Remembering Bud Holland. He flew B-52s.

By Washington, Our Home|June 24, 2014|Eastern Washington, Family, History, Military|51 comments

Bud HollandToday is June 24, 2014. It was on this date twenty years ago that my next-door neighbor crashed one of the biggest, most powerful aircraft ever built into a nuclear storage facility, leaving his kids fatherless and his wife a widow.

With more than 5,000 flight hours under his belt, U.S. Air Force Colonel Bud Holland took his last flight on this day in 1994.

I was 19, home from Washington State University for summer break and working at KXLY News. I worked the early morning shift and was leaving work around 10 or 11 when the call came across the police scanner. Possible plane crash near Fairchild Air Force Base. A few minutes later, reports that it was one of the B-52 Stratofortresses still stationed at the base. We knew the annual air show was coming up that weekend, and speculated about a training accident. We sent some photographers, but couldn’t fully grasp the magnitude of what happened until the footage started coming back to the newsroom.

At first, it was nothing but minute after minute of thick, black smoke, fire coiling up from hotspots in the wreckage and dozens of emergency vehicles surrounding a charred tail section. It was all that remained of the once-crowning achievement in America’s Cold War arsenal. After the flames were finally doused and the investigation began, it soon became clear that all four crewmen had died in the horrific crash…and it was all caught on videotape (warning…this is video of the actual crash).

The newsroom erupted in a frenzy of activity. Having just worked a full shift, I was on my way out the door and decided there wasn’t much I could do to help anyway. I hopped on my motorcycle and headed north, back to our home in the Fairwood neighborhood of north Spokane. When I turned the corner onto Elmwood Street, I saw half a dozen of our neighbors standing outside the Holland’s house next door to ours. I waved as I drove by and pulled into our driveway. Upon entering, I told my mother about what had happened that morning but she already knew. And she told me that Bud was flying that plane.

Bud and Sarah Holland were the parents of Heather, a year younger than I, and Meg, a year younger than my little brother. They were the first people we met when we moved into the neighborhood in 1988, and we spent many a summer together in the community pool behind our houses and just as many winters attacking each others’ forts with snowballs. Our driveway had a basketball hoop embedded in the concrete, and the Holland girls would frequently stop by for a game of HORSE or Around the World.

Sam Shepard as Chuck YeagerOne time in particular, I remember Bud coming over to collect his girls before the family headed out to eat. He had injured his forearm in some frightening way, and it was held together by a plastic medical brace with a dozen metal pins punching through his skin and screwed into his bones. It was terrifying to look at, but the man acted like it was an everyday occurrence. He was always nice to us boys – nicer than I would be raising teenage girls – and I remember thinking how much he reminded me of Chuck Yeager. Well, the Chuck Yeager character played by Sam Shepard in The Right Stuff.

He was also the caretaker of the community pool nearly in our backyard. We, along with the Hollands, were closer in proximity to the pool than any other of the neighbors on the three streets that utilized it, and we often felt like it was ours. There were many evenings we’d be eating dinner in the sunroom and could see Bud closing up the pool for the evening. When I was old enough, I took a part-time job closing up the pool as well and it was Bud who showed me how to do everything…check the PH levels and add chemicals when necessary, scoop the dead bugs and leaves out, pull the cover over the pool and reel it back up again in the morning. He really seemed like a nice guy and a good dad.

B-52_flying_over_cloudsWhen the crash investigation concluded, I was introduced to a much different version of Bud Holland in the media. Arthur “Bud” Holland, was apparently known for being a “hotstick” pilot who enjoyed pushing aircraft beyond their operational limits. In his last flight, Bud was found to have lost control and the aircraft stalled, fell to the ground and exploded. Holland, Lieutenant Colonel Mark C. McGeehan, the 38-year-old copilot, Lieutenant Colonel Kenneth S. Huston, the flight’s 41-year-old radar navigator, and 41-year-old Colonel Robert E. Wolff, acting as safety observer, were all killed instantly. (Source: HistoryLink.org…a great article on this story. Be sure to check it out)

The subsequent investigation concluded that the chain of events leading to the crash was primarily attributable to three factors: Holland’s personality and behavior, USAF leaders’ delayed or inadequate reactions to earlier incidents involving Holland, and the sequence of events during the aircraft’s final flight. The crash is now used in military and civilian aviation environments as a case study in teaching crew resource management. It is also often used by the U.S. armed forces during aviation safety training as an example of the importance of compliance with safety regulations and correcting the behavior of anyone who violates safety procedures. (Source: Video description from above)

Footnote: It wasn’t until I read the HistoryLink article cited above that I learned beneath near the wreckage of Col. Holland’s B-52 on that fateful day was a top-secret underground storage facility for nuclear weapons. Can you imagine what might have happened? (Thanks to reader, Ileana, who pointed out that there was apparently an area of restricted air space on the other side of the tower from the crash site and it is presumably under that space that the storage facility is located.)

