A 1990 graduate of Lehighton High School recently announced his retirement from the U.S. Air Force.
TSgt. Keith Holland, son of Mr. and Mrs. Stephen Holland of 113 S. Seventh St., Lehighton, was honored during a retirement program held Jan. 13 at Kirtland Air Force Base, Albusquerque, N.M.
Holland served as the flight engineer program manager for the 58th Special Operations Wing, 58th Training Squadron. Kirtland Air Force Base, N.M. He was responsible for the modification, maintenance and operational suitability of the HC and MC-130P aircrew training devices. Additionally, he managed the modification, maintenance and course flow for three syllabi of instruction, directly impacting flight engineer student training and over 25 students annually.
Holland entered the Air Force in December 1990. He went to technical school to become a communication, navigation and defense systems specialist. He spent the next eight years as a journeyman technician working various assignments while stationed at Dyess Air Force Base, Abilene, Texas.
In 1998, Sgt. Holland retrained to become a flight engineer. After attending training at Sheppard Air Force Base, Wichita Falls, Texas; Altus Air Force Base, Altus, Okla.; and Little Rock Air Force Base, Little Rock, Ar., he was assigned to Dyess Air Force Base.
While at Dyess AFB, Holland deployed to Seeb Air Base, Oman, in support of Operation Southern Watch in 1999. During the deployment he lead an ADVON team to set up operations at two locations and was recognized as the most outstanding flight engineer of the deployment. Also while at Seeb, he was the recipient of the Flight Safety Award for helping save a $23 million asset due to a failed sequential heavy load extracting from the aircraft.
In June 2001, Holland was reassigned to the 71st Rescue Squadron. While at Moody Air Force Base, Valdosta, Ga., Holland deployed 13 times in support of Operation Enduring Freedom. During one mission in support of Operation Enduring, Holland and his crew medically evacuated critically wounded Afghanistan children and an aerial bombardment of the wedding party and were credited with saving four lives. In addition to the multiple deployments, Holland served numerous jobs while at Moody to include performing standards and evaluations as well as serving as the group evaluator. While serving in multiple capacities he was promoted to Technical Sergeant.
His flawless dedication to self and service, lead him being selected as an Air Force ambassador for the "Do Something Amazing" commercial for Air Force recruiting.
In 2007, he was reassigned to Kirtland AFB, N.M., and was instrumental in turning around a flight, security and mobility program which was in decay. In 2008, he lead the development and testing of flight simulators worth $36 million. While serving as the program manager, he was instrumental in two events that lead to a 20 percent decrease in simulator testing. He was named Instructor Flight Engineer of the Year in 2008 and 2009 and was the recipient of the Lance Sijan Award in 2010.
His achievements include the Meritorious Service Metal, Air Medal, Aerial Achievement Medal, Air Force Commendation Medal and the Air Force Achievement Medal.
He has a wife, Nicole and daughters, Ava and Megan Holland and a son, Garrett West. He is the grandson of Doreen Kromer of Lehighton and the late Edward Kromer and Vivian Holland of Lehighton and the late Luther Holland. His sister, Stephanie Meckes resides in Franklin Township and a brother, Gregory Holland, resides in Emmaus.