NORMAN — Col. Alva D. Hollingsworth Jr. ( US Army, Ret.), 93, of Norman, passed away Thursday, June 13, 2013, among family and friends at the Norman Veterans Center. He was born Sept. 6, 1919, in Ryan, Jefferson County, Okla., to Alva D. Hollingsworth and Mae Virginia Carrithers Hollingsworth.
He was the oldest of three children, and was preceded in death by his parents; his sister, Alma Hollingsworth Terry; and his brother, D.C. Hollingsworth, all of Ryan.
Col. Hollingsworth was a career U.S. Army Infantry officer who served in North Africa and Italy during World War II, in Germany at the Fulda gap during the Korean conflict, and in Vietnam during the major buildup in the mid-1960s. He retired following 30 years of service in 1971. His final act as an officer was to swear in his son to active duty in the U.S. Army.
During World War II, he made five amphibious landings, including North Africa, Sicily, Salerno and Anzio as part of the 45th Infantry Division (Thunderbirds), formed of soldiers from Oklahoma, Texas and New Mexico. It was during a holding action at Anzio where he was severely wounded by machine gun fire, ending his participation in the Italian campaign.
During the Korean conflict and at the height of the Cold War, there was concern among U.S. military planners that the Soviet military might take advantage of the Korean engagement to invade Western Europe. The Fulda gap, west of Frankfurt, was considered the logical route for a Soviet armored assault. As a pre-emptive measure, the 4th Infantry Division was reformed from World War II combat veterans and sent to Fulda. There they were deployed along the West German border with East Germany as a first line of defense. That is where then Lt. Hollingsworth began his ascent as a combat arms commander.
Because of his World War II combat experience in North Africa and Italy, he was selected to serve as an instructor at the Infantry School in Fort Benning, Ga. He served an 18-month tour along the demilitarized zone in South Korea, and then in 1962 graduated from the Command and General Staff College in Ft. Leavenworth, Kan., prior to deployment with the 25th Infantry Division in Hawaii. There he served as a battalion commander of the famed Wolfhounds of the 25th Infantry Division at Schofield Barracks. His assignment included command of the Jungle Warfare Training Center during the height of the Vietnam War. That was followed by a single tour in Vietnam where he served as a senior advisor to the South Vietnamese Army.
His decorations include the Combat Infantry Badge, two Bronze Stars with V device for Valor, two Purple Hearts, the Meritorious Service Medal, the Army Commendation Medal, and 18 other decorations and campaign medals, including the French Croix de Guerre awarded by the government of France.
He moved to Norman in 1977 where he was owner and operator of Westwood Car Wash on 24th Ave., and a political activist in national, state and local politics, beginning in the 1960s in New Mexico. In 2003 he was selected to the Eisenhower Commission of the Republican National Committee for a lifetime of dedication to the National Republican party. He was a prolific letter-writer who often appealed directly to the public on state and local issues through his letters to the editor of the Norman Transcript.
He was a 50-year, 32nd degree Mason and a member of the Scottish Rite.
He is survived by two children, G. Del Hollingsworth and Marsha Jane Lindsey, both of Dallas; six grandchildren; ten great-grandchildren and his faithful companion, Schotzy.
Funeral services will be 10 a.m. Tuesday at Havenbrook Funeral Home, 3401 Havenbrook St. in Norman, with burial at 2 p.m. at the Ft. Sill National Cemetery.
The family requests that donations be made in his name to the Wounded Warrior Project, P.O. Box 758517, Topeka, KS 66675, or www.woundedwarriorproject.org.
The family wishes to thank the personnel of the Norman Veterans Center and Valir Hospice for their kindness, care and constancy during Col. Hollingsworth’s final days.