 

Share this Post:

About Washington, Our Home

My name is Erich R. Ebel. I was born in Spokane and moved to Colville, Bothell, Tacoma, and back to Spokane again, all before I was 14. I attended Washington State University in Pullman, graduated and moved back to Spokane. In 2000, I enlisted in the United State Army Reserve and spent six months at Fort Leonard Wood, Missouri. Then it was back to Spokane. After six years, it was time to get out and see the world. And what better place to start than Las Vegas, Nevada!

I met my beautiful wife while working at KVBC-TV in Las Vegas, and after three years of suffering in the extreme heat and undeniably long nights, we were called back to Washington State. Landing first in Lakewood, we suffered for a year in an uncomfortably old and small apartment before a shooting and a kidnapping in our complex strongly urged us to leave town. After relocating to Lacey, we have now settled and spend as much time as we can exploring the fine facets of this beautiful state. From Tenino to Tonasket, Brewster to Blaine and Vader to Vancouver, I have enjoyed every moment of this great state.

51 Comments

  1. I think you misread the history link article or else it has been revised since you looked at it. The article does not say that there was a nuclear storage facility underground where the plane landed. It says:

    “The bomber crashed in an area only 50 feet from the base’s underground nuclear weapons storage area, scattering wreckage over five acres.”

    There was apparently an area of restricted air space on the other side of the tower from the crash site and it is presumably under that space that the storage facility is located.

    Check out pages 127-128 in volume 3 of the USAF Air Craft Investigation Board report.
    http://www.foia.af.mil/shared/media/document/afd-100510-029.pdf

  2. Good catch, Ileana! Thanks for reading the post.

  3. I went to high school with Bud. I dated Bud off and on in high school, and some during college. As these were the days before teachers aids, I also assisted his mother with her 4th grade classes (keeping me out of study hall where I would have gotten in trouble). The last time I saw him was just before he went into the Air Force. Since ’94, I have wondered what the back story was – what would have had him change from the extraordinary person I knew in high school to habitually putting himself and others in danger. Many times I have thought about his wife and children. I also know that officials will do what they can to protect some things, so Bud may have been the convenient scapegoat. If you have answers to any of my questions, please let me know.

  4. Very interesting insights, Mary! Thanks for reading and posting your story. To be honest, I don’t have the answer either. My best guess is that it was probably a bit of both…part scapegoat and part Bud being Bud. Either way, it’s a shame.

  5. Sympathy for the guilty is treason to the innocent. There’s many things to be sorry about in this incident, but nobody owes Bud Holland any tears. Save ’em for the other three fine officers who, through no fault of their own, got dragged into Bud Holland’s personal death spiral.

    He was given multiple reprimands and opportunities to change his ways and managed to bamboozle his way through all of them by befriending his bosses. You simply can’t fly a BUFF the way he habitually did it. No test pilot in the country would subject that airframe to the kind of ridiculously dangerous acrobatics Bud seemed to delight in pulling. He liked deliberately scaring the hell out of his crews with near-miss events and had done it several times.

    A pilot’s first duty is to his crew and passengers. End of story. Even his death in the process doesn’t atone for the lives he took.

  6. Thanks for your comments, Art. I agree with you that there are many things to be sorry about with this incident, but from my perspective as Bud’s neighbor I was able to see only a few aspects of his personality. The Bud Holland I saw was a caring father, good-natured guy and friendly neighbor. There’s very little doubt that he was also guilty of those other things you mentioned, but the purpose of my article was neither to vilify him or whitewash the incident. To the contrary, I think his story can be an example of how all of us make decisions – for better or worse – that affect others every day. Even those who make poor choices are nothing more than human. And sometimes the horrible consequences of our choices can have permanent, long-lasting effects which can unfortunately leave widows and orphans in their wake. It’s important to keep our focus on those left behind…the innocent victims of an unfortunate tragedy.

  7. I am a Major in the United States Army, currently attending the Command General and Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, KS. We were just required to read this last week as a case study about Leadership/Leadership failure. I can’t stop reading beyond the case study, this story seems so epically tragic as I’ve watched and re-watched video of previous stunts Bud performed prior to this day. I find it absolutely disheartening that the co-pilots family and young sons were in attendance and watched their father die, and that at the very last possible moment he tried to eject out of his co-pilot seat, or that a third crew member on the flight for observation was on his last flight and was to retire with a ceremony on the ground upon their arrival. All such a waste because no one had the courage along the way to tell this senior leader to cut out the crap. Normalization of Bud’s deviant behavior had gone on for too long. It’s pleasing to know that at the very least co pilot LTC McGeehan reported and made several attempts to rectify Bud’s reckless behavior with seniors/supervisors and superiors unfortunately they too were not courageous enough to demand a change. Great case study for future leaders on the pitfalls of complacency and cowardice.

  8. Thanks for your input, Major. I agree that it is a great case study, I’m glad the USAF has made it required reading and I hope, at the very least, this tragedy can lead to saved lives in the future. Thank you for your service.

