KEESLER AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
On April 5, 2019 the 334th Training Squadron held the fifth annual memorial event in honor of Airman 1st Class Antoine Holt, 603rd Air Control Squadron command and control battle management operations operator.
The 334th TRS and members of the Holt family gather each year to not only remember the dedication Antoine had during his time in the Air Force, but also his passion for academics while in technical training at Keesler Air Force Base.
“Antoine was really proud of technical school and was always interested in academics,” said Michael Holt, Antoine’s father. “He would call and voice to me how he was trying to finish first in this class. He would say he’s got a chance and would always fill me in on where he stood and what level he was on.”
Antoine was known for academic excellence while growing up and in turn was enticed to join the Air Force for the opportunity to receive free education.
“When he first came to me while thinking about enlisting I was against it,” said Michael. “Antoine’s brain was his gift. I wanted him to focus on that.”
Michael respected that Antoine wanted to take his own path despite his concerns stemming from his own 20 years of service in the U.S. Army.
“Antoine was a young Airman like the students in the 334th TRS,” said Master Sgt. Ernest McGachey, 334th TRS instructor. “Antoine demonstrated the dedication and sacrifice that could be asked of any Airman fresh out of technical school.”
Antoine kept his family close with frequent phone calls although he was serving his country far away from home.
“The day my son passed he had called me that morning,” said Michael. “Before the call ended he told me he had a meeting and would call back after.”
All of Antoine’s siblings wanted to talk to him before the phone call ended, but they never got the chance. After the call Antoine was killed when his tent was hit by a mortar attack at Balad Air Base, Iraq on April 10, 2004.
“You sign a contract to put your life on the line for your country,” said Michael. “It’s one of the top things you’re signing up to do and you have to be aware of that. You never think it’s going to be someone close to you, but it could be anyone.”