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Interview with Larry Holland, December 10, 2003 | UNCW Archives and Special Collections Online Database

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Interview with Larry Holland, December 10, 2003
December 10, 2003
Two part interview with retired Colonel and Chaplain Larry Holland.
Phys. Desc:

Interviewee:  Holland, Larry Interviewer:  Zarbock, Paul Date of Interview:  12/10/2003 Series:  Military Length  59 minutes


Zarbock: Good afternoon. My name is Paul Zarbock. I’m a staff person of the University of North Carolina at Wilmington’s Randall Library. Today is the 10th of December in the year 2003 and we’re at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. My co-interviewer is John W. Brinsfield, Ph.D., a retired colonel and a chaplain. Today we’re interviewing Larry Holland

Zarbock: Where are you from?

Holland: Dallas, Irving, Texas is my home.

Zarbock: What event or series of events or what person or series of persons contributed to your thinking which ended up in the selection of the ministry as your profession.

Holland: Well there were several people and contributing factors. First of all my family. I grew up in a very Christian based family from my grandparents on down. They weren’t really involved in church regularly until I was probably, I would say we were regularly involved early in my life, but then my father started a construction business and just kind of got out of the habit of going to church. Then we started again in my teenage years.

Basically I started back to the local Baptist church that we attended in Irving, Texas because we hadn’t been in a while and one night on the visitation night as the Baptists like to call it, they had some young people come to visit because they were having a youth rally. The preacher’s daughter and another young woman named Deborah Ewing.

Zarbock: Visitation night is what?

Holland: When the people of the church go out and visit people and invite them to church, especially those who haven’t been in a while. So they invited me to this youth rally. Well I went to the youth rally. It was so crowded we had to move our folks up in the choir loft and I got to sit by this young woman named Deborah Ewing. I fell in love right away.

So since she was going to church regularly, I began to go to church regularly and recommitted dedicating my life to Christ. I was 16 years old and we started dating. I went to a summer camp that summer, a youth Baptist summer camp and there was tremendous preaching and challenges to commit, dedicate your life to Christ. Having already done that I made the decision under that week’s preaching that I wanted to enter the ministry, as we called it back then I surrendered to preach.

That’s about all we knew the ministry was. You were going to be a preacher faster. So I made that decision very early in life, 16 years old. The church that I was in, Sunday school teachers, there was Doug Ford, I never will forget him, my Sunday school teacher, youth ministers, Pastor Higgins, and all these people contributed to my decision, but God called me. I tell young people all the time if they’re even thinking about the ministry, if you’re not called, you need to find something else to do.

So I went back to my girlfriend at the time and said, because I had talked about going to college, medical school and being a doctor. So I asked her what…we were already talking about staying together and marrying which we did, almost 30 years now, but I asked what she would think about me being in the ministry. She was all for it.

So we dated through high school, our freshman year in college and then we married. We dated for four years, I married my high school sweetheart and we’ve been married like I said, it will be 30 years next June. So that’s how I came into the ministry.

Zarbock: What college did you graduate from?

Holland: We started out Hardin Simmons University in Abilene, Texas, a Southern Baptist school. My denomination was Independent Baptist denomination at the time and they wanted us to go to Springfield, Missouri and go to the Bible College. Well we decided against that so we went to Hardin Simmons because we wanted to get a full four year accredited degree and then we went back to our home area there in Irving and after we married, we attended Dallas Baptist University.

So we both graduated from there, my wife graduated with a degree in teaching and I graduated with a Bachelor of Business Administration. I was working full-time and working nights so I started out with a religion major going to school every day but then I got off the night shift and got a good position on the day shift so I switched all my courses to night courses and about the only thing I could get a degree in was business.

I’m glad I did that. It gave me a good base, foundation for everything else I do afterwards because I got everything I needed in seminary. Went on to Fort Worth to attend Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, but by the way while we were at Dallas Baptist, that’s when we left the church that we’d grown up in and became Southern Baptists.

Did that for several reasons. Our denomination was pretty narrow minded, very fundamentalist, very strict and I was just attracted to the things that I saw among Southern Baptists there at Southern Baptist College. One of the biggest things I think their cooperation program, the way the do missions and our independent denomination, missionaries would come home on furlough for a year and they spent all of their time going to church to church, church just to solicit support and donations. They were responsible for whatever they could bring in to a number of churches.

