John M. ‘Jack’ Holmes, World War II B-24 crewman who later became an engineer, dies

John M. “Jack” Holmes Sr., who flew secret missions during World War II in Europe as an Army Air Corps B-24 crewman, and later became a Chesapeake & Potomac Telephone Co. engineer, died April 22 in his sleep at his Parkville home. He was 95.

Jack Milton Holmes was born in Baltimore and raised on Presbury Street. He was the son of Edward Holmes, a Baltimore Sun worker, and Irene Holmes, a homemaker.

He attended Baltimore Polytechnic Institute as a pre-engineering student, but left in the 11th grade to take a job in 1940 at Bartlett & Haywood Co., an iron foundry. There, he operated a milling machine that produced gun carriages.

At 18 he was accepted as an aviation cadet and enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1942 with the hope of becoming a pilot. At various training bases around the country he studied physics, meteorology and flying, then made a series of solo flights.

“He succeeded in school in ways he hadn’t expected before,” said his son, John M. “Jack” Holmes Jr. of Stoneleigh.

While attending flight school at Pine Bluff, Ark., in 1944, he married his high school sweetheart, the former Rita J. “Reet” Owens. The two met at the Walbrook Movie Theater, where he worked as an usher.

The marriage nearly didn’t take place after his commanding officer denied him an overnight pass. However, upon returning from a solo flight in the afternoon, he found a note on his bunk from a sympathetic commandant of cadets who wrote: “The old man has gone duck hunting. Congratulations! Be back by 8 a.m.”

Mr. Holmes was assigned as an armorer aboard a Consolidated B-24 Liberator bomber, responsible for the airplane’s guns as well as being a top-turret gunner.

“He washed out before becoming a pilot. At that time, a lot of the guys who wanted to be pilots were being washed out because the need for pilots had decreased,” his son said in a telephone interview.

While waiting to fly to Europe with his fellow B-24 crewmen, word arrived at Chatham Field near Savannah, Ga., on Christmas Eve 1944 that his wife had given birth back in Baltimore to their first child, Dianne “Dee” Holmes.

He was anxious to see his wife and new baby, but knew getting a pass was highly unlikely.

“Getting a pass was impossible — so I wrote my own, and headed for the Savannah station,” he said in a family memoir. “An MP [military policeman] asked about my pass, so I knew he knew it was a fake, but he let me go. I didn’t tell him about my daughter. Who would believe it anyway?”

Arriving on Christmas, Mr. Holmes reunited with his wife and was able to hold his baby daughter. It was a short visit, as he had to return to Chatham Field by Christmas night. At Baltimore’s Penn Station, packed with wartime travelers, he was unable to purchase a ticket and was officially AWOL. He was, however, able to hop aboard a slowly moving Silver Meteor streamliner passing through the station. A conductor told him the train would not make a stop, but would slow down around 4 a.m. near Savannah so he could jump off.

He did so, and made his way back to base ”undetected,” he recalled. “Was it worth all of that trouble just to see Reet and my new daughter? Yes, it was great!”

In 1945, Mr. Holmes departed from Chatham Field to Europe.

Mr. Holmes and his crew were assigned to the 15th Air Force’s 885th Bombardment Squadron at Rosignano, Italy, southwest of Florence. Their mission was to drop supplies, weapons and Allied agents to partisan groups behind enemy lines in northern Italy and Yugoslavia. They did not know they were participating in secret Office of Strategic Services night missions aboard the B-24s, some of which were painted black with blacked-out windows.

“The 855th bomb squad was a kind of a secret affair, which we didn’t really know then,” Mr. Holmes recalled in the memoir.

“The bomb bay door had been replaced by a chute through which they dropped supplies and ammunition,” his son said. “Some of the Allied agents were afraid to jump from a plane flying so low.”

If an Allied agent who had jumped into enemy territory was captured, he would be treated as a spy and executed.

The crew “received no explanation or information about the missions … drop targets were usually in mountain valleys lit by a bonfire,” wrote his grandson, Will Holmes of Stoneleigh, who interviewed his grandfather for a school project. “Planes occasionally returned with bullet holes on the top of wings and fuselage.”

“Sometimes we flew so low the mountains were above us and they were shooting down at our plane,” Mr. Holmes said in the memoir. “The charts weren’t always so accurate, so sometimes a mountain wasn’t where the pilot expected it to be.”

A 1945 article in Stars and Stripes reported that the 885th “never dropped a bomb in almost 3,000 sorties.”

Mr. Holmes and his crew were bound for the Pacific Theater when the dropping of the atomic bomb ended the war.

He was discharged in November 1945.

“There was no record of their service … when they spoke to discharging officers,” his son said. “Because the missions were kept off the books and were secret, they had to explain what they had done.”

Mr. Holmes returned to Baltimore, where he went to work for C&P Telephone Co. as an installer. He eventually became an engineer, and during his final years with the company managed a pre-construction planning group that worked with the companies building office towers during Baltimore’s redevelopment.

He retired in 1979.

Mr. Holmes was an accomplished carpenter who learned to repair clocks and built several of them. He liked to play golf at the Longview Golf Course in Timonium and also enjoyed relaxing aboard his cabin cruiser, The Impulse.

