Friends of Army Aviation President and LTC (Ret.) John “Doc” Emmette Holladay will provide the keynote address at TROY Dothan’s Spring Commencement on Sunday, May 22 at the Dothan Civic Center.
Over 100 undergrad and graduate students will receive their degrees during the 3 p.m. ceremony. Tickets are not required.
LTC (Ret.) John “Doc” Holladay was born in Dublin, Ga. and graduated from Albany High School in 1963. Months after his high school graduation, Holladay enlisted in the Army on Aug. 11 at just 17 years old and served for the next 27 years.
He departed Fort Benning, Ga. in August 1965 as a crew chief on a UH-1D model helicopter. While on his first of three tours in Vietnam, Holladay was selected for Flight School. In November 1967, he graduated as a Warrant Officer 1 and immediately returned to Vietnam as a UH-1C Huey/ AH-1G Cobra Gun Ship Pilot assigned to the 9th Aviation Battalion, 9th Infantry Division stationed at Bear Cat. During this combat tour, he received a combat direct commission to the rank of 2nd Lieutenant for his actions in combat.
Holladay deployed to Vietnam for a third time in 1971 as a Captain where he performed duties as an aircraft maintenance officer, a test pilot and a Standardization Instructor Pilot for all of Vietnam.
During his post-Vietnam military career, he graduated from the Armed Forces Command and General Staff College, served as General’s Aide to two Major Generals, Company Commander for a general aviation maintenance company, Installation Transportation Officer and Army Liaison Officer for the Army Materiel Command as well as participated in Army Aviation Test Activity at Ft. Rucker, Ala.
Holladay retired in November 1990 with two Distinguished Flying Crosses, three Bronze Stars (1 with V device), 59 Air Medals (1 with V device), the Meritorious Service Medal, three Commendation medals, a Combat Infantry Badge and Master Aviator Wings. He also logged 11,500 hours of accumulated pilot time, including 5,100 combat hours.
After retiring from the military, Holladay worked as a helicopter pilot flying offshore in the Gulf of Mexico for Air Logistics from September 1990 to November 1991 and as a military goods traffic coordinator/traffic manager for Covan International from May 1992 through August 1994.
In August 1994, he began a 20-year career as an Account Executive for Carolina Freight American Freightways, FedEx Freight and finally retired from Southeastern Freight Lines in January 2014.
While still enlisted, Holladay graduated from St. Leo University in St. Leo, Fla., with a bachelor’s degree in business administration with a minor in marketing. He later went on to receive a master’s degree in business administration from Webster College in St. Louis, Mo.
In 2014, Holladay was selected to the St. Leo University Alumni Association Board of Directors. He was appointed Chairman of the Bylaws Committee in 2016 and served as President-Elect in 2017, President in 2018 and Past-President in 2019. He resigned from the Alumni Board in 2020.
Since 2015, Holladay has served as President of Friends of Army Aviation, a non-profit public education organization dedicated to presenting the Army Aviation story to the American people through static displays of legacy Army aircraft and an associated ride program.
His tenure with FOAA began when he became a lifetime member of the Army Aviation Heritage Foundation in August of 2013. In 2014, Holladay was appointed as the Vice President for the Friends of Army Aviation, which separated from AAHF in 2015 to become a standalone organization.
Since he became president, FOAA has purchased three UH-1H Huey hulks, was accepted into the Living History Flight Exemption Program, built two additions onto the hangar at a total cost of over $1 million, flown over 21,500 passengers and grew the organizations assets to approximately $4 million and nearly 500 members.