our initiative here, to be recognized as “Military Brats,” is beginning to take off on the national stage.  A Huffington Post article came out earlier in the week (3).  I would love to see a Resolution such as I have proposed, from my hometown, recognizing us as “Military Brats,” acknowledging the pride we take in our service to our country.

Flying jets in the Air Force is only “what I did,” being a “Brat” is who I am…

I am more than willing to discuss further, if you would like.

Thank you,

Robert F. Holliker, Jr.
Lt. Col./USAF (Ret)
Air Force Brat


1.  (Introduction to Mary Edwards Wertsch’s book, “Military Brats: Legacies of Childhood Inside the Fortress, by Pat Conroy.



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Whining About Shoeclerks

Shoeclerks:  Essentially ‘non-flying folks’ who are put in jobs to hinder, harass and annoy pilots.  For the most part these folks sit behind nice gray steel desks, creating empires.  We encounter them at Personnel, Finance, Weather, Intelligence, etc.  When these folks rise higher up to the Headquarters Level, they are often referred to as “Command Queers,” with no intentional disrespect to gays.  It is at this level that some pilots – pilots you would not want on your wing, or in your cockpit – make it to their empire.  At any rate…

This is an interesting picture:


It was taken from the front cockpit of the Nr. 5 aircraft in the formation.  And this is what brings me to this morning’s post.  We were not allowed to take off in a 5-ship formation.  As a matter of fact, we were not allowed to have 5 aircraft on the runway at the same time, lest it even gave the appearance of a 5-ship formation!  While I was on active duty I never really explored the origin of the “be no,” I didn’t have the time.  But I imagine it came from some shoeclerk, somewhere.  For there is absolutely no operational reason at all for lining up 5 jets on the runway at the same time.

Take off as a 5-ship?  Oh, hell no!  What are you, stupid?  You send the 4-ship off, as briefed, then roll the 5th jet.  As it was, we had to hold the 5th jet short of the runway until the 4-ship was airborne.  Then Nr. 5 was given clearance to take off.  Took damn-near 3 counties then for him to catch up!  But, some shoeclerk, looking out his window at Headquarters was happy, and that’s what was important, I suppose – never the mission… (Assholes).

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Would You Happen to Have a Magazine?

I was the Flight Commander of “B” Flight, the ‘Beavers,’ in the 560th FTS in the Fall of 1982.  My Assistant Flight Commander, Capt. Dave F., and his wife decided to host a “house-warming” party one Friday night.  Their house had just been completed in a new, upscale development in San Antonio.  All the Flight IPs and students were invited, along with their wives and/or girlfriends.  Perhaps 50 people in all.

One of the students was (Call sign) ‘Sluggo.’  Sluggo got his name because he resembled the cartoon character of the same name from years ago.

sluggo Dave’s wife was a “proper woman,” having been raised in the aristocracy of New Orleans.  She was a beautiful woman, a debutante of Southern Louisiana.  And she was the perfect hostess, gracious to everyone.

As the party rolled along, somewhere around 9 or 9:30 the doorbell rang and Dave’s wife answered it.  Probably not a good move.  When she opened the door, there sat Sluggo, on ‘the throne’ in a portal-potty!

He had gone out, found the nearby portal-potty and slid it over to their front door.  Then he dropped his pants and sat down.  Next he lit a cigarette, picked up his beer and rang the doorbell.  And that’s when Lucy opened the door!

Sluggo looked up and said, “Pardon me, would you happen to have a magazine?”  Thank God Dave was right behind her, and was able to catch her as she fainted…

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Echelon, You Hockey Puck!

This is an “Echelon” formation:


T-38A Echelon


It is used primarily at low level, to maneuver around the traffic pattern and so forth.  It is characterized with all the aircraft in the formation being on the same side as opposed to the ‘Fingertip’ formation where the Nr. 2 aircraft is on one side of the leader, and Nrs. 3 and 4 are on the opposite side.


Randolph AFB, TX T-38s in ‘Fingertip’ formation.

Before entering the traffic pattern, the Leader will command the formation from Fingertip to Echelon to be in a position to pitch out and land…

In the top picture above the formation is in the area, practicing Echelon.  To transition from a straight and level Echelon formation to a turning formation, the Leader will give the Nr. 2 guy a hand signal before rolling into the turn.

We didn’t have a formation for a “Fingertip” formation turn while in Echelon so it was all fairly simple – or so you would think.

One day, out in the area, I led a formation into an Echelon turn.  I gave a hand signal then rolled my aircraft.  Nr. 2, a solo with his head up his ass, rolled up on my right wing – in Fingertip.  Nr. 3, 1Lt. Howard Nicholas, was now in a quandary!  (Howard was the IP).  He wasn’t going to roll up on Nr. 2’s right wing as it was not a ‘legal’ formation.  So he just kind of held back, in Echelon, giving Nr. 2 plenty of space to maneuver, keyed the mic and offered the following words of thoughtful encouragement:  “Echelon, you hockey puck!”

And that was Howard being pissed!

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Would You Like to See the Pictures?

(There are some stories I hear that are just too good not to include here.  This is another of them.)

