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GEN. ROBERT J. HOLBURY

Brig. Gen.


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In December 1961, Col. Robert J. Holbury, Call Sign: Dutch 10, was assigned as Air Commander, Detachment 1 of the 1129th U.S. Air Force Special Activities Squadron at Groom Lake, Nevada.

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General Holbury presenting Col. Sam Pizzo an award
General Holbury presenting Col. Sam Pizzo an award
Above photo donated by Roadrunner Sam Pizzo, Col. USAF (Ret)

Photograph of a dicing mission flown on 5 January 1945 by Captain Holbury of the 10th Photo Reconnaissance Group. For the mission, flown along the Saar River during bad weather at a very low altitude, Captain Holbury was given a commendation by General Patton, Commanding General of the Third Army, and an endorsement to the commendation by Lieutenant General Vandenberg, Commanding General of the Ninth Air Force.


Dicing the Saar

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We are seeking additional photos and stories about General Holbury's
command of the 1129th Special Activities Squadron

July 2008 - This Month the Roadrunners of Area 51 and the aviation community sadly lost an aviation icon, Brigadier General Robert "Bob" Holbury, the first air commander of Detachment 1, 1129th U.S. Air Force SAS at Area 51. At Bob's request, a small private ceremony will be conducted at his home in Bradenton, Florida. The American flag at the Area 51 Groom Lake facility will be flown at half mast in rememberance of General Holbury. General Holbury is survived by his wife, Lori.

General Holbury, while a captain, was presented a commendation by General Patton, Commanding General of the Third Army with an endorsement to the commendation by Lieutenant General Vandenberg, Commanding General of the Ninth Air Force for his heroic conducting of a historic low altitude dicing mission along the Saar River during bad weather on 5 January 1945 while assigned to the 10th Photo Reconnaissance Group.

Born in Avon lake, Ohio in 1920, General Holbury flew 76 combat missions in the P-38 Lightning, and P-51 Mustang for a total of 142 combat hours. In Vietnam, General Holbury flew 11 different types of aircrft on 149 combat missions for a total of 365 flying hours.

General Holbury was a command pilot. His military docorations include the Distinguished Service Cross, Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross with two oak leaf clusters, Air Medal with 20 oak leaf clusters, Air Force Commendation Medal, Army Commendation Medal, Distinguished Unit Citation Emblem, Air Force Outstanding Unit Award Ribbon, and French Croix de Guerre with silver star.



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