Lansing Colton Holden
|Lansing Colton Holden, Jr.|
Lansing Colton Holden, Jr., 1918
|Born||October 8, 1896
Brooklyn, New York City, USA
|Died||November 13, 1938
Vicinity of Sparta, Tennessee, USA
|Service/branch||Aéronautique Militaire (France)
Air Service, United States Army
|Battles/wars||World War I|
|Awards||Distinguished Service Cross with Oak Leaf Cluster, French Legion d'Honneur|
|Other work||Flew for French during Rif War in 1925|
World War I service
Holden dropped out of Princeton and went to France to join the fight. He was originally attached to French aviation's Escadrille 461 in April 1918 to defend Paris against German air attack. He then transferred to the 95th Aero Squadron in July as a Spad XIII pilot. He survived being shot down on 10 August before he scored his first victory on 29 September 1918. After destroying that German observation balloon, it would take him almost a month to score again; on 23 October, Holden teamed with Edward Peck Curtis to down a Fokker D.VII at 1630 hours, and then shot down another balloon solo. Four days later, Holden shot down a Hannover CL. He turned balloon buster again for his last three victories, on 30 October and 3 and 4 November 1918.
Holden returned to college at Princeton, graduated, and took up his father's profession of architect. He returned to France in 1924, and married. The following year, he took up arms again, serving as a captain during the Rif War in Morocco, and winning the Légion d'honneur.
In 1932, he briefly went to Hollywood to work on movies. He then returned to New York. He became an officer in the Air National Guard's 102nd Observation Squadron. On 13 November 1938, while attempting a landing in dodgy weather, he crashed to his death near Sparta, Tennessee.
Honors and awards
- Text of citation for the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC), as promulgated in General Orders No. 46, War Department, 1919:
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Lansing Colton Holden, Jr., First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Montigny, France, October 23, 1918. Lieutenant Holden was ordered to attack several German balloons, reported to be regulating effective artillery fire on our troops. After driving off an enemy plane, encountered before reaching the balloons, he soon came upon five balloons in ascension one kilometer apart. In attacking the first, which proved to be a decoy with a basket, his guns jammed; after clearing them he attacked the second balloon, forcing the observer to jump. His guns again jammed before he could set fire to this balloon. Moving on the third balloon at a height of only 50 meters, he set fire to it and compelled the observer to jump. He was prevented from attacking the two remaining balloons by the further jamming of his machine gun.
- Text of citation for the Oak Leaf Cluster for the Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) as promulgated in General Orders No. 46, War Department, 1919:
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Lansing Colton Holden, Jr., First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near St. Jean de Buzy, France, November 4, 1918. Flying at a low altitude to evade hostile pursuit patrols, Lieutenant Holden attacked a German observation balloon in the face of antiaircraft and machine-gun fire. Although the balloon was being rapidly pulled own, he set fire to it in its nest and also caused much damage to adjacent buildings.
- American Aces of World War I. Norman Franks, Harry Dempsey. Osprey Publishing, 2001. ISBN 1-84176-375-6, ISBN 978-1-84176-375-0.