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Major General Leonard Holland

(1916-1999) ~ Inducted 1981

Major General Leonard Holland served as the Adjutant General of Rhode Island from 1961 to 1983. Enlisting in the army on April 16, 1941, he fought in the North Solomon Islands and New Guinea campaigns during World War II. Commissioned a second lieutenant, Infantry on August 6, 1942, he was promoted to major on February 12, 1946, and was soon honorably discharged from active service. For his valor, he would be awarded the Combat Infantryman's Badge, the Bronze Star, and the Purple Heart.

Following the Second World War, he served in the Officers Reserve Corps. He was commander of the 385th Regiment, 76th Training Division, beginning in 1959. His organizational and leadership skills did not go unnoticed; Governor John Notte appointed him state adjutant general, a position he held from 1961-1983. As the chief military officer of the state, General Holland took the unprecedented step of traveling to Vietnam to visit the troops of the 107th.

During the Blizzard of 1978, Adjutant General Holland commanded a force of 3,000 National Guardsmen, which effectively met the crisis with dignity, allowing Rhode Island to quickly return to normal operations.

In 1981, two years before his retirement, General Holland was inducted into the Rhode Island Heritage Hall of Fame for meritorious service to his state and country. He retired in 1983 and was succeeded by Major General John W. Kiely. He died on August 16, 1999, after suffering a fatal stroke. He is buried in Lincoln Park Jewish Cemetery in Warwick, Rhode Island.

Debra A. Mulligan


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