Retired July 1, 1976.
Brigadier General William J. Holton is commander of the 1st Special Operations Wing at Hurlburt Field, Fla. Reporting directly to Headquarters Tactical Air Command, the 1st SOW is the focal point for all special operations matters for the U.S. Air Force.
Born in 1925, in New Bern, N.C., General Holton is a 1942 graduate of the Alliance, N.C., High School. He attended North Carolina State College at Raleigh, N.C., prior to joining the U.S. Amy Air Corps July 19, 1943.
He graduated from the Aviation Cadet Program in March 1945 at Luke Air Force Base, Ariz., and has logged more than 4,300 flying hours since that time. Currently a command pilot, General Holton has flown many different aircraft, including piston-engine fighters plus the F-84, F-86, F-100, A-37, and F-4 tactical jet fighters.
General Holton flew combat missions in the F-84E while on temporary duty with the 474th Tactical Fighter Wing during the Korean conflict. In addition, in Southeast Asia during 1968-69, he flew combat sorties in the F-100 and A-37 fighter aircraft while serving as the deputy commander for Operations, 3d Tactical Fighter Wing, Bien Hoa Air Base, Republic of Vietnam. While commander of the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing at George Air Force Base, Calif., he flew more than 110 hours in F-4D and F-4E tactical fighters.
Besides his combat tours, General Holton has served in Alaska in 1946-49, the United Kingdom in 1951-54 and 1965-68, and Saudi Arabia in 1958-59. He has also spent shorter tours in Canada, Italy, Germany, Turkey and Libya.
General Holton served at Headquarters Tactical Air Command as Chief Command and Control from 1962-65 and as assistant deputy chief of staff for requirements from July 1969 until July 1972. During the last eight months of the latter assignment, he served as commander of the Credible Chase Task Force, a special program involved with the AU-23 "Peacemaker" and the AU-24 "Stallion" aircraft, conducted at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla.
From July 1972 to August 1973, General Holton commanded the 35th Tactical Fighter Wing at George Air Force Base, Calif. He was commander of the U.S. Air Force Special Operations Force at Eglin Air Force Base, Fla., prior to his present assignment in July 1974.
His military decorations and awards include the Legion of Merit with oak leaf cluster, Distinguished Flying Cross, Meritorious Service Medal, Air Medal with six oak leaf clusters and the Air Force Commendation Medal.
He was promoted to the grade of brigadier general effective June 1, 1974.