That was tough and I saw missionaries just cry when they couldn’t come up with the money to go back to the mission field. We were always having mission programs in that church. When I saw what the Baptists and choir were doing in a cooperative way of cooling the money for admissions that really attracted me. Because at the time, I was seriously giving thought to becoming a missionary. Didn't work out that I did that. I was very fortunate, we go through a lot sometimes that we don’t understand and I was a youth minister at the Southern Pap Church that we had joined.

They had a great ministry there in north Dallas, but t he church split. It was a nasty, nasty split between the pastor and one of my head professors that went to college. The professor was one of the reasons we joined this church. I love the pastor, he’s the pastor that ordained me well into my seminary career, Corky Ferris, he’s dead now. Anyway out of that split…

Zarbock: On a theological basis or was it more personal?

Holland: It was everything, theological, personal, the direction the church was going. It was really an amazing church. It was growing so it’s a shame that it did split. A lot of people went downtown to First Baptist Dallas. I was just devastated. I was about ready to forget the ministry because of all the pain we were suffering because of that split.

I got a call one day and was asked if I wanted to come to work at First Baptist Dallas as a business coordinator for the music ministry because they had about a $2 million budget just in their music ministry, but they had a minister of music that had spent about $3 or $4 million, took the youth choir to Israel so they said he was going to have to have a manager to help you manage your budget.

So I did that for about a year and then I was about to finish my seminary degree and I told them I was looking for a church, that I wanted to go and pastor. Well lo and behold 28-29 years old at the time, they offered me the ministry of adults position there at the church. So I worked at First Baptist Dallas as one of their ministers on staff with W. A. Crystal for almost three years.

Zarbock: What was the church population?

Holland: They boast a membership of about 25,000 including Billy Graham, but on any given Sunday in the two services, they would run about 10,000 like most any church. I went on to pastor a church and we boasted a membership of about 1200 and we only ran 400 or 500. A lot of people’s names who don’t darken the door of the church. But that was quite an experience working there with First Baptist Dallas.

Men like Paige Patterson, you might of heard of, he’s now the president of Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He was on staff there at Crystal College. Learned a lot of things that I didn't like about Southern Baptists and of course the long battle we had among moderates and conservatives. So I was kind of in the thick of that. Then in 1981 I met John Woods. John Woods was the pastor of First Baptist Church in Waco and as I say I was getting a little bit disillusioned with some of the things going on in convention and some of the things being led by First Baptist so I interviewed for an associate pastor position with John Woods in Waco. We clicked. It was a done deal, they were going to bring me on when they started their next fiscal year in October when they started their budget.

They got into some budget problems, T.V. ministry and some other things so they decided to cut the position of associate pastor. So I did not get to go, but John Woods recommending me, he told me there was only one other person that I’ve ever recommended at one of my former churches and that was Gregg Nuttell, Hee Haw. John had pastored some churches in Kentucky and he said Gregg went to one of his churches but he couldn’t sit still long enough to pastor. He had to get back to the comedy business. Of course he died in a plane crash a long time ago.

John recommended me to the First Baptist Church of Russellville, Kentucky. He was so sorry that I couldn’t come to Waco. He said they were looking for a pastor. He said I pastored there for 15 years and I don’t know, when he said Kentucky, he might as well have said Africa to me. Growing up in Texas, I’d never even been to Kentucky. But we went. I preached to the pulpit committee and they called me and again I was only 30 years old pastoring a pretty influential church. It’s about 175 year old church.

Zarbock: What year was that Chaplain?

Holland: That was 1981. It was county seat town in Logan County north of Nashville there, 30 miles from Fort Campbell, Kentucky. John Woods was still revered by the church and they had about six or seven pastors since he left and run most of them off so a lot of people didn't give me long to stay, but I stayed for almost nine years. It was while I was at First Baptist, Russellville that my journey towards the Army chaplaincy. That’s another long story.

We had a great ministry going, an older church with a lot of elderly people, a lot of World War II vets as we talked about earlier and a whole lot of burying, some marrying, but a whole of burying and a whole lot of hospital visitation from every hospital in Nashville to Louisville and in between and Fort Campbell had a very large hospital, one of the best.

