Wind Gap, PA, US
SPC, CO B, 3D BN, 103D ARMOR, WILLIAMSPORT, PA
06/03/2008, ZORMAT, Afghanistan
SPC Derek Holland was a 2006 graduate of Pen Argyl High School and enlisted in the National Guard during his senior year.
“He was one of the most dedicated soldiers I have known,” said 1st SGT Timothy Horner, the National Guard supervisor. “He just wanted to do his part in serving his county. He wanted to do the job he came in to do.”
Derek was enrolled in the information systems technology program at the Career Institute of Technology, a vocational technical school that serves students from Pen Argyl. Andra Groller, SPC Holland’s teacher at CIT, explained that Derek was quite shy when he first arrived at the school. He became interested in the military during his senior year and wanted to combine this interest with his computer education.
“He was a very quiet … thoughtful kind of person,” said John Smith, principal of Pen Argyl High School.
SPC Holland once wrote, “A man with his head held high and a man with his head held low both have the ability to see whats in front of them. But the man with his head held high can see farthest.”
SPC Holland is remembered by fellow soldiers for his positive attitude and sense of humour. He was a key part in keeping motivation high in his platoon. Although his time in the military was very short, he contributed a lot to his team. Derek was a vital part of the mobility of the unit.
“In the few short months I knew SPC Holland, there have been so many good times and so many moments I will never forget,” added 1st LT Daniel Naylor, a PRT platoon leader. “While driving cautiously across a narrow bridge, he told me he was nervous not because he was scared, but because he didn’t want to roll the vehicle and hurt anyone else. This is the type of selfless person he was.”
Holland was at the beginning of a promising career, explained SSG Eric Mishanski, a squad leader.
“I took young Derek under my wing as I think we all did. We trained, developed, and led him into the man and solider he was becoming,” explained SSG Mishanski. “He was always the first person learning the language, engaging in conversation with the locals, or his favorite — passing out candy to the children.”
“Today, our fallen heroes look upon us to take up the torch and complete the work which they have started,” Chaplain (Capt.) Jonathan Entrekin related, the 1-61 Calvary Squadron’s chaplain. “May our resolve be strengthened and may we follow their lead in ushering in ‘good’ to the people of Afghanistan.”
“The measure of who we are is what we do with what we have.” Vince Lombardi
Derek’s portrait is not yet on a poster