E-mail messages about Bob
From some of Bob's friends and family...
It's 2330 19 March here in the Philippines. Kevin Jones (KJ) and I just spent a couple hours talking about Bob Holler over a few San Miguel's. I suspect that many of my fellow PJs feel the same as I do now. Since Mike McManus phoned me on March 17 to inform me of Bob's unexpected death, my life has been affected more than I anticipated. I feel exhausted but have trouble sleeping. I am angry and irritable for reasons that many around me do not understand. I've forgotten to do things that were on the "To Do List." Simply stated, I have been preoccupied with thoughts about Bob and have a difficult time accepting that he has left us and gone on to be with Mike Perron, Don Towner, and the many other PJs who have left their mortal lives for life in Heaven.
Without any doubt, Bob Holler is now in heaven and is probably puzzled as he looks down at us while we mourn his loss. He knows that we already miss him. He will never be forgotten by those whose lives he saved, his family, his teammates in Pararescue, and the civilian community that he was a part of. I should not be angry at the person who tried to make an "impressive swoop" into the midst of a mass of open canopies on final into a crowded DZ. But I am angry at an experience skydiver (over 8000 jumps) who killed Bob. Bob probably never even saw the person who did a 270° hook turn into him 300 feet above the ground. Bob was doing everything right and still he died. I am angry that I will not share any future moments with Bob remembering the many important times in our past.
My rational self tells me that my anger is wrong and misdirected. But my emotional self is so upset that anger provides relief for reasons I cannot explain. Bob was an important part of many of our lives. We all wish this is a bad dream that awakening will end. But it is reality and I am find little solace in the fact that he lived a full life, full of excitement, full of dreams that came true, and full of friends who terribly miss him now
Susy, Jennifer and Rachel,
Could you please send this to our departments? Thanks, Amy Monette
It is with deep sorrow that I inform you of the passing of Terri & Joel Scarpulla's brother & brother-in-law, Chief Robert (Bob) Holler, USAF.
Many of us knew and corresponded with Bob during his duty in Afghanistan & Iraq in 2002 and 2003. Terri recently sent us e-mails outlining his activities since retiring from active duty a few years ago. Bob continued to serve, even in retirement. I've attached a PDF of all those letters between Bob, Terri and our Engineering group that allowed us to share many of Bob's experience during his tour in Afghanistan/Iraq. Terri was honored to have had the opportunity to extend her big brother and his experiences with you. It made each of you feel like family as you participated in the e-mails, care packages and all of Bobs stories. At a time when she was so worried bout her big brother, she had all of you supporting her and making the experience easier to bear. She appreciates this and knew you would want news of Bobs final chapter.
During his 30 years of military service, Bob served as an Air Force Special Operations Command's pararescueman, also known as PJs. PJs are the only Department of Defense specialty specifically trained and equipped to conduct conventional or unconventional rescue operations. These Battlefield Airmen are the ideal force for personnel recovery and combat search and rescue.
Pararescuemen are among the most highly trained emergency trauma specialists in the U.S. military. They must maintain an emergency medical technician-paramedic qualification throughout their careers. With this medical and rescue expertise, along with their deployment capabilities, PJs are able to perform life-saving missions in the world's most remote areas.
Their motto "That Others May Live" reaffirms the pararescueman's commitment to saving lives and self-sacrifice. Without PJs, thousands of service members and civilians would have been unnecessarily lost in past conflicts and natural disasters.
Chief Robert Holler will be honored by fellow PJs in a jump in his honor vs. the traditional military funeral. Services will be held at:
The Drop Zone
John and fellow PJ's,
It is with great sadness and heavy heart I pass the details of CMSgt Bob Holler's death. He indeed died doing what he loved but it doesn't provide me or his 1000's of friends much comfort at the moment!
The details are as follows: Bob was skydiving at the Skydive Dublin Boogie in Dublin, Georgia yesterday doing POPs record attempt jumps, essentially lot's of skydivers under canopy at once. At approximately 150' feet while on final approach he and another jumper had a body to body midair collision. According to the medics who were immediately on scene, neither Bob nor the Combat Controller Danny Paige (?) would have lived even if they had landed on a surgeon's operating table because the trauma was so great just from the midair collision, not to mention the impact with the pavement.
Bob's remains are still in Georgia and it will be decided within the next 24 hours exactly how and where they will be transported. His truck, RV and dog Dakota will be on their way back to Deland, Florida today where he lived. Shiara (Bob's daughter for those who don't know her) will be there by tomorrow afternoon as will I to help her through the ugly details. We are tentatively planning a memorial service on Friday, 23 March at the Deland Skydiving Center. This will be a military and civilian affair so please bring your beret at minimum. Details will be forthcoming as soon as I can get them out to those on this list.
There was no other like Bob Holler. We have has lost a great man whose impact on the world, especially the Pararescue world, will never be truly appreciated. He excelled at everything he ever did and there was never an appropriate excuse for anything less. He expected and demanded excellence from himself and those around him. You could not help but expect it from yourself just by being associated with him. Personally, I will never be the same knowing and accepting Bob is not here big as life as he has always been for me. My only comfort is I know I'm not alone in feeling the way I do. I hope to see everyone in Florida if you can make it on Friday to celebrate a life lived to the absolute fullest. Blue Skies!
L. D. Jeffries
and Note in Honor of Bob
On behalf of the Joint POW / MIA Accounting Command and the Mobile Diving and Salvage Unit, we would like to send our deepest regrets to the family and friends of Bob Holler.
We were privileged enough to have met Bob on the most recent Bent Prop excursion to Palau and we immediately felt and understood his passion for the Bent Prop mission.
We will continue our efforts here in Palau in memory of Bob.
"Until They Are Home"
George A Mitroka
[The next note is from Joe Maldangesang in Koror, Palau. Joe is the team's long-time master guide, boat captain, translator, legend teller, politician, and betel-nut aficionado. He's the heart and soul of the BentProp team, and has probably saved each team member's butt more than once over the years!]
...I wanted to write to bob's daughter to tell her that her father was a great man and it was an my honor to have meet and know him. Although i've only met him and spent about a month with him, i was touched by him. He was a very open, caring, kind, funny, sincere and one of a kind man i've have met and that not everyone will have an opportunity to meet someone like bob and for that i'm so honored that he became a member of bent prop so that i did have the opportunity to meet him and as long as i live bob will always be living in my memories and in my heart. Not only that he was very brave and a true friend and he will be greately missed but never forgotten by me and my wife and my family.We would like to send our late candolences if that is how you spell it, to his daughter and family for a great loss but never be forgotten and also please let them know that if they ever want to come to palau our home and our hearts will always be open for them.
Next week were probably going up to ngarchelong again for my aunt funeral. if you get a chance to talk to any of bob's family please relay my message. thank you guys very much for keeping me update on everything. Thank you Bentprop for accepting me as a part of your team, because if it wasn't for you guys, i would have not had the opportunity to have know Bob and for that i salute you all for the opportunity.
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