So I was constantly on the road away from family and visiting people in the hospital or shut-ins in their homes.

Zarbock: I assume ____ beyond to you if you didn't.

Holland: Oh yes. They wanted to know why I didn't come if I didn't visit them.

Zarbock: Preacher didn't come to see me.

Holland: Exactly. It was a very small town, a town of about 10-15000. These were the rural type folks that I grew up around. I didn't mention that actually my first pastorate was in Leon, Oklahoma which is my parents hometown and that was a weekend pastorate that I took while I was working m way through seminary. I was interesting to not only pastor amongst the rural, a very small town less than 500 people in the entire town but most of them are relatives.

I was pastoring my home church and they knew me and everything about me that I didn't care for them to know.

Zarbock: It really does give a new definition to home church.

Holland: It was a great time. That was my first pastorate and then I had taken the youth minister’s job in North Dallas there before I went to First Baptist. So I’m in Russellville, Kentucky and began to build a very strong ministry with younger adults. For the first time we were bringing a lot of new people in the church. A lot of the older people didn't like that.

They tended to think that this was their church and all of a sudden they didn't recognize their church anymore and they’d walk in and find some stranger sitting in their pew. That was their pew. Their family purchased that pew when the sanctuary was remodeled 50 years ago. So I had that to overcome. A very large deacon population, we had b 60 deacons in the church, elderly. They would rotate on the Deacon Board for three years, then off for one year and then back on for three years.

I began to bring some young people in. We actually ordained seven or eight new deacons during my time there. Most of them were younger guys. One of the deacons owned the cable composition there, a radio station and later a cable company. So I seized the opportunity to start videotaping my services especially for the shut-ins and get it on his local cable channel in the evenings so they could watch it.

That became quite a telephone ministry. We sunk a lot of money into it. There were people that didn't like that as well. We had just never done it that way before. So I was again kind of little disillusioned with ministry and two things happened. This was about 1985. The dates kind of escape me now. I went on a mission trip to Kenya. Our church was in a partnership with Kentucky and Kenya and I took about eight people from our church with us.

I’ll tell you, it was some of the most tremendous ministry I’ve ever been involved in. the people were just so hungry and thirsty for the word and would flock to you, I don’t care where you went in the rural areas or in the cities and they wanted to read anything you put in their hands. They wanted to listen to you. I had Arthur Kenyan Jewey was the head of the Kenyan Baptist, a wonderful man, a very intelligent. He was my translator.

We fell into sync. We just had a rhythm and we had a wonderful time everywhere we went. Well my wife didn't get to go on that trip because my daughter had just been born and I went back and told my wife as I had felt for years, even as a young person, that I thought God was calling me to mission work. Basically her first reply was, “Well he hasn’t called me yet, so we better pray about it some more. We did apply to the Southern Baptist Mission Board.

Basically the answer came back that I was too old and our children were too old. They really wanted you to go younger and earlier in life when you could adapt to the culture I think better. So that was kind of a disappointment. It was really disappointing.

Zarbock: What year is this?

Holland: That was about 1985-‘86. It was about that same time, Dr. Brinsfield probably remember the dates better than I can, but the unit out of Fort Campbell, the 101st, was coming back from the Sinai rotation and their plane crashed. The community was so tightly knit with Fort Campbell. Fort Campbell very involved in the community, doing things, the soldiers were always out in our annual town’s celebrations and parades, frontier days and things. The community is very involved at Fort Campbell especially when it came to football because we had state champs and they played against Kentucky. We were always on post playing, attending football games.

A lot of chaplains were involved in the local churches out around the county. It was out of that crisis there that a lot of us pastors got involved with the chaplains’ ministering to some of the families that had lost a soldiers in that air crash. I had met some of the chaplains, but I had no prior military experience, no real interest in the military, no one in my family really, a couple of uncles maybe in World War II.

I got to know these chaplains and I got to see what they were doing. I was drawn towards it. At the same time the other thing they shared with me was life is great because they were right there and home every night unless they were on call. They preached right there on the post chapel occasionally, most of them and I was burned out. I was on the road all he time, I was gone from my family and I thought that sounded great. So that was one of the things that interested me.

