The last known of the Tuskegee Airmen in Nebraska will serve as grand marshal for Saturday’s annual Veterans Day parade in Bellevue.
Robert D. Holts, 93, will lead the Defenders of Freedom Veterans Day Parade, which will begin at 10 a.m. with a flyover by an RC-135S Cobra Ball, courtesy of the 55th Wing at Offutt Air Force Base.
The two-hour parade will move along Mission Avenue, from Jackson to Franklin Streets.
Holts, a resident of Bellevue’s Richmont Terrace retirement community, joined the Tuskegee Airmen in July 1945.
Recognition as one of the Tuskegee Airmen is granted to anyone who served as a pilot or support staff member in the all-black World War II Army Air Forces 332nd Fighter Group and 477th Bombardment Group.
At Godman Field in Kentucky, Holts served with Capt. Benjamin O. Davis, who made history on Oct. 27, 1954, when he was appointed to be the first black general in the Air Force. Holts served Davis as a draftsman, drawing up maps and other important documents.
Holts was born in 1924 in Omaha, one of nine children born to Robert and Eunice Holts. He attended Kellom Elementary School and Central High School before enlisting in the Army Air Forces in November 1942 at the age of 18. He was honorably discharged in 1946 and spent most of the years thereafter in Detroit, serving as a letter carrier for the U.S. Postal Service.
The Veterans Day parade is sponsored by the Greater Bellevue Area Chamber of Commerce.