  9. Bud was an irresponsible officer who repeatedly ignored warnings to behave and fly appropriately for the airframe and he got other innocents killed with his stupidity. Remember him? No thanks.

  10. Yes, he was most likely responsible for the crash that killed other innocents. But if we don’t remember the past, we could be doomed to repeat it.

  11. Courage is the prerequisite for achieving all other virtues. Unfortunately, for too many in this case doing the right thing was not that important. They should all have been dishonorably discharged. The only way to learn courage is to see it modeled by others. Apparently the military didn’t care enough.

  12. Sounds like holland was a psychopath at worst and a sadist at best.

  13. He was neither. He was an example of the Narcissistic Personality Disorder. This condition is well defined in the psychiatric literature. Of great interest it is quite typical that superiors think the individual can do no wrong but colleagues and subordinates can’t sight him. These individuals occur in all walks of life. We had a Prime Minister who was a fine example!

  14. Bud was a murderer. He killed my uncle.

  15. I witnessed this crash from a construction site I was working on nearby. My father was a 22 year Air Force career NCO maintaining ejection seats. I was born on an Air Force base and spent the first 32 years of my life on and around bases all over the world. There are a lot of crazy things that happen in the military but Bud Holland’s story ranks among the craziest I know of.

    Thanks to the internet I spent quite a bit of time reading about him, his antics and the failure of the command structure above him. From simple things like deliberately and repeatedly parking his private vehicle in a marked fire lane near the headquarters bldg., to having crew members stand in open bomb bays of B-52’s while dropping bombs over Guam to exceeding operational limits of his aircraft that actually caused cracked wing spars, this guy and his commanders endangered untold thousands during his career. Bud Holland the pilot, was an “accident in search of a place to happen”. Tales of his unbecoming conduct are numerous and widespread prior to his crash.

    He may have been a decent guy outside of work but he was arrogant and lacked the professionalism the Air Force constantly preaches. He ended the lives of three other men. We’re lucky he didn’t crash into a densely populated area.

  16. Thanks for your input, Bill. I think your insights are pretty spot-on. And that’s all I wanted to do with this post was underscore that he was not a “monster” or a “murderer” as some have claimed. Rather, he was – as you said – a decent guy outside of work and an accident waiting to happen on the job.

  17. I consider Bud Holland as a hero victimized by incompetent or fearful people and would like to see more pictures of him. Please, ask his widow to release more photos so we can know him better. Bud was cut out to lead a nuclear warhead to Moscow in the event of failure in ICBM systems. He asked permission to make a 360-degree left turn and permission was granted, then in the middle of the maneuver, the little pussies on board may have disturbed his concentration screaming about restricted airspace ahead. Moreover, it’s a tremendous stupidity to have restricted airspace near a runway, because planes can leave the route allowed for many reasons. If the purpose of the restricted airspace was to protect the nuclear weapons, would better strengthen the storage facility with concrete to withstand the impact of an airplane. Please, e-mail me photos of Bud Holland. Best regards.

  18. Thanks for reading the article and commenting. I approved your comment because it’s a valid alternate perspective, however I don’t think the other voices on this thread would agree with you. Also, I do not have any photos of Bud and have no contact with his widow.

  19. “I consider Bud Holland as a hero victimized by incompetent or fearful people” Are you kidding me! I mean really? Victimized? LOL This guy was an AssHat and should have been mandatory retired if not stripped of rank,court martialed and dishonorably discharged. He had a history of Hot dog BS in a multi million dollar aircraft. De sousa, you need to read the official investigation and his background, then tell me he was a hero. Hell, he wasn’t even allowed to fly unless Lt Col Mark McGeehan was part of the Crew. In the Army (I was in 87-97, in fact when this happened I was in Korea, that at Ft Lewis from 95-97 )this guy would have been run out on his ear, but being an “Officer” in the Air Force his actions were covered up. Result 3 other guys killed and Colonel William E. Pellerin court martialed. As an Officer in any of the Branches, you get a reprimand your career is pretty much guaranteed over.

  20. Oh look. The pilot that murdered his crew.

  21. This is a case study at WHINSEC in Spanish to teach international and local officers how lack of leadership can take you to tragedy. When we were studying and discussing the case, I tried to be his attorney, but there were no way I could get this guy out of the hook.

  22. Bud Holland is one of those people that lived to serve as a lesson on what not to do or be.

  23. Hi,

    thanks for writing this article, it is an interesting insight to Bud Holland the Family man, there are always myriad sides to every story, but it is good to listen and learn from all sides, This accident to me is such a terrible tragedy for everyone involved including his own family, it must be so sad for them knowing that the Man who was their husband and father will always be remembered the way he is now remembered, while they like you remember him in an entirely different light.

    Thanks again for a little balance of this terrible tragedy.