So I went to my wife and said I think God may be calling me into the Army chaplaincy, what do you think about that? She said she thought that was great. So I applied. I had just finished my D.Min. at Louisville at the Southern Seminary, but I was pastoring. I’d go up there and spend a couple of weeks each summer…

Zarbock: That’s a Master’s of Theology.

Holland: It’s a Doctor of Divinity. So I got my Master of Divinity from Southwest Seminary in Fort Worth, but this is something I wanted to do and I did it on my own and paid for it and worked long, hard hours with the pastorate. They made me use my vacation time to go to seminars but that was the way some of those deacons were. So I just finished my Doctorate of Ministry degree.

Lou Burnett called me…let me back up, the pastor of the Second Baptist Church which was the church we had founded you know, I say we, the First Baptist Church was founded many, many years ago. Don Maconahay, a very good friend of mine, he was prior I think service in Vietnam and he and I had some of the same disillusionments about ministry and one day he said he was going back into the Army. I’m going to be an Army chaplain.

So again I was beginning to express an interest in it, but having had no prior service and this was in the mid to late 80’s during the Reagan build-up years, there was quite a waiting list, people wanting to come on active duty. So the suggestion was, Don said maybe you need to check into the Reserves, serve a year or two in the Reserves and see how you like it and then they’d probably bring you on to active duty,

So I actually put my packet in for Reserve duty and Lou Burnett called me, Southern Baptist at the time and he asked if I would like to go on active duty now. I said it was kind of what I thinking about. Long story short my head was just spinning, it happened so fast, I resigned my church. Got a very good severance package from them so that I could afford to move my family to Dallas while I went to Fort Monmouth, New Jersey to go to the basic course.

So at the age of 36 I went through my midlife crisis and I ran off and joined the Army. That’s what I tell people anyway.

Zarbock: How old were the children at that time?

Holland: Well let’s see, Ben was born in ’82 so he was only 7, Angela was born in 1984 so she was only about five years old. Dan’s 21 now, just turned 21 this last April while I was in Iraq. Angel’s 19 and goes to Baylor University in Waco, Texas.

Zarbock: What do the children think about dad going into the Army?

Holland: Well I think at the time we were hoping for more family time together. Of course this is 1989 okay? Army probably hadn’t had one or two major deployments between the years of closing out of Vietnam and 1989 and we’ve probably had 200 since. The only bad thing about was, let me back up, I got a pinpoint assignment even as I came to the schoolhouse in Fort Monmouth, New Jersey, I knew that I was going to Fort Campbell, the 101st, 30 miles away from where we lived and where the kids had grown up.

So they were still able to have a lot of the same friends and do the same things that they had for all their lives and we stayed at Fort Campbell for three years. The bad thing about it was I joined in January of ’90, that ‘s when I reported to the schoolhouse, got to Fort Campbell late April/May timeframe, went straight into the field, spent most of the summer in the field, had about a one week break and moved my family out to housing because I had been on the housing list for nine months, got into my house on post, got them settled in, went off to Disneyworld for a week.

Then we came back and we were scheduled to go to Panama. It was a three month rotation then. I forget the name of it. So we went to Panama. This is in about September right after school had started. Here’s my wife and kids just now being introduced to the Army, didn't know anything about the Army. Of course I didn't either. I tell people that I was as green as I could be when I came in and it wasn’t Army green. I didn't know the difference between a Humvee and an MRE, all the acronyms.

With no prior contact with the military, they were having a difficult time because I was gone and they’re trying to adjust. Lo and behold we’re sitting in Panama and had just about finished my jungle operations training and was looking forward to receiving the badge or certificate on that and they sequestered us and called us back and told us we were going to Saudi Arabia.

I’d been assigned by Chuck Adams. Chuck Adams put me in the infantry, that was his philosophy, new chaplains coming in, stick them in the infantry. If they could make it there, they could make it anywhere. So I was in the thick of things with the 101st, the Rakkasans, 187th Airborne Regiment and they called themselves the Rakkasans from jumping into Japan in World War II. Rakkasan means person who falls down from the sky with an umbrella.

