By Will King, Fort Leavenworth LampJune 25, 2009
FORT LEAVENWORTH, Kan. (June 25, 2009) - A street in the new housing area of PottawatomieA,A Village west of Hancock Avenue has been named after a Buffalo Soldier and bandleader.
Hollowell Drive, named in honor of retired Chief Warrant Officer 4 Harry Hollowell, was dedicated at a ceremony June 19 at Hollowell Court near Hancock Gate.
Hollowell was raised near Eureka, Kan., and attended Wichita State University. He learned to play the violin at age 8, and later mastered several other instruments, most notably trombone.
In 1936, Hollowell enlisted in the 10th Cavalry Regiment and served as a Buffalo Soldier at Fort Leavenworth until 1942, when he attended the Army Music School and was promoted to warrant officer.
As a bandmaster, Hollowell served at Fort Dix, N.J.; Fort Carson, Colo.; Fort Riley, Kan.; and Fort Leavenworth. His overseas assignments included Germany, Liberia and Okinawa. Hollowell retired from the Army after 28 years of service as a chief warrant officer 4, the highest warrant officer rank at the time, and the first black Soldier to achieve the rank.
After retirement from the active duty, Hollowell served for 22 years as the director of music for the U.S. Disciplinary Barracks. He remained active in the Fort Leavenworth-area community and played with Bob Cowan's Jazz Combo and the Bourbon Street Saints until 1994.
Lt. Gen. William B. Caldwell IV, commander of the Combined Arms Center and Fort Leavenworth, praised Hollowell's personal and professional accomplishments.
"Harry lived his life to literally serve others," Caldwell said. "He embodied the idea of servant-leadership."
Caldwell said the dedication of Hollowell Drive was as much a recognition of the Buffalo Soldiers as it was of Hollowell.
The road dedication took place during a three-day event by the Ninth and Tenth (Horse) Cavalry Association to honor retired Navy Cmdr. Carlton Philpot, a former instructor at the Command and General Staff College and Buffalo Soldier historian.
Philpot said the new road shows the continued appreciation that Fort Leavenworth and the local community have for the Buffalo Soldiers.
"It just shows how the train of the Buffalo Soldiers rolls on, and adds another car to that train," he said.
Hollowell's godson, Brig. Gen. Dana Pittard, Training and Doctrine Command Deputy Chief of Staff, G-3/5/7, said he was inspired by Hollowell's drive, energy and zest for life.
"He is a person who certainly has inspired me my entire life, me and my family, and so many others. He's a man who, beyond the biography and everything else, is just a humble, confident man who has inspired so many people," Pittard said.
Pittard said he named his youngest son, Jordan Harrison Hollowell Pittard, after Hollowell.
Hollowell's wife, Thelma Louise Hollowell, who will be 100 years old July 4, attended the ceremony and received a commemorative Hollowell Drive road sign. She and Hollowell were married in 1941.
Hollowell's daughters, Janice Hollowell and Louise Hollowell Jones, were also at the ceremony.
"My dad was the hardest working man I've ever known," Hollowell Jones said. "He was a man full of grace and goodness."
Only Hollowell Court is currently open, a short cul-de-sac near Hancock Gate. One of the homes on Hollowell Court displayed photos and information about Hollowell's life from high school, Army service and years as USDB music director.
Sally Mountcastle, wife of Maj. Clay Mountcastle of the Combat Studies Institute, lives in one of four duplex homes on Hollowell Court, formerly Kansas Court. She said she didn't know anything about Hollowell before the road dedication, but wants to learn more about him now. Mountcastle said she enjoyed listening to the remarks by Hollowell's daughter at the ceremony calling her father the hardest working man she knew.
Once completed, Hollowell Drive will have housing for 74 Army families, Caldwell said. The Fort Leavenworth Residential Communities Office estimates Hollowell Drive and housing will be completed in 2011.