  24. Thank you, David. It is nice to know there are others who appreciate that we are all complex and multi-faceted individuals.

  25. I’ve been reading some of the comments and felt compelled to share an experience. As I read the comments I had a question pop in my head. The question was, “I wonder what Bud would say about being a case study”. You see, when I was in the military, I did a stupid thing and became a case study myself. I didn’t get anyone killed or anything close to that, I just said something at the wrong time to the wrong person. Let’s just say a feminist group picked up on what I said and had a ball with, I’ll leave it at to that. Anyway, unbeknownst to me an instructor in a leadership development course decided to use my situation as a case study and gleefully taught it to the masses. I didn’t discover this fact until I sat in his class. I had to admit, listen to my story in the context of his lesson was a but humbling, at first. As the lesson and story went on it was clear to me that my story had been molded to fit the lesson plan, meaning the good parts were used to serve up the shock and awe but the many facts were omitted so that everyone could finish the lesson confident they’d never find themselves in such a situation. Yes, I confronted the instructor afterwards and the look on his face was priceless. I set him straight on what really happened and got the opportunity to set the record straight to the entire class. So I pose the question again, this time for Bud Holland, who won’t have the opportunity to set the record straight. Like my story, I can’t help but wonder how certain facts were omitted so that a lesson could me molded to fit an agenda. Another thought I wish to share; all those higher ups letting a guy remain on flight status. Seriously? That’s a lot of brain power and experience we’re questioning and let’s not forget all those that trained Bud Holland and sat left seat with this guy. And, yet we’re led to believe they all did nothing? It just doesn’t add up. Here why, OER! Officers Evaluation Report. All these higher ups have bosses and a rouge pilot flying around at ground level would be just the thing to sink a higher ranking officer career. Normally, these seat of the pants flyers get canned pretty quickly because no one wants to lose they career over a vote of no confidence. Yes, the facts are pretty damning, I can read. And yes it was widely know that some flyboys could f-up and move up, but they didn’t fly again. I don’t know; every service has their on leadership culture and right now the Air Force is going through some very bad times. Maybe it all true and Bud is guilty as charged. Still, I can’t help but wonder what Bud Holland would say, if he could.

  26. The only contact I ever had with Colonel Holland was during the VP Fair airshow in St. Louis, Missouri in 1993. I lived downtown in a high rise and I always looked forward to the airshows. Most of the pilots flew cautiously, as well they should around those tall buildings.

    And then there was Bud Holland.

    When he showed up I could tell he was different from the pilots who came before and after. Notice I said ‘different’, certainly not better. He took chances none of the pilots ever did. He flew too fast and too close to the buildings. My older brother would come downtown and join me. We’d go to the Fair to watch the airshows. My brother took one look at the way Holland flew and immediately exclaimed “There’s an accident waiting to happen.”

    On the last night of the Fair someone apparently had the bright idea of having Holland fly his plane in before the fireworks. I was up on the roof of my building so I could see the fireworks at the riverfront. Holland came barrelling in overhead at top speed. He was a mere 50 feet above the roof of my building, which was 12 stories tall. Scary stuff. When the crash occurred a year later my brother told me Holland was the pilot we’d seen hotdogging the year before. We were not surprised that gravity finally won.

    I can appreciate your article. You saw a different side of the man, but the only thing most people will remember him for is the reckless way he flew, how he paid for it in the end and how he killed his aircrew. I get it, he was a loving family man and a good neighborhood, but he turned into an idiot at the controls of a plane.

  27. I firmly believe Mr. Holland one of the best pilots to fly. However to achieve that status Holland took risks and pushed both planes and colleges to the edge. I also believe his senior commanders got many accolades on his performance behind closed doors and wanted this man to fly under their supervision. Unfortunately he went over the edge and took his crew with him. Hope much can be learned from this incident. I don’t think it’s fair to put blame on any one person the system failed and much has been learned.

  28. Why in the world do you have a photo of Chuck Yeager’s character from the film The Right Stuff included in a story about a guy who showed the “wrong stuff” in getting his crew killed by a persisting history of wreckless behavior not to mention the possible endangerment of people on the ground. It seems to be a sad case of a heavy driver with his fangs out dreaming being a fighter jock.
    A tragic failure of superiors not having the balls to make a firm decision. They failed everyone including this hot shot BUF pilot.

  29. If you really want to get perspective into this sad commentary on leadership and integrity one needs to read “Darker Shades of Blue, A Case Study of Failed Leadership” by Major Anthony T. Kern. It is history now and as a historian I recognize the value of history and the lessons it provides us. I will not reflect on LCol Holland, I do not think I ever met him even though we flew the same aircraft, B-52G. What I will reflect upon were the multitude of failures by command leadership to address this pilot’s lack of airmanship. When a man consistently parks in a restricted space (probably a fire lane) in front of wing headquarters it tells you a little about the man (see the referenced article) and the wing leadership that should have stopped his flaunting of the rules. He should have been grounded and because he was not properly disciplined the wings Director of Operations, Col Pellerin, was disciplined through court martial. That was not making him a scapegoat any more than Col Holland. In the end, the blame is on a senior leadership that tolerated Holland’s conduct.