They were a very elite unit. They whipped me in shape cause I’d never been a runner in my life and of course they ran 10 miles if they ran one. So I was in very good shape going to basic and officer basic and then joining the infantry and going to Panama, came back. I had an EO (executive officer) who was a wonderful Christian man and he came to me during that time. He said “Plan on being gone for a year”.

So we made a tough decision and Chuck Adams didn't like it but he and I talked about that since and we’re okay. I sent my family back to Texas. That’s where their support was. By the way, my wife had been teaching there while I was going through my officer basics so she still had a job offer, had her parents there and that was where her support was. So they went back.

Here I find myself nine months into the Army and I’m off to war. It was again some of the best ministry I probably ever had, some very sincere decisions by soldiers in the desert facing war, giving their lives to Christ.

Zarbock: Would you illustrate that?

Holland: Well when I would do a service out in the field, say they were back-40 we called it at Fort Campbell or even down in Panama, I would have the faithful few that would show up for the service. We got into Saudi Arabia and we flew into, they had completed King Fahd Airport there. We set up Camp Eagle 2 Base. Camp Eagle Base was in Vietnam so this was Camp Eagle 2 Base.

We set up our Bedouin tents that we lived in. My chaplain assistant and I were fortunate to get a tent to ourselves. The first service I had, I rolled the flaps up on that Bedouin tent. I think the day we landed, it was about 120-125 degrees so I was expecting a few to come and sit within my open area, my tent service. I think I had about 250 show up. They were just scattered. I have pictures that show just as far back as you can see from where I stood in my tent.

So the people were very astutely interested in their mortality and their morality at that point. Again I was of the nature not just to dunk them and baptize them, you know, when they showed up. There were 32 that I baptized in the desert in the big huge water ____ that they used for the decontamination units. Had a wonderful chaplain by the name of Guy Lindsay and served with two other battalion chaplains who happened to be Southern Baptists, David Corem who’s retiring this month and Jim Duke who’s with MedCom right now.

So we had just a wonderful team, a wonderful ministry. In the entire brigade, we thought this was interesting when we kind of put together our history, 3rd Brigade of the 101st baptized 101 soldiers while we were in the desert we weren’t shooting for that number, it just turned that way. But Guy Lindsay taught me everything I needed to know as a new chaplain especially in war. He had served in Vietnam, in Korea.

Zarbock: What did you need to know?

Holland: I needed to know what to do. What am I supposed to do? When all the training was going on, all the emphasis towards the out borders and the planning for the war, I just didn't understand all of that because at that day in time we didn't get all that in basic course. So I felt lost. What do I do?

Guy Lindsay said, “Larry, all you’ve got, nobody knows what you’re supposed to be doing either. So take your bible, you sit down up against a tree or sand dune or wherever it is and get out your bible and you just start reading it. Sooner or later someone is going to come up to you and say ‘Hey Chaplain, what are you reading’ and there’s the opportunity to just one on one talk and minister and get out and walk around and see the soldiers. Let them see you with your bible and your chaplain’s kit there and they’ll want to stop and talk to you.”

That was it and that was ministry by walking around because very seldom were you going to have the opportunity as we did that one Sunday to get 250 people to come to your tent and listen to you. So I just needed to know how to do ministry among soldiers and I learned that very quickly.

BRINSFIELD: Chaplain, Herb Kitchens was your division…

Holland: He was. Of course we entered Iraq, the 101st in 1991 after the 30 day air campaign. We flew all the way up in between An-Nasiriyah and As-Samawah and that ‘s where we staged on the river main crossing with the railroads and the highway there. We caught all of the retreating forces coming out of Kuwait. It was pretty heavy fighting that came on.

Zarbock: Did you say you drove there?

Holland: No, we air assaulted in. We sling load, our vehicles but we air assaulted in. I was part of the heavy, what they call the heavy lift. The light Black Hawk fighters went in first and then we followed later that morning and I was in one of the Chinooks with my Executive Officer, a task force and we had about 3 Humvee’s I think within our convoy. Another convoy had gone on and that’s when the bad weather set in, a terrible storm, wind, rain.