He also liked taking trips to the Outer Banks, Cape Hatteras and the Shenandoah Valley, and visiting historic sites in the Mid-Atlantic, with his grandson.

Mr. Holmes’ wife of 62 years died in 2006; and his daughter died in 2012.

A Roman Catholic prayer service will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday at Johnson-Fosbrink Funeral Home, 8521 Loch Raven Blvd., Baynesville.

Mr. Holmes is survived by his son and grandson.


© 2018 The Baltimore Sun

Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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Poor Californians Rally to Defeat Democrat Bill to Expand Affordable Housing

YIMBY (chris.wojtewicz / Flickr / CC / Re-scaled)
An attempt by California Democrats to increase affordable housing by ending zoning restrictions near urban transit stations was dropped last month due to a revolt by the urban poor whom the bill was ostensibly intended to benefit.

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Christina Aguilera’s ‘Accelerate’ Produced by Kanye West

Christina Aguilera announced the forthcoming release of her sixth studio album “Liberation,” her first in five years, which will be out on June 15 on RCA Records. She also dropped the first single from the album, “Accelerate.”

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Black Motivational Speaker Claims He and His Wife Were Kicked Out of a Texas Restaurant Because of Their Race

A black motivational speaker says he and his wife were thrown out of a Texas restaurant because they refused to give up their table for a white customer.

Johnny Wimbrey and his wife had been ready to order dinner at Sambuca360 in Plano on Saturday night when the manager asked if they would give up their table, WFAA reports.

Wimbrey said the manager wanted the couple to give their table to a white man who is a regular customer – and became angry when they refused.

‘I said, ‘No, I think we want to sit here. We have a great view. It’s only a table for two.’ So we just declined the offer respectfully,’ he told WFAA.

A heated exchanged between Wimbrey and the manager was captured on a cell phone by the couple.

‘You can pay the tab – you are leaving,’ the manager told the couple outside the restaurant.

‘Why am I leaving?’ Wimbrey asked him.

‘Because I am asking you to leave,’ he replied.

‘Why?’ Wimbrey responded.

‘Because I don’t like you,’ the manager said.

When Wimbrey repeatedly asked the manager what he did wrong, the manager accuses him of trespassing.

‘What you’re doing wrong is you’re trespassing. Time to go,’ the manager told the Wimbreys.

After this, Wimbrey said the manager called Plano police and they decided to leave the scene.

Wimbrey, who has hosted work parties at the restaurant with more than 200 attendees, said race was definitely a factor in the incident.

‘I do believe it’s because of who I am and how I look that they asked me to move tables,’ he said.

Sambuca360 apologized for the incident, blaming it on a ‘mix-up’ at the host stand.

‘Sambuca has no tolerance for discrimination and always wants to make every guest feel welcome and respected,’ it said in a statement to WFAA.

After Wimbrey’s story appeared on a local news network, the story sparked a furious backlash as it spread across social media.

It comes after two black men who were arrested while waiting at a Starbucks store in Philadelphia reached a confidential financial settlement with the coffee chain.

They also dropped legal claims against the city after it agreed to pay each man $1 and committed $200,000 to fund an entrepreneurship program for public school students.

Donte Robinson and Rashon Nelson were arrested on April 12, after a Starbucks manager called police to complain that they had not made a purchase and refused to leave. Police released the men hours later without charges.

However, a video of their arrests was widely shared online, sparking protests and calls for a boycott of the popular chain.

Starbucks Corp, which plans to close 8,000 stores for a half day of anti-bias training on May 29, said Robinson and Nelson will have an opportunity to provide input for the company’s ‘long-term diversity and equity efforts.

The post Black Motivational Speaker Claims He and His Wife Were Kicked Out of a Texas Restaurant Because of Their Race appeared first on American Renaissance.

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Stephon Clark Official Autopsy Released. Family Autopsy Was ‘Erroneous,’ Coroner Says

Six weeks after Sacramento police shot unarmed Stephon Clark to death in a dark Meadowview backyard, police released the county coroner’s autopsy report Tuesday that differs sharply from the family’s private autopsy findings that said he was shot six times in the back.


Among the new findings: Clark was shot seven times – not eight – and three of the shots — not six — were fired into his back.

The findings are starkly different from those presented March 30 by Dr. Bennet Omalu, a noted pathologist hired by the Clark family legal team, who defended his work Tuesday.

A toxicology report also released by police found traces of cocaine, cannabis and codeine in Clark’s system. Codeine and hydrocodone were found in Clark’s urine.

“It is clear from review of the written report and photographic documentation that Stephon Clark was struck by seven bullets, not eight as claimed by Dr. Omalu in his press conference statements and as shown on his autopsy diagram,” wrote Dr. Gregory D. Reiber, a Roseville pathologist who reviewed the county’s autopsy {snip}.


Omalu said at his March press conference that Clark was not facing officers when they opened fire, but that his left side was toward them and the first bullet struck in the side. The force of that bullet spun him around with his back to officers, leading to six rounds hitting him in the back, Omalu said.