  30. The more I thought about this thread the more bothered I became. I understand the writer of the article personally knew Col. Holland. However, three other colonels died that day because of Holland’s flying. To commemorate the 20th anniversary and only mention Holland ignores the colonel in the co-pilot’s seat, Col. McGeehan, who declared, as Squadron Commander, that not one of his crewmembers would fly without him on the aircraft. It also ignores two other victims. Incidentally, McGeehan attempted to eject but he was just too late. The other crewmembers did not have a chance – one not in an ejection seat and the other in a downward ejection seat. To even imply that Holland might have been partially a scapegoat tarnishes the evidence. I would strongly suggest that the writer of the story study the evidence particularly Kern’s writing or even just go to Wikipedia to glean what happened. Maybe at the 25th anniversary you can write something a little more compelling.

  31. This incident is now a case study in the UK for Flying Supervisors. Buds appalling lack of regard for the rules is only usurped only by the paucity of leadership from the spineless top brass above him: sadly the USAF killed him and his crew.

  32. I KNEW COL. BOB WOLFF AND HIS WIFE NAN AS MY SQUADRON COMMANDER AT LORING AFB. IT WAS A DAMN SHAME THAT HE DIED AND THE BEST THE AIR FORCE DID WAS FINE ONE PERSON RATHER THAN GO DEEPER AND BRING MORE BEFORE COURT MARSHAL. A GREAT DAY FOR OUR COUNTRY, HOPEFULLY THE OTHERS RESPONSIBLE FOR NOT GROUNDING HOLLAND HAD MET THEIR FORCED RETIREMENT AT LEAST! GREAT JOB USAF, YOU REALLY LOOKED INTO THIS HARD!

  33. Looks to me a bit like a bomber pilot who never got over not being selected for fighter plot. If he had been a fighter flyer he would have had a better chance of only killing himself. What a fool. If the senior officers had had a fraction of the moral courage of McGeehan it would never have happened. He’s the hero in the case.

  34. You could amend the title to ‘Bud Holland. He flew B52s, but not very well.’

  35. I flew the B-52 in low level combat and I flew Navy and AirForce fighters, Holland was an idiot who never really understood what the BUFF could and could not do…and good men lost their live because of it!