It basically shut down everybody else coming in the country, but we were sitting their that night and my executive officer decided we weren’t going to move. It’s a good thing we didn't. We were trying to move about 25, less than 50 ____ was our objective. It took that sister battalion all night long to reach and they lost a couple of Hum-V’s in the mud. So we stayed there and weathered out the storm and then drove in to our objective the next day.

We were there of course until the war ended and were actually flown back to one of the four logistic bases waiting to go back to Saudi. Spent one night there and that’s when Bush ordered us back to squelch some of the civilian uprising there or because of civilian uprising. I think we were hoping that they would succeed. Of course they didn't. So we set there on the Euphrates River for another almost three or four weeks. That was probably about when morale hit its lowest.

We had won the war and they wanted to go home and were sitting there already get stifling hot in March and April, no mission whatsoever. So there was an opportunity again for the ministry.

Zarbock: During that time when absolutely nothing was going on, what were your supplies like? Were you getting food?

Holland: Yes, with Air Assault, the 101st, they are fully self-sufficient and we never went without food or water or supplies.

Zarbock: But no enemy action at that place?

Holland: No, there was …

Zarbock: Boredom.

Holland: Exactly. We had seen all the enemy action we were going to see when they retreated back out of Kuwait, got to Baghdad and then the civilian uprising started there in As-Samarah, An-Nasiriyah areas.

Zarbock: My rather limited military experience suggests to me that when troops get bored sometimes they take that frustration on each other, fights or difficulties like that.

Holland: That’s exactly what happened, yes. A lot of people were not only having difficulty with each other living in foxholes but also the difficulty of not being in touch with anybody back home. We seldom wrote when we were in Saudi Arabia, but occasionally we were able to get a phone call or at least our mail. But we sat there for almost a month with no contact. That was very difficult for a lot of soldiers.

Zarbock: What did you do?

Holland: I again walked around to every foxhole in our perimeter just on a daily basis, just walked around and talked to soldiers. I guess I had maybe two or three Sundays there that I held services, but that was mostly just for our little Headquarters group because the other soldiers were still manning their foxholes just sitting around in the sun. A lot of them were working on their tans. Just again, ministry by walking around visiting with soldiers, talking with a lot of them, praying with them, counseling them.

Zarbock: Was there ever a them of "Chaplain, why are we here?"

Holland: Oh yes, definitely. There was a lot of that when we first went in. You know we’re here for the oil. A lot of soldiers did not support the war, but they knew they were going to have to go and fight it. So we had a lot of that to work through. A lot of dedicated Christian soldiers that have difficulty with the idea that they might have to kill somebody.

Zarbock: Again for the record, for the historic record, how did you respond to questions like why are we here and I’m not too sure I can shoot somebody?

Holland: Well as far as the why are we here, I tried to not get into the politics of it. I did believe strongly that we had a just cause to be there and so I shared that with soldiers, that just as many people failed to stand up to Hitler early in World War II, we cannot afford to let a tyrant like Saddam Hussain just invade other countries. So we were there I think for a just cause. I would try to convince the soldiers of that sometimes. They still didn't agree.

As far as the soldier in battle, we dealt first of all with our own mortality, that we might not come back and that was very difficult for me. Some of these soldiers knew what they were getting into and wanted to go to war and be a part of combat in war and a lot of us didn't. I remember making some audio tapes for my wife and children before we air assaulted into Iraq. It was a difficult thing. I don’t think I’ve listened to it since.

I would talk with the soldiers again about their own mortality and then about the possibility that they might have to take a life in combat. I actually did a series of bible studies and lessons on the warrior soldier using Joshua as a strong figure in the Old Testament. Again I tried to teach them that in my theological belief there is a difference between murder and defending yourself or your country and others in taking a life. Sometimes that is unfortunately necessary. The commandment is Thou Shalt Not Murder”, it’s not Thou Shall Not Kill because sometimes killing may be necessary. I think they mostly all dealt with that.

Zarbock: Who ministered to the minister?

Holland: My Brigade Chaplain, Guy Lindsay, was my pastor. He was my minister. I got very close to him. His tent was just around the corner from mine and I spent hours and hours with him. He was just a very encouraging man, very practical, down to earth, again helped me succeed. There were those low points.

