About the Author
Charles W. Holmes applied for Aviation Cadet flight training in the United States Air Force in 1953. He was awarded his wings and commissioned a second lieutenant in 1955. After flying the C-47 “Goonie Bird” in Korea and two years in troop carrier operations, he was drafted into the SAC and the B-52 program in 1959, where he stayed for the rest of his career. He had over 7,500 flying hours with over 5,000 hours in the B-52, transitioning from copilot to first pilot to instructor pilot. He had 4 combat tours during the Vietnam War, 3 of which were 6 months each flying as combat crewmember from Guam, Okinawa, and Utapao Royal Thai Air Base. At Utapao, he completed 236 combat missions, receiving 11 Air Medals, the Bronze Star, and Distinguished Flying Cross. Returning to civilian life, he qualified for a teaching certificate in mathematics at Florida State University. He was awarded an M.S in 1975, and a Ph.D. in education finance in 1976. He did Government contract work with the BDM Corporation in Washington, D.C. before joining Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida, teaching economics as a the senior scientist, then later director, of the Aviation Research Center. He was appointed to Bainbridge College, of the University System of Georgia. He taught economics and statistics for twenty years. Chuck is now retired as Professor of Economics Emeritus. Merelyn Holmes had the toughest job in the Air Force—that of an Air Force wife. Merelyn was responsible for welfare and support of wives coping with family separation. There was the recovering alcoholic who would no longer be able to cope and wanted to turn to drink. Merelyn told her to call when this happened. The telephone would sometimes ring in the early evening and they would talk until sunup when the friend would say that she is now all right. She was always available to assist other wives who might have demonstrated embarrassing behavior at the officers club. She remained active in her social responsibilities. She continued teaching Sunday school and other work in chapel programs. She was leader of The Protestant Women of the Chapel and received a Letter of Commendation for her chapel work from the Air Force Chief of Chaplains. She still managed to have time to raise a child of our own while acting as mother and replacing an absent father. Chuck and His wife Merelyn have been married 55 years and live in a waterfront condo in Gulf Shores, Alabama.