  36. Lt Col Holland. Rock On. I’m not even going play nice with you arm chair nobodies Not even. Your all worthless weak powdered donuts eating soggy born corn flakes. You who sit in a class and let them present this as a case study in failed leadership. OMG. SERIOUSLY YOU DON’T SEE THAT AS MORONIC. DO YOURSELF A FAVOR AND SIT DOWN WRITE AND WRITE A 5 PAGE PAPER ON IRONY THAT IS IT THEN REREAD THE BOOK WE HAD YOU MORONS READ IN HIGH SCHOOL IT WAS CALLED CATCH 22. BOOM! OMG OOP’S HIGH SCHOOL WAS TO TOUGH FOR MOST OF YOU OUT THERE ESPECIALLY THE OFFICERS WITH MBA’s. What’s that a Master of Bullchit Administration! Is that what that stands for?
    Now I KNOW FOR A FACT THEY USE THE WWII MOVIE Twelve o’Clock High as the a model in corporate leadership. Remember this scene early ‘town hall’-style briefing, he sets out his perception of the unit and makes it clear that ‘bad luck’ is no excuse for under performance. I quote “You’re sorry for yourselves” he announces. “Fear is normal. Stop worrying about it. Stop making plans. Consider yourselves dead”. It doesn’t win him any popularity contests, Then Bishop and all his pilots immediately put in for a transfer. He has to get the lawyer Adjunct to help him while he get’s bishop to buy in. Well, did he .. did Bud and Peck push it to much.. the hard-nosed your dead when you walked in here stance too far? Everyone of you rats that doesn’t get it a disgrace to the uniform and I shoot you hang’em high phony tuff twats could shine the man’s shoes let alone have the feel for the wheel or even know what we HAVE NOW SPENT 10 TRILLION DOLLARS TO ACCOMPLISH. DON’T YOU THINK IF THE RUSSIAN NEW EVERYONE OF OUR GUYS WAS A CRAZY MOFO WITH SKILL TO FLY HIGH AND LOW AND FASTER AND UPSIDE DOWN AND BACKWARDS AND WAS COMING FOR THEIR HOMETOWN WITH A BOMBER FULL OF BOOM BOOM THAT THEY WOULDN’T PLUCK AROUND AT ALL got dang right their Skippy peanut butter lips.. NOW YOU MAMBEY PAMBAY PUSSY WILLOWS PULL UP YOUR PANTS AND STOP LETTING YOUR QUEER BOYFRIEND SIT NEXT TO YOU IN THE COPILOT SEATS SO YOU WILL QUIT WORRING ABOUT WHO’S GOING TO LIVE AND DIE NORMAL MEN DO IT FOR THEIR LOVED ONE’S BACK HOME NOT THE LEZZY LIP LOCK BEFORE THE SAM MISSILE HIT’S THEM INSTEAD OF TAKING EVASIVE ACTION LIKE ONLY BUD THE GRAND MASTER OF THE BUF COULD DO AND GET US THE FLOCK OUT OF THERE. YEAH I’M SO SICK OF YOU WHINNY SNITCHES TRYING TO MAKE A OPP’S BETTER FOLLOW THE RULES JOHNNY I THINK HE IS DANGEROUS HE GOT A BREAK UP LETTER FROM HIS BOYFRIEND AND IT MIGHT SPILL COFFEE ON HIS TIGHTIE WHITEYS TO BANK THE BOMBER PAST WHAT EVER THE AUTO PILOT SAYS IT CAN DO. MY GOD GIMME BACK ALL EVERYONE OF YOUR PILOTS WINGS AND GET THE HELL OUT OF MY AIRPLANES! I PAY FOR BRAVE MEN TO SMASH THAT CHIT SMACK IN THE GROUND NOT DRIVE IT LIKE IT WAS A PLYMOUTH CARAVAN . MY GOD WHERE WAS THE MAN’S POWER WHEN HE NEEDED IT. WHERE IS THE JET ASSIST’S HE FLEW THAT BUF DOWN LOWER THAT THE B-1 B SUPER EXPENSIVE NEW GEN BOMBER GOES. HE JUST PROVED YOU DON’T NEED THE HUNK OF JUNK HE JUST PROVED YOU RIPPED US OFF FOR THE LAST THREE BOMBERS MAKING HIM THINK HE WAS IN A MODERN AIR FARCE ! NOPE THIS IS THE DUMB ASSES THAT ARE TRYING TO TELL US THE J-35 IS A BETTER FIGHTER THAN THE ALREADY BOUGHT AND PAID AND CHEAP AS CHEAP GETS THE GREATEST PLANE EVER MADE THE F-16. THE FIGHTER MAFIA GOT IT MADE AND THE AIR FARCE CAN’T WAIT TO HAND OVER YOUR BILLIONS OF DOLLARS TO LOCKHEED CRIMINAL. IT RUNS ON A 250Mhz Processor from the 80’s YES anybody tell you that. yep the 2020 jet runs on 30 year old processor and crashes. YOUR WORRIED ABOUT AIR BUD. YOU ALL SHOULD BE SLAPPED INTO NEXT WEEK.! YOU ASKED OLD BOY TO GO UP AGAINST STUFF THAT BLOW’S YOU OUT OF THE AIR BACK IN THE 73 IT’S CALLED A SAM MISSILE AND GOING LOW IS THE ONLY WAY HE GETS IT THERE AND GET’S HOME AND WE ALL KNOW YOU SPOON FED FLIPPING BOEING BY MAKING THE GENIUS JACK NORTHROP DESTROY THE FLINGING WING .. THE B-2 BOMBER 60 YEARS AHEAD OF IT’S TIME THE OK YES ADMIT RIGHT NOW OR JUST GO WATCH THE UTUBE DOC THEY ADMIT ” TOO REVOLUTIONARY FOR THE TIME” WTF . SAY THAT AGAIN .. TO HIGH TECH. SO JUST LIKE OUR SCHOOL KIDS TODAY YOU DUMBED IT DOWN BECAUSE YOU KNOW YOU WOULD HAVE HAD TO HAND THAT TO THE SOVIETS BECAUSE WE KNOW YOU SPOON FED THEM TECH SO THEY COULD LOOK LIKE THE BOOGIE MAN SO WE WOULD KEEP PAYING TAXES AND SUPPORTING THE WHOLE ROTTEN WORLD. FUNNY WHEN WE RAN OUT MONEY DUE TO THE REAGAN’NOMICS RUSSIA HAD TO SHUT DOWN TOO. YEAH.. WHAT MAKES RUSSIAN JUST UP AND SHUT DOWN LIKE A FIRE SALE.. BLIND MAN COULD SEE IT. NOW MORE ROCKEFELLER SENDING THE OLD GUARD CASH JUST NEVER GOT THE BIG TAKE OVER EUROPE AND REAGAN SURVIVED HIS HIT BY BUSH SO SOMEONES TIME TABLE GOT THROWN OFF. WANNA TALK ABOUT MILITARY FAILS TALK ABOUT HOW THE WENT OUT TO SEA WHEN THE PLANES WERE OVER NEW YORK. THERE WAS AN AIRCRAFT CARRIER WITH BIRDS SITTING RIGHT IN NEW YORK HARBOR. LOOKS JUST LIKE PEARL HARBOR SET UP AS WELL . LOL THEY MISSED THE BIG CARRIERS THIS TIME AROUND TOO. SEE YOU FOOLS DON’T THINK YOUR CONTROLLED BY THE HEGELIAN DIELECTRIC AND WE KEEP TELLING YOU WHAT IT IS BUT YOU NEVER CATCH ON YOUR LIKE THE FROG IN THE SLOWLY WARMING WATER ON THE STOVE PRETTY SOON YOUR JUST DEAD BECAUSE YOUR TO DUMB TO MOVE. AND I CAN’T FIX DUMB SO JUST PAY YOUR TAXES AND SHUT YOUR PIE HOLES UNTIL YOU SPEND YOUR LIFE SITTING OUT THERE ON ALERT BORED OUT OF YOUR MIND WAITING TO GO KILL A FEW MILLION PEOPLE SO YOU CAN HAVE YOUR LOUSY OVERPRICED STARBUCKS AND NEVER HUG YOUR KIDS AND NEVER SCREW YOUR WIFE RIGHT YOU BORING BALD OLD FREAKS. BIGGEST THRILL YOU EVER HAD IN LIFE SAY THANKS BUD. TALLY HO GOOD SHOW. DAM RIGHT PLANT THAT BUF BACK INTO THE STATE THAT FORGOT SHE EVEN BUILT HERE YOU PEOPLE MAKE ME SICK STAY OUT OF MY WAY. AND DON’T SEND YOUR KID IN MY MARINE CORP CAUSE I WILL GET LITTLE JOHNNY KILLED ON HIS FIRST PATROL BECAUSE YOUR RAISED AS DUMB AND CLUELESS LOW IQ SACK OF SASS AND I DON’T LIKE YOU YOUR THIS AND YOUR THAT DAM RIGHT YOU BETTER HOPE THERE IS ENOUGH OF ME’S LEFT TO FLY THE LAST 14 BUF’S WE GOT LEFT OTHERWISE PICK YOUR FAVORITE DICTATOR OR ISLAMIC CLERIC AND GO GET YOU A RUG.. NO I’M PRETTY SURE YOUR YOGA MAT WON’T BE ALLOWED BUT YOU PROBABLY GET A SHAVE AND HAIRCUT OUT BACK FOR TRYING

