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Everyday Heroes: CHRIS HOLLAND

July 1, 2012

Chris Holland, 50, of Albuquerque, New Mexico, has been an attorney since 1994, practicing primarily in commercial litigation, creditors’ rights, employment law, environmental litigation and university law. He is licensed to practice in a number of tribal courts, and has been nationally recognized in the field of education law. All great accomplishments, but you’re probably thinking, Doesn’t sound like the stuff of Everyday Heroes. Perhaps it would help if I provided a bit more information about Chris.

Chris served as a helicopter pilot in Desert Storm in 1991, before he went to law school at the University of New Mexico (1991-1994). As part of his National Guard training and emergency duties, he has helped guard the U.S.-Mexico border and also performed service in suppression of the devastating Cerro Grande fire in Los Alamos in 2000. During 2004 and 2005, he served in Baghdad, Iraq, as a Judge Advocate General officer.

That ought to be enough to qualify Chris Holland as an Everyday Hero. But there’s more.

In 2005, flying a Bernalillo County Sheriff Department’s helicopter, assisting deputies in a burglary call, Chris’ aircraft took small arms fire. A bullet pierced the chin bubble of his chopper, severed the left tail rotor pedal and entered Chris’s left calf, forcing him to crash-land. He was severely injured in the incident. His passenger was unhurt. The Albuquerque mayor and police chief, and the Bernalillo County sheriff all hailed Chris as a hero, but he credited his quick reflexes to his military training and downplayed his role in the whole affair. Being shot down in Albuquerque in this incident caused him to pledge to his wife, Maureen, that he was done with flying.

But Chris’s country called once again in 2011. Lieutenant Colonel Holland, a 19-year veteran at that time of the New Mexico Army National Guard or the U.S. Army Reserve, then serving as commander of Company C, 1-171st Aviation Regiment, was called up to active duty.

From June 2011 to April 2012, Chris and Charlie Company were assigned to Afghanistan.  The company is a medical evacuation unit that saved lives on the battlefields of Helmand Province, Afghanistan, by transporting the wounded in UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. During that time, Chris and Charlie Company personnel participated in more than 1,450 missions and transported more than 1,800 patients. The 109-soldier unit operated 17 Black Hawks from four locations within Helmand Province. Holland logged more than 150 combat flight hours there as a helicopter pilot.

The Army awarded Holland a bronze star medal, in recognition of his outstanding leadership of C Company. Col. Frank Tate, commander of the 25th Combat Aviation Brigade, presented the medal at a ceremony that took place in Helmand Province on April 12, 2012.

Chris says he is eager to get back to his law practice:  “I have answered the call of duty, and now I’m ready to return to my family and my law practice here in Albuquerque. There is nothing like a year in a combat zone to rejuvenate one’s enthusiasm for the law.”

It is people like Chris Holland who are true Everyday Heroes in America. Chris could have resigned from the National Guard to avoid yet another dangerous deployment to a God-forsaken land on the far side of the world. He could have taken the easy way out, going to a law office each day, living a safe existence, enjoying the love and company of family and friends. But men and women like Chris Holland always put honor, duty, and country first. They never take the easy way out.

It is citizen soldiers like Chris Holland that keep us safe and make us proud. Thank a serviceman or woman today. Your words will reaffirm their commitment to our country.


Joseph Badal is the author of thrillers, including  The Pythagorean Solution, Terror CellThe Nostradamus Secret and Evil Deeds.  His newest novel is Shell Game.  Joe lives in New Mexico, is married, and is the father of two sons.

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4 Comments leave one →
  1. Robert Badal permalink
    July 1, 2012 12:17 pm

    Congratulations to Chris;amazing accomplishments

  2. July 1, 2012 12:53 pm

    Hi Joe, I love the fact that you bring these everyday heroes to our attention.
    Thank you and Thank the heroes.

  3. July 2, 2012 9:48 am

    A very moving story, thanks Joseph! I love your everyday heroes!

  4. HARRY SMECK permalink
    July 4, 2012 10:55 pm

    It is folks like this who form the backbone of America. Doing what needs to be done,
    doing it well, then making a quiet exit, not looking for rewards or cameras. Thanks!

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