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Reenlistment, alert style

  • Published
  • By MSgt Linda Welz
  • 1st AF Public Affairs
Working environments often predicate the conditions for which even the most formal of occasions are carried out. Case in point; the July 16th reenlistment ceremony of Technical Sgt. Gary W. "Hollywood" Holland, Tactical Aircraft Maintenance Craftsman, Detachment 1, 125th Fighter Wing, at the alert facility. 

The oath of enlistment was administered by Lieutenant Col. Mike "Orville" Birkeland, Det. 1, 125th FW Commander, from the cockpit of an alert-ready F-15 Eagle via intercom radio headsets. 

Colonel Birkeland started the jet to conduct pre-flight checks with Sergeant Holland, while the sergeant's daughter, Christian, listened in on another headset. After the checks were complete Colonel Birkeland conducted the reenlistment over the intercom while alert facility team members and Sergeant Holland's wife and daughter looked on.
Having served in the military for 20 years, sergeant Holland has always been an aircraft maintainer. 

"I was active Navy for three years, then Navy Reserve for two. Now I'm active Guard," he said. 

The call sign "Hollywood" was given to him by a Chief Master Sergeant after some of Sergeant Holland's modeling pictures from his younger days were posted in the squadron area. 

No longer modeling, he is now a role-model for his daughter. Different than past reenlistments, this was his first ceremony that his family has attended. 

"It involved my family and gave me a sense of pride. They were pretty impressed." 

The concept for the ceremony belongs to Sergeant Holland. 

"I suggested it. I'd heard of guys going up in a C-130 or KC-135 and reenlisting. It's few and far between that we get a B-model (two-seater) on alert for that. So, I asked for the next best thing, he said. 

"Him (Colonel Birkeland) in the cockpit, me on the headset & my daughter was on the Y headset, which is what we normally use for training." 

His family has been a part of the military since the Korean war, when his father served.
Sergeant Holland has been deployed to Iraq twice and is the youngest of five. 

"My oldest brother, Lieutenant Col. Donnie "Dimpled Balls" Holland (he loved golf), died in Iraq. His F-15E was shot down. That made me want to do my job more and do it better," said Sergeant Holland. 

Sergeant Holland said he will have one more enlistment after this one. 

"For the last one, I'll reenlist in an A or B model, inverted at 14,000 feet. There's no telling what I'll come up with in six years," he said.

(Maj. Richard E. Bittner, 125th FW public affairs contributed to this story)