Purple Heart Profile: James G. Holland

Lieutenant Colonel Jim Holland grew up the son of a career Army officer. He spent his childhood in six states and two countries. In 1964 he graduated from Mount Saint Mary’s College in Emmitsburg, Maryland. After graduation he enlisted in the Army’s College Option Program for Officers Candidate School. He was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant of Infantry in June of 1965 and later graduated from Army Ranger and Parachute training.

On 20 August 1966, Jim was assigned as Platoon Leader with C Company, 1st Battalion, 2nd Infantry Regiment, 1st Infantry Division (The Big Red 1). On August 25, 1966, his second day in combat, a patrol from C Co engaged one of the best Viet Cong main force battalions, the Phu Loi Battalion reinforced by a local force company. The remainder of C Company loaded on a platoon of attached armored vehicles from the 1st Squadron, 4th Cavalry and attacked to rescue the engaged ambush squad. Soon Holland found him self in the middle of one of the major battles fought by the 1st Infantry Division in Vietnam- the Battle of Bong Trang. The close quarter fight was ferocious. For six hours the company fought alone taking heavy casualties, 65 wounded and 13 Killed in Action. Early in the battle Lt Holland was wounded by Vietcong mortar fire while leading an assault on a trench line in the Vietcong’s base camp. He remained with his platoon in spite of his wound. After the battle he spent one week in the 3d Surgical Hospital and then returned to his platoon. He lead that platoon for six more months before he was chosen to be the Aide-de-Camp to the Assistant Division Commander for Operations, BG James F. Hollingsworth. He completed his first tour in August 1967.

Captain Holland returned to Vietnam in November 1968 assigned to the 101st Airborne Division. At Camp Alpha he was diverted to General Abram’s Vietnamization Program. After attending a two week course at the USARV Advisors School, he was assigned MACV in the Cu Chi District of Hau Nghia Province where John Paul Vann boasted that all of his III Corps advisors had been wounded the previous year. Captain Holland was assigned to advise a Regional Forces Group of three light Infantry Companies based in Trung Lap. He was wounded his second time in March 1969 while attempting a night relief of a Regional Force Outpost that was under attack. This time he was struck by grenade fragments, again in his magnetic left leg.

After promotion to Major, Jim completed the Command and General Staff College and obtained a Masters Degree in Management from the University of Central Michigan. His army assignments have been varied. He has served in command positions; been an instructor at the Infantry School at Fort Benning, GA; taught ROTC at Texas A&M University; and served on the staff and faculty of the US Army Special Warfare Center at Fort Bragg, NC. He has also been a joint staff officer on both the Operations and the Intelligence staffs of the US Central Command and served as the C3 Air of the Combined Field Army ROK/US in Euijongbu, South Korea.

LTC Holland’s awards and decorations include the Combat Infantryman Badge, Ranger Tab, Master Parachutist Wings, the Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Bronze Star Medal with “V” with (1 OLC), the Bronze Star Medal with (4 OLC), the Purple Heart with (1 OLC), the Defense Meritorious Service Medal, Army Meritorious Service Medal (1 OLC), Air Medal with “V” and (16 OLC), Army Commendation Medal with (3 OLC), Meritorious Unit Commendation, Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Palm, and the Republic of Vietnam Cross of Gallantry with Gold Star.

He retired from the Army in 1989 and took a job with the Florida Department of Health and Human Services, working with Federal Grants for his first 10 years and now in the Contracts Office of the Department of Children and Families in Tallahassee, FL where he lives with his wife Marilyn.

He is currently serving his fourth year as Commander of the Department of Florida, Military Order of the Purple Heart. In 2005, he was elected as the commander of Tallahassee Chapter 758 of the Military Order of the Purple Heart and has since held the position of Adjutant/Finance Officer.

We salute Patriot LTC (Ret) Jim Holland for his distinguished service to the United States of America and to his fellow man.