WWII fighter pilot ace Besby Holmes dies

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Pacific Historian
Jun 4, 2005
Orange County, CA
I was going to post this in the obituaries thread, but since he was a member of the "Kill yamamoto mission", he deserves a special salute.

GREENBRAE, Calif. (AP) - Lt.-Col. Besby Frank Holmes, a Second World
War fighter pilot who took part in the successful 1943 mission to
kill the Japanese admiral who planned the Pearl Harbor attack, has
died. He was 88.

Holmes, who lived in San Rafael, died of a stroke July 23 at Marin
General Hospital, according to the Marin County coroner's office.

Holmes was a member of the 67th Pursuit Squadron, which flew fighter
planes against the Japanese during the Guadalcanal campaign. In
October 1942, Holmes blew up a beached Japanese ammunition ship.

His most famous mission came after American cryptographers cracked a
Japanese naval code in early 1943 and retrieved a message revealing
the itinerary of Japanese Admiral Isoroku Yamamoto, the architect of
the Pearl Harbor attack.

His was among the 16 fighter planes that ambushed Yamamoto.

"Granted, it was a wild gamble with many odds against success,"
Holmes said in the 1996 book Aces Against Japan II. "But most of us
were pretty good gamblers by then, having gambled our lives on the
early days of the invasion of Guadalcanal."

Born in San Francisco on Dec. 5, 1917, his career included service
in the U.S. Army Air Corps and the U.S. Air Force from 1941 to 1968.
His assignments included Japan, Panama, New Zealand and South

Holmes served in the Second World War, Korea and Vietnam and earned
the Navy Cross, three Distinguished Flying Crosses, the Legion of
Merit and the Air Medal.

CANOE -- CNEWS - World: WWII fighter pilot ace Besby Holmes dies

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