Reiber disagreed, saying that the first shot to hit Clark “was most likely” to the left thigh and that it was sustained “either as Clark was walking toward the officers’ position with his left thigh raised, or possibly in the crouching position.”

“At no time does the video show Clark to have the left side of his body facing the officers’ position as shots are fired, nor does the video show him turning around from a left-facing position, still upright, and putting his back squarely toward the officers as there are further shots fired which then dropped him,” Reiber wrote. “The video evidence provides clear refutation of Omalu’s description of Clark’s positioning during the shooting as described in his press conference statements.”


The post Stephon Clark Official Autopsy Released. Family Autopsy Was ‘Erroneous,’ Coroner Says appeared first on American Renaissance.

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THUNDERDOME! Who’s ready for a fight between Tomi Lahren and Candace Owens over Kanye West?

Conservative pundits Tomi Lahren and Candace Owens got into a vicious back-and-forth last night over Kanye West, of all things.

It all started with this Facebook post from Lahren:

Which led to this back-and-forth between the two:

AND BOOM! Here comes the charge of racism:

We DO need this:




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Giuliani puts the kibosh on Stormy ‘payoff’ claim, and throws Laura Ingraham for a loop

Rudy Giuliani dropped what many are calling a bombshell during an interview on Fox News Channel’s Hannity, saying that President Donald Trump paid back his personal attorney, Michael Cohen, the $130,000 paid to porn star Stormy Daniels.

And while Giuliani was adamant that the pay off didn’t involve campaign money, the revelation sent the left into a frenzy because Trump stated on April 6 that he was not aware of the payment — even Fox News’ Laura Ingraham, a former defense attorney, said “that’s a problem,” but is there a simple explanation that’s being missed?

In a panel discussion Wednesday night on FNC’s The Ingraham Angle, contributor Byron York suggested that Giuliani “may not have thought this whole thing through,” prompting an interesting reply from Ingraham.

“If you go on ‘Hannity,’ you better think it through,” she said. “I love Rudy, but they better have an explanation for that, that’s a problem.”

Giuliani told Hannity that the $130,000 payment was “perfectly legal.”

“That money was not campaign money, sorry,” he claimed. “I’m giving you a fact now that you don’t know. It’s not campaign money. No campaign finance violation.”

When Hannity asked if this was because the money was “funneled” through Cohen’s law firm, the former mayor said, “Funneled it through the law firm, and the President repaid him.”

But Giuliani would also say Trump “didn’t know the specifics” of the payment.

Rep. Andy Biggs, R-Ariz., a participant on Ingraham’s panel, had a ready explanation that proved to be much closer to the truth, based on a later clarification by Giuliani.

“I don’t think somebody with President Trump’s income level writes all of his checks, you know what I mean?” he told Ingraham. “It would not surprise me if he authorized a payment and it gets lost in the shuffle. I know that sounds crazy perhaps on a certain level but here’s a guy with a massive income and he’s dealing with a lot of things.”

In a later interview with the Washington Post, Giuliani insisted the disclosure was no gaffe, saying he discussed it with Trump beforehand.

With the anti-Trump forces whipped into a lather over the possibility that Trump has been caught in a lie, Giuliani added more context to his comment with Fox News’ John Roberts — which is being described as “damage control” by the media.

“Rudy Giuliani told me that while reimbursed Cohen for the $130k SD payment, POTUS didn’t know what the money was used for. Giuliani says Cohen merely told the President he had “expenses” for which POTUS reimbursed him,” Roberts tweeted.

The payment is being described in the media as a “loan” because Trump reimbursed Cohen and anti-Trump forces insist it is related to his campaign, which will ensure wall-to-wall coverage.

But there’s so much vagueness in Giuliani’s revelation. In the end, it’s more likely to serve as another rabbit hole the president’s detractors will go chasing down in their quest to destroy him.

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19 details you may have missed in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’

avengers infinity war doctor strange iron manMarvel

Warning: There are massive spoilers ahead for “Avengers: Infinity War.”

Avengers: Infinity War” is out in theaters. While you probably have a lot of questions about the movie and it’s climactic ending, the sequel also contains many references to the comics and 18 Marvel Cinematic Universe movies which came before it.

INSIDER rounded up a collection of the best Easter eggs, callbacks, and nods we noticed while watching the movie and from around the web.

At the start of the film, we’re introduced to Thanos’ four sidekicks.

Disney/Marvel Studios

You may have missed some of their names the first time around, but Corvus Glaive, Proxima Midnight, Cull Obsidian, and Ebony Maw are introduced as the Children of Thanos in “Infinity War.” 

Ebony Maw tells Thor and Loki to smile, because in death they have become “Children of Thanos.” 

They’re in the comics as well, but the movie made a few changes to the group.

Marvel Comics

The Black Dwarf’s name was changed to Cull Obsidian in “Infinity War,” another name for the group of characters. 

Fans may be a bit bummed another female named Supergiant is absent from the movie. 

You can read more on the Children of Thanos here.

Loki tells Thanos and his group they don’t have the Tesseract, they have a Hulk.


It’s a nice little callback to the first “Avengers” movie.

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