  37. Holy crap, someone missed taking their meds.

    More importantly though; my condolences to the friends and family members directly affected by this tragedy. No matter who was at fault, it’s mindful to understand these unnamed people have suffered tremendously, and far more than any others by this incident.

    I hope they have found some peace.

  38. Bud and I went to school together, he and I were on the same football team, Bud mom was one of my high school teacher. Bud and spend a lot time together. I remember the day of the crash well.

  39. Bud Holland might have been a nice guy, but he was a horrible pilot with a documented history of very high risk taking. The fact that he received so few reprimands from his superiors only encouraged his dangerous flying habits. Frankly, you have to be an idiot to perform a wing over with a B52. He survived that one, but a 90degree bank angle at 200 ft? The guy was an idiot.

  40. With a wife and two young daughters at home, I really am surprised he took as many risks as he did.

  41. I’ve heard about LTC Holland before, I only found this page because I was doing an image search (there’s something about being able to tie a face to a name).

    Prior to this article, I was convinced he was basically a psychopath in uniform. He wouldn’t be the first, and not the last. Upon the details in this article, it definitely shows that he was most likely a narcissistic personality with authority issues.

    Frankly, I’m amazed he was able to make it through SAC with their zero defects culture, and that whole “if at first you don’t succeed, you’re fired” mentality. It’s possible he realized he could get away with things he couldn’t with SAC gone.

    Who knows, maybe he had some neurological problem that nobody knew about that was causing him to change? It’s impossible to prove as impact would have obliterated all of that.

  42. Remy, how did you fly B-52’s and Airforce and Navy fighters. You went from the Strategic Air Command to Pensacola Navy Flight School and the Luke Airforce Base…wheew, move over chuck yeager for you are the man! Where you a test pilot and could you please tell me what the blisters under the B-52 are..if you are even a pilot at all

  43. I was somewhat surprised that he wasn’t posthumously dishonorably discharged after the accident investigation. He killed his crew members and had a nice memorial as I recall.

  44. As noted above, this article does little to truly show Bud Holland in the light he should’ve been shown in.

    Remembering him? You wrote this article from the point of view of someone who sees him in a positive light. The family man that you saw.

    Other people remember Ted Bundy, or John Wayne Gacy as good people. Kind people. But that is no reason to post an article remembering them. “Remembering Ted Bundy. He studied law.” Or “Remembering John Wayne Gacy. He was an honest entertainer.” Yet they were both scum.

    Who was he? He was a naive and arrogant fool, who while talented behind the controls of the BUFF (slang for B-52, which you probably don’t know as you clearly have little knowledge of aviation) killed three good men, one with his family watching below.

