SPC DEREK HOLMAN 3RD ARMORED CAVALRY REGIMENT UNIT;
66 MILITARY INTELIGENCE COMPANY
One of Oroville’s young Heroes. Derek graduated Las Plumas High
in 2001 then went into the Army July 11 of that year. His parents
are Bill and Trish Holman of Oroville and Mary and Mike Truppa of
San Jose. He has a brother Dwight, graduating this year from L.P.
His Dad is an Oroville graduate. Derek followed in his father’s
footsteps in service to his country; Bill served in Vietnam 1969-1970.
Derek’s view of the Iraqi people was that they were friendly to
your face but they live in so much fear, you just don’t know how
they feel. He say’s 80% of them like us. The minority is the problem
and we’re trying to build support. When he left Iraq in February
he said “What a great feeling. You just don’t realize what it is
like over there.” One building that they lived in was next to an
old torture chamber. You could see evidence of torture before the
Iraqi quickly cleaned it up.
Derek was in Basic training when the Towers fell in New York. He
just couldn’t believe his Drill Sgt. when he told them what had
happened. Derek thought a war could come but thought about China
(he remembered them forcing down our plane and missile’s over Taiwan).
In November 2002 Derek went to Korea, then to Camp Wolf Kuwait in
April 2003, which felt like walking into an oven. He was then sent
into Iraq and set up camp at one of Saddam’s orchards. His job was
to find out where Mortar shells were coming from, that were often
fired at their base. In Derek’s words “After three months in Hit
(pronounced Heat) I spent three months in Ramadi and saw a lot of
action. We had a suicide bomber blow himself up at the gate, with
no Americans injured. We did tons of Traffic Control Points searching
cars and the Iraqi people practically use their cars for everything.
Once we found chickens in a guy’s glove box and two sheep were in
the trunk. At night we usually had some close calls with mortar
attacks and we’d go out and try to find the rebels. Almost every
other day we were shot at in one way for three months and then we
were replaced by the 82nd
. We then went to the Syrian
border and did patrols along the border and worked with the Iraqi
Police and searched cars going into the country. We did lots of
great work there but on New Years Day we lost a fellow soldier to
an accidental discharge and I can say it was the worst hour of my
life having witnessed that. For my resolution I told myself that
I/m going to leave a lot of problems and issues in Iraq. I left
Iraq on Feb. 26, 2004 having been on Fox news and the Geraldo Rivera
show during my time there as someone of in the distance manning
a machine gun. I can say I can count my blessings though having
lived through 20 mortar attacks, 3 rocket propelled grenades, 14
accidental weapons discharges, and several rounds of sniper fire.
I won’t disclose to anyone if I’ve killed anyone or not. That’s
kinda personal, but I will say I’ve had a lot of opportunity to
fire my weapon and perform tasks required of me for the day. I can
say that Iraq gave me a lot of insights about life on a very personal
level. I am better today, than how I was yesterday, but the war
isn’t over and I’ve had friends go to other units and found themselves
in Iraq or someone tells me that a loved one is over there. All
I can say to anyone going over there is to write often and keep
a positive attitude. I would like to also thank those who keep their
star in the window, fly their American Flag and support our troops.
For loved ones it’s their war too, but in their homes. For those
who would like to serve their country I can only give my experience
but I can say it was the best think I have ever done in by life.
You can send your fan mail to me personally at my e-mail address-
I hope my readers come to our Memorial Services this Monday,
May 31st, at 11:00, at the Memorial Park Cemetery on
Lincoln Blvd. We want to show that Oroville supports their Veterans.
Let’s make it the biggest turnout Oroville has ever had. I also
want to welcome our first Grandson, Noah Mackenzie Fishkin in to
the world. His proud parents are Paula and Bill Fishkin.