I never will forget probably one of the lowest for me, we were doing a rotating mission of covering, what’s called a covered force. So one battalion would rotate up out of King Fahd Airport there and then the other one would go back. We were up on the coverage force mission which was basically as I understand now nothing more than a speed bump. If Saddam’s tanks would roll across the border, we had a Delta Company missiles on some Humvee’s and that’s about all we would have to stop them.

We were sitting up there and a lot of times there was lot of boredom there because they were just patrolling, waiting and watching during the build-up. Got a letter one day which had picture of my 5 year old daughter, Angela, and her two front teeth were missing and I just broke down and cried. I thought you know I’m never going to see that gapped tooth smile in person. Those teeth will be grown back by the time I get home if I get home. That was one of the low points for me, being away from family. We all had those.

BRINSFIELD: Can you tell us where you went after Desert Storm was over?

Holland: Well we went back to Fort Campbell. We were one of the first to deploy, first in, first out. So we went back. I was scheduled, David Corem had moved up to the aviation unit at that point and he was getting ready to go to Korea and I was going to take his place in the aviation unit. I was really looking forward to that. His PCS got delayed so I didn't get to make that move.

Zarbock: What is PCS?

Holland: Permanent change of station when you get reassigned in the Army. So David was delayed going to Korea for six months. That meant six months longer I had to stay with the infantry unit. Lo and behold we were up for the West Point mission, to go and train the second year cadets for the summer at West Point. So right again after being gone from my family in Desert Field/Desert Storm, I’m off to West Point in three months.

We had moved them back from Dallas, moved them back to Fort Campbell. So we were apart all that summer too, but it was a great experience working with those cadets at West Point. It was while I was at West Point that _____ called me, our installation chaplain and he said he just wanted me to know I had gotten an RFO, a Request for Orders, that you’re going to Korea for one year unaccompanied tour. The wind just went out of me.

He said he got them to hold off at least or the rest of this year. So I got a six month reprieve, got back from West Point and moved over to the Aviation Unit. That was some great ministry work with those helicopter pilots. Sure enough got another RFO, a Request for Orders, in January saying that I’d be going to Korea that summer by myself, one year unaccompanied.

BRINSFIELD: Is this 1992?

Holland: This was ’93, going into January of ’93 now. I called Lou Burnett and I said “I been here almost three years, I’d been gone 18 months and I said I couldn’t do it.” He said he agreed, that my family didn't need to go through this. Lou was very well connected. He said he wanted to make some phone calls. He called me back and said “Larry, would you go for two years with your family”. I told him I’d go anywhere with my family. He said okay and told me we didn't have that conversation.

Lou’s gone now so I can share that I think. Sure enough the new RFO came down, accompanied tour of Korea. He took care of me and ended up having a great time in Korea. When I first got to Korea, I went through culture shock. My assignment was going to be as a garrison pastor of a chapel there in Seoul, Korea. Great position. It was one of the few that a captain has that he pastors a garrison chapel with a support group there.

It’s just a long story but basically the previous chaplain was a Korean American first term chaplain who had just gotten out of seminary and joined the chaplaincy and they sent him right back to Korea to pastor this chapel. Well he turned it into a Korean church is what he did so I had a mess on my hands. I didn't know the Koreans, I didn't understand them, their way of thinking in their life.

It took me six months to really get that settled and get my feet on the ground and start the ministry. Wife and kids went out and started traveling and see the country and she got a job teaching at the elementary school in Seoul. They loved it. I grew to love it. I grew to really love the Korean people. When it came time for my two year term to end, we were in the middle of adding an addition to the chapel. We had gotten command support so I had such a great ministry there. We were just busting at the seams.

We were adding this addition to the chapel so I asked and was approved to stay for two more years. I stayed four years in Korea and it was just a wonderful ministry. My kids still consider that they grew up in Korea because that was their formative years and we were always there together at home. That was the great thing about it. I became my son’s scout master. I’d been involved with him in Cub Scouts some but then we got there and he was in Boy Scouts and I got the troop moved into our chapel so we were the sponsor. I became the scout master and I saw my son and Joe Krantz who’s here now, his two sons and about eight others through their Eagle. The only time I used my T8-50 equipment as a garrison chaplain was when I went with the Boy Scouts camping. That was a great time, my family and my children. In 1997 we were scheduled to make a move again and I asked to go to Germany.

