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Name: Lansing Colton "Denny" Holden, Jr. Balloon-Buster
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) with Oak Leaf Cluster Lansing Holden
Country: United States
Rank: Lieutenant
Service: United States Air Service
Units: N461 (FAS)
95th Aero (USAS)
Victories: 7
Born: 08 October 1896
Place of Birth: Brooklyn, New York, USA
Died: 13 November 1938 Killed In Flying Accident
Place of Death: Near Sparta, Tennessee, USA
Cemetery: New York, USA
 
 
The only son of Lansing Colton and Edith Sylvina (Rogers) Holden of New York City, Lansing Colton Holden, Jr. entered the Princeton Aviation School in his sophomore year and graduated with honors from the Aeronautical School in August 1917. Later that year, he joined the French Air Service and, after flight training, was posted to N461, one of three Escadrilles assigned to defend Paris. In early 1918, Holden accepted a commission in the United States Air Service and joined the 95th Aero Squadron on 20 July 1918. Soon after, on 10 August, he was shot down over French territory but survived. Flying a SPAD XIII, he downed two German aircraft and five kite balloons. Post-war, Holden graduated from Princeton in 1919 and became an architect. In 1924, he returned to France, was married, and flew for the French in Morocco against the Riffian insurgents. In 1933, he illustrated Harold Buckley's book, "Squadron 95" and in 1937 he took work as a color director in the motion picture industry. The following year, Holden and his friend, Raymond W. Krout, were killed when their plane crashed into a hillside during bad weather.

"At Miller Field, Staten Island, on November 20, after a salute had been fired and taps had been sounded, Denny's ashes and those of Captain Krout were scattered over the sea, just beyond New York City's lower bay, from one of the planes of his squadron flying in full formation"."
The Princeton Alumni Weekly, Volume 39, 9 December 1938, page 251

"I like my SPAD type XIII — 230 hp and two Vickers guns — immensely. She is marked like this. The numbers are white, red bordered, also the bands — three bands for the third flight — also a white nose. The mule is our squadron insignia. We have a cunning little jack for a mascot. The palen is camouflaged brown, green and black."
Lansing Holden, 27 July 1918
National Labor Tribune, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Thursday, 19 March 1931, page 6
The San Francisco Chronicle, San Francisco, California, Tuesday, 12 January 1937, page 10
Trenton Evening Times, Trenton, New Jersey, Monday, 14 November 1938, page 1
Certificate of Death, Tennessee, Death Records, 1908-1958
 
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC)
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Lansing Colton Holden, Jr., First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near Montigny, France, October 23, 1918. Lieutenant Holden was ordered to attack several German balloons, reported to be regulating effective artillery fire on our troops. After driving off an enemy plane, encountered before reaching the balloons, he soon came upon five balloons in ascension one kilometer apart. In attacking the first, which proved to be a decoy with a basket, his guns jammed; after clearing them he attacked the second balloon, forcing the observer to jump. His guns again jammed before he could set fire to this balloon. Moving on the third balloon at a height of only 50 meters, he set fire to it and compelled the observer to jump. He was prevented from attacking the two remaining balloons by the further jamming of his machine gun.
General Orders No. 46, W.D., 1919
 
Distinguished Service Cross (DSC) Oak Leaf Cluster
The Distinguished Service Cross is presented to Lansing Colton Holden, Jr., First Lieutenant (Air Service), U.S. Army, for extraordinary heroism in action near St. Jean de Buzy, France, November 4, 1918. Flying at a low altitude to evade hostile pursuit patrols, Lieutenant Holden attacked a German observation balloon in the face of antiaircraft and machine-gun fire. Although the balloon was being rapidly pulled own, he set fire to it in its nest and also caused much damage to adjacent buildings.
General Orders No. 46, W.D., 1919
 
Victories
Date Time Unit Aircraft Opponent Location
1 29 Sep 1918 1850 95th SPAD XIII Balloon Dun-sur-Meuse
2 23 Oct 1918 1630 95th SPAD XIII Fokker D.VII 1 St. Juvin
3 23 Oct 1918 1705 95th SPAD XIII Balloon Montigny
4 27 Oct 1918 0640 95th SPAD XIII Hannover CL Fontaine
5 30 Oct 1918 1305 95th SPAD XIII Balloon Germont
6 03 Nov 1918 1615 95th SPAD XIII Balloon Allemont
7 04 Nov 1918 1612 95th SPAD XIII Balloon St. Jean de Buzy

1 Shared with Lt Edward Curtis
 
Books
Guttman, Jon. USAS 1st Pursuit Group. Oxford: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2008
Franks, Norman and Frank Bailey. Over the Front: A Complete Record of the Fighter Aces and Units of the United States and French Air Services, 1914-1918. London: Grub Street, 1992
Franks, Norman. American Aces of World War 1. Oxford: Osprey Publishing Ltd., 2001
 
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