  45. Respectfully, I have to point out that my article is written from the perspective of someone who saw him in a positive light. That distinction is important because I wanted to convey that, while he clearly made some very bad decisions, he was an ordinary human being like the rest of us. Who among us hasn’t exceeded the speed limit with only the faintest consideration that a traffic citation might be the result? Nobody expects that their decision to speed could inadvertently cause a chain of events resulting in a horrific accident that kills a family of five in a minivan.

    To 14-year-old me, who used to build and paint model airplanes and hang them from the ceiling in my bedroom, anyone who actually sat in the pilot’s seat of such a magnificent aircraft was deserving of admiration. Bud Holland taught me how to clean and take care of the neighborhood swimming pool. Last year, I taught some neighborhood kids growing up without a dad how to play baseball. Bud Holland would stare at me coldly when my brother and I were clearly flirting (poorly) with his young daughters. As a father of a daughter myself, I immediately get suspicious when she even talks about boys. I imagine there aren’t many of us who don’t share some of these types of common traits. Besides, there are already numerous articles showing Holland in the light which you prefer. My article provides additional supplemental information from a different perspective.

    However, your comparison of Bud Holland to serial killers Ted Bundy and John Wayne Gacy is just ludicrous hyperbole. Those men killed because they were either psychologically imbalanced or murderously evil (depending on which explanation you subscribe to these days) while Bud Holland was simply irresponsible, foolish and arrogant. There is clearly a mile’s difference between the two. Holland didn’t go up there that day hell-bent on ending the lives of his fellow pilots. He wasn’t plotting for weeks which men he was going to lure into his suicide mission. He went up to show off his remarkable flying skills – like he always did, and always got away with it – only this time, his luck finally ran out.

  46. This of course is just my opinion, but people condemning Bud Holland as crazy and/or a bad pilot are wrong. He couldn’t have made it to the position he was in if that were true. Yes he was a hot dog pilot but he was encouraged to be. These weak claims of all his superior officers failing to act to stop his behavior year after year just doesn’t ring true. He was doing exactly what they wanted him to do and when the worst happened he and one other officer got scapegoated. The brass could have put an end to his behavior at any time. It’s no accident that they didn’t anymore than it’s a fluke that the people truly responsible for this tragedy walked away scott free. I’m not saying Bud Holland was blameless but there was plenty of guilt to go around but it didn’t.

  47. I was in the Air Force myself and unfortunately there are a number of arrogant, over confident, cocky assholes who are fly boys. I dated one. It seems to me that had the leadership been worried about the stupid stuff this guy did, they would have grounded him. Apparently they weren’t all that concerned about his behavior and apparently used him for airshow purposes because of his recklessness. He must have put on a good show. I am very sorry that he killed three other people because he liked being a show off but I am thankful he crashed on the base and didn’t crash at the air show where he could have killed more. As for that stupid woman who thinks he was a hero, she sounds like a frigging whore who has some sick love infatuation with a dead guy and wants to drool over his photos. I am glad she doesn’t have any contact with his widow. The woman sounds mentally ill. For those who criticize the author for writing an article based on his having actually known the guy, people are multi faceted and they present various faces of themselves to various people. Americans have this black and white mentality where people either have to saints or devils and there can be nothing in between. People like that just don’t exist. It’s interesting to learn about who this guy was from all sides as well as experiences people had with him. The lady in the high rise, I can imagine that had to be scary as hell. I even read about where he buzzed his own daughter’s softball game. All in all, that was a pretty damn tragic crash. I commend his co-pilot for stepping up and not allowing old Bud to endanger his airmen. That is courage.

  48. I have returned to this article and it’s comments because what he did was just so appalling for a professional flyer. This is more an example of leadership failure and that is why it is studied by militaries in other countries. That failure is not at all levels since the local squadron commander insisted on flying on his flights. But in talking to an officer who served at higher headquarters at the time I find that his perilous behavior was ignored because he was an unusual “stick”. We want the best of our pilots but we must control their actions.

  49. I continue to return to this article because of its instructional value to current and future leaders. I must say and I insist that Holland was an exception, an outlier who is in no way, representative of professional flyers. He was a much better stick than me but his arrogance consumed him.

  50. As the saying goes: “There are old pilots and there are bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.”

    It’s hard to understand how on earth he wasn’t immediately removed from flight status when he allowed himself to be filmed deliberately clearing a ridge line by a couple of feet. WTF? I remember an old movie where the squadron commander was telling a young pilot, it wasn’t his plane, it belonged to the taxpayers. He literally gave them a black-and-white piece of evidence to pull his wings. There had to be a weird mix of admiration and encouragement along with concern across that chain of command.

    As the C-17 crash in Alaska showed a few years ago, these things still can happen. It’s kind of strange though – I’m not sure why there’s even an expectation of pushing a heavy aircraft at an airshow. I personally would be happy to see a few low passes and some standard turns from a B-52 or C-17. Even the Thunderbirds and Blue Angels operate well within their envelops at air shows.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>
*
*