BRINSFIELD: You were there four years?

Holland: Four years, ’93 to ’97 and worked for some great people there. Then we went to Germany and we wanted to see Europe. Thought we might want take the opportunity while we could. Again just a wonderful opportunity to go to Wiesbaden, Germany. My wife stayed with the Department of Defense Schools and was teaching there. Ended up staying for five years. We did our three years and again we were having such a good time.

I hadn’t seen enough of Europe because I’d spent a lot of my time in Bosnia and other places. I was with an air defense unit at that time, 1-4 Air Defense Artillery with the 1st Armored Division. So we decided to do a three year extension. We were fortunate as many are not to get both of my children through one high school in Germany. So it was very stabilizing for my family.

BRINSFIELD: Did you go to Bosnia while you were in Germany?

Holland: Yes with the 1st Armored Division at the Bosnia rotation and my air defense unit went, 1-4 ADA.

BRINSFIELD: Did you go with IFOR-SFOR, 1234?

Holland: It was SFOR-2 I believe. You’re testing my memory now but I think we were the 2nd rotation in.

Zarbock: Now this has appeared on other tapes but what is an SFOR-2?

Holland: The Stabilization Force they called it. The I Force was the Implementation Force when we first went into Bosnia. Then once we had established somewhat peaceful settings, we occupy and that’s a Stabilization Force S4.

Zarbock: So SFOR-2?

Holland: Each six month rotation that the unit would go in, I don’t know what they’re up to now.

BRINSFIELD: Fourteen I think. Was Chaplain Crystal the overall chaplain?

Holland: No, the division chaplain, it’s kind of a strange situation. Rick Rogers was the Division Chaplain, Lamar Griffin was his deputy. As it turned out, they both ended up staying more in Germany in the 1st Armored Division and Larry Goodwell was the Signal Brigade Chaplain, Lieutenant Colonel. So most of the time when I was there and working with “under division”, Larry Goodwell was the division chaplain, he liked to call himself. Rick Rogers didn't like to call him the acting division chaplain, but Larry liked to call himself that.

BRINSFIELD: What was your ministry in Bosnia like?

Holland: Well it was good. We seldom got off the base there. My unit was attached with the Guard mission. There was no Air Defense mission so again a lot of walking around to the towers and just visiting soldiers day and night, heat and cold. A lot of very strong worship services that we led there and that was what I was working in basically in Lamar Griffin’s absence kind of like the deputy with Larry Goodwell.

BRINSFIELD: Did you have much contact with chaplains of other nations?

Holland: Not really, not at that time, we didn't. We were just getting into this civil affairs mode where chaplains would get involved in orphanages or other local religious activities. I never did get involved in any of that. I was too busy there on Tuzla. Some of the other unit battalion chaplains did.

BRINSFIELD: So were you there for six months?

Holland: On and off. Again I went back to relieve Lamar Griffin. I was probably in the country of Bosnia a total of about four months, a little over four months, back and forth over six months.

BRINSFIELD: Take us back to Germany. You were there until 2002?

Holland: When I went back after our Bosnia rotation, I was up for Major. I made it, had not yet _____, that was in January of ’99, but Rick Rogers wanted me to take a brigade but it required moving my family. My son was going into his senior year. I begged to refuse the brigade. He didn't like it, but he let me. Then became ____ major. Chaplain Rick Kubars became the Deputy Division Chaplain, the Division Chaplain for the 1st Armored Division.

He offered me a brigade. Great opportunity, but again he wanted me to move to ____ from Wiesbaden. By this time my daughter is getting ready to go into her junior year. I just did not want to move. He didn't like that either. Long story short is he got a replacement for Lamar Griffin that did not work out. I won’t mention any names. Rick, and I call him Rick, we’re close friends, he’s one of my mentors, called me one day and said, “Larry, I’ll give in here. I’ll let you commute from Wiesbaden if you’ll come over and be my deputy.

Wonderful opportunity that he entrusted me with. Had a great time with him. We got involved in Albania and then Kosovo so it was a very intense time of ministry, but I served as Chaplain Kubar’s Deputy Division chaplain for almost two years there.

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