Joe called just before Christmas and we got to talking about his 2 daughters.  They are both adopted, from China.  After he told me how they were both doing, he shared this story…

When he and his wife decided to adopt they had to go through a rigorous and intensive interview process.  Joe’s wife, having lived with him for over 20 years, knew him pretty well.  As they were heading into the first interview, she stopped and looked deep into his eyes.  Then she said in a bone-chilling voice, “Don’t you dare screw this up!”  And Joe knew, at that very moment, he had only one of 5 possible replies to offer in the interview process:  “Yes Sir, Yes Ma’am, No Sir, No Ma’am and Sir/Ma’am, I don’t know.”  That was it.

And, with his wife putting the ‘Fear of God’ into him, he did fine at that first interview.

The second interview, a ‘one-on-one,’ followed shortly thereafter.  Joe told me that he drew a young 22, 23-years old girl for his interview.  And again, as he went in for the interview, he caught a glance of “the stink eye” from his wife.

The interviewer had a list of questions she was to cover.  As she proceeded through the list it was obvious to Joe that she was becoming more and more nervous.  When she got down near the bottom of her first sheet of questions, she skipped a few and went on to the second page.  Then she came back to the first page, then she came back when Joe answered everything on that second page.  By this time Joe said she was ‘real’ nervous.

She looked at him and said something like, “Mr. D., I’m sorry but I have to ask these questions about your sex life.”  And it was obvious she was about to have a nervous breakdown with it all.

To put her at ease, Joe came back right away with, “Oh that’s okay,” and as he reached for his wallet, he continued, “Would you like to see the pictures?”

And she “lost it!”  I guess her eyes rolled back and she went into a case of the vapors!

As they eventually were approved for the girls, and it has been several years now, Joe felt safe in sharing the story with me.  I don’t know if he has told his wife….


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No Jim, You’re Not Screwed Up…

After I wrote about our Christmas 4-ship last week I received the following reply from Jim N.

“Yes it seems like only yesterday…but I checked the calendar and it says no.  Hey, it’s important to see the other 3 guys in your four-ship right!!  Especially if two of them are solos…right.  So why did ATC paint their ’38s camo shades of gray?!?!!  To make it hard to find #4 during rejoins at 30,000ft?!?!!  This makes no sense or am I just old and screwed up?  Jim”

Jim raises an issue I have thought about for years.  This is one of the ‘gray camo’ jets he talks about:


And these jets below are painted white as they were when Jim and I were at Vance AFB, OK together in the mid-70’s.


There was a purpose for having them white.  Our mission was “student training,” and part of that training involved formation flying.  Getting lost in formation training is just part of it.  It happens.  So now, as Jim observes, on a gray, overcast day, which jet do you think an inexperienced student pilot will spot first?  The whit one, or the spiffy camo one?

The jets were all converted to that spiffy camo paint job in the early ’90’s when the Fighter boys took over T-38 student training.

I instructed in the T-38 for over 13 years; from 1975 – 1988, logging over 3,200 hours in the Jet.  I flew with a lot of guys, and a couple gals.  For the most part the Fighter boys always felt it below their state of life to come back to the Training Command – to fly ‘trainers.’  It was just below their dignity.

Often my first ride with one of these guys was an “orientation ride in humility.”  Yeah, I would endure the briefing laced with such Fighter talk as, “Shit-Hot, and Fuck,” followed by calls of “Fox 1,” or “Fox 2” in the hallway as we walked to the chute room.  Pretty extensive vocabulary, and I had to really concentrate to keep up with it…

Once we got in the Jet it became a different matter.  Usually the F-4 guys and the A-10 guys caught on pretty quick.  The guys who flew F-15s and F-16s were a different matter.  (The F-4 had been around for years and was kinda ‘old,’ and the A-10 was the bastard step-child in the fighter world.)  However the differential was that the F-4guys and the A-10 guys knew how to use the rudder; the spiffy jet guys flew with their feet on the floor.  And therein was my opening to teach ‘humility.’  More often than not, the debriefing was quite a bit quieter than the briefing…

In the 90’s Air Training Command (ATC) went through numerous changes.  First the name: it morphed into Air Education and Training Command (AETC – Air et cetera.)  Well swell, I am sure we needed that.  I don’t know how we missed this for so many years?  Then it was decided to go to a “dual track” system of pilot training wherein after basic jet training in the T-37 students would be designated into 2 categories: Fighter/Attack/ Reconnaissance (fast movers) or Tanker/Trainer/Bomber. (‘heavies’)  There were a couple exceptions to these categories, of course, but for the purpose of this conversation, this works.

Now, since the guys only going into T-38s would eventually be going to fighters, it was decided that only Fighter guys should be T-38 IPs.  And I suppose there is merit to this… And to further create the environment the students would be eventually flying in, they repainted the jets to gray camo.  This, in turn, had an additional benefit.  It made the Fighter boys, coming back to the command, feel a lot mo’ better… And that’s important.

So no Jim, you’re not screwed up.  Like me, you’re just ‘old!’  LOL!  However, just think how “shit-hot” they’ll look with a mid-air at 30,000 feet!

Posted in Just Things I Notice, USAF | 2 Comments