NOTAM 02-2016 (Holbrook)

Golden Eagle NOTAM
CAPT James Louis “Jim” Holbrook, USN (Ret)

Emeritus Member

Dear Golden Eagles,

It is my sad duty to inform you that Emeritus Member, CAPT James Louis “Jim” Holbrook, USN (Ret), made his Last Take-Off on December 31, 2015 in Carlsbad, CA, at 92 years old.  Jim was born in Wauwatosa, WI, on May 12, 1923. He entered the U. S. Naval Academy , class of 1944, graduating early in ’43. His first duty was aboard USS Bunker Hill (CV-17) as Gunnery Officer during a Western Pacific deployment in WW-II.  Upon his return to the USA, Jim married his beloved wife  Barbara, and their love lasted for 71 years.

In Oct ’44, he entered flight training at Ottumwa, IA, and later received his wings in October ’45 in Corpus Christi, TX.  He went through operational training in Jacksonville and Miami, FL, and reported to Replacement Pilot Training in Los Alamitos and North Island, CA.  He joined   his first squadron VF-81 serving as Gunnery Officer deploying aboard USS Princeton (CV-37) on a WestPac deployment homeported at NAS North Island, CA.  In Oct ’48 Jim attended the US Naval Test Pilot School and after graduation served in Flight Test Division at the Naval Air Test Center, NAS Patuxent River, MD.  He made the first successful bailout from a jet fighter (F6U-1 Pirate) in 1950, after the ejection seat failed to function, while he was a Flight Test Division project pilot at NATC Patuxent River.  He also made the initial constant glideslope carrier landing aboard USS Coral Sea (straight deck) in an F2H-2 Banshee in '51. 

His assignments as COMNAVAIRLANT Staff, Attack Aircraft Material Officer at NAS Norfolk; VF-81 Operations Officer aboard USS Coral Sea (CVA-43) and NAS Oceana; and BuAer, CV Suitability Test Coordinator in Washington, DC; led him to Command of VF-21, the first F11F-1 squadron serving aboard USS Intrepid (CVA-11) and USS Forrestal (CVA-59) from Jan ’57 to Aug ’58.  He served in shore assignments; COMNAVAIRLANT Staff as Assistant War Plans Officer, attended the Armed Forces Staff College, and was Replacement Air Group 4 Staff, Fighter Training Officer at NAS Cecil Field, FL.  He became Commander, Carrier Air Wing SIX aboard USS Intrepid (CV-11) from 5/61 to 7/62 . He graduated from the Naval War College in 1963, was the Secretary to CNO for JCS matters for two years, after which he took command of USS Point Defiance (LSD-31) and made two deployments to Vietnam from '65 to '67.  He became the Director, Organization and Manpower Management for Naval Air Systems Command for two years and then became Commanding Officer of NAS Alameda, CA, for three years for which he was awarded the Legion of Merit. He retired from active duty on August 31, 1971.

Jim and his family moved to Pittsburg, PA, and he served as an executive to Gulf Oil Corp. (now Chevron), followed by several years with a local consulting firm. In 1997, Jim and Barbara moved to Rancho Bernado, CA, to enjoy traveling, bridge and golf.  In 2003, they moved to La Costa Glen in Carlsbad, CA.  Throughout his life, Jim organized and played his trumpet in a variety of jazz bands.  He also enjoyed keeping up with his friends in The Golden Eagles.

Jim is survived by his wife Barbara and their three children: Helen; Nancy Rollings and Sumner; Jim Jr. and Merideth; and six grandchildren, two of whom graduated from USNA, Sara Rollings '98, her husband Chris '98; and Sumner Rollings Jr. '03 wife Monica; and three great grandchildren. A family service is planned for this Spring.

Jim will be missed!

In Sadness,
Don Boecker-Pilot