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DEPARTMENT OF THE NAVY -- NAVAL HISTORICAL CENTER
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Holt

 

William Mack Holt was born 9 September 1917, at Great Falls, Mont, and enlisted in the Navy 4 October 1940 Appointed an Aviation Cadet 26 December 1940, he reported to Enterprise as a fighter pilot 16 December 1941. Later transferred to the fighter group on board Saratoga, Holt participated in the air operations over Guadalcanal so vital in saving the marine beachhead. Sighting a group of about 27 enemy bombers with escort 7 August 1942, Holt led his two-plane section through the enemy fighters, downing several, and helped to turn back the bombers, continuing his relentless attacks until his own aircraft was shot down. Lieutenant (j.g.) Holt was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his heroism.

 

(DE-706: dp. 1450; l. 306'; b. 36'10" ; dr. 9'8" ; s. 24 k.; cpl. 186; a. 2 5", 3 21" tt, 2 dct, 8 dcp., 1 dcp. (h.h.) ; cl. Rudderow)

 

Holt (DE-706), a destroyer escort, was launched by Defoe Shipbuilding Co. of Bay City, Mich., 15 February 1944; sponsored by Mrs. Robert Holt, mother of the namesake ; and commissioned at New Orleans, La., 9 June 1944, Lt. Comdr. Victor Blue commanding.

 

Holt conducted her shakedown cruise off Bermuda and after a short stay in Boston reported to Norfolk, Va., 8 August 1944. Until 19 August she helped carry out shallow water tests in the Patuxent River, Md., and then joined Escort Division 74 at Norfolk. Holt screened escort carriers Wake Island and Mission Bay from Norfolk to Newport, R.I., and departed 5 September 1944 on antisubmarine operations along the Eastern seaboard. She came upon the torpedoed SS George Ade 12 September and joined in the search for the U-boat which had attacked her. The search had to be called off, however, as a hurricane approached the next day. Holt returned to Norfolk, and after escorting coastal convoys to Boston and New York sailed from Norfolk for the Pacific.

 

The escort and her division transited the Panama Canal 23 October and arrived Hollandia, New Guinea, via the Galapagos and Society Islands 21 November. The ship then became a unit of the 7th Fleet and departed 28 November to join carrier forces in Leyte Gulf providing protection for the vital military operations ashore. She completed this duty 11 December, and steamed with a convoy toward Mindoro for the establishment of a motor torpedo base on that island. During this invasion, an important step in the retaking of the Philippines, Holt's gunfire protected her supply convoy and shot down several planes attempting to attack the invasion forces during the landings 15 December. The destroyer returned to Leyte with a convoy 17 December and remained in San Pedro Bay until 22 December 1944.

 

Holt's next duty was guarding supply ships on the voyage to Hollandia, and after a stop at Manus Island she got underway once more from Hollandia 8 January with the resupply convoy for Lingayen Gulf. Steaming by way of San Pedro Bay, the task group reached Lingayen 21 January 1945, and Holt began antisubmarine patrol in support of troop movements ashore. She remained in the gulf until 27 January, downing a suicide plane which nearly crashed her 23 January and provided protection for the convoys off the beaches.

 

Departing Lingayen 27 January, Holt arrived San Pedro Bay 1 February, and after escorting another convoy to Lingayen Gulf entered recently-liberated Subic Bay 12 February 1945. Holt served as an escort to and from the harbor entrance until she steamed from Subic Bay 27 March to aid in one of the final operations for the securing of Luzon. Arriving off Legaspi 1 April, Holt provided fire support during the landing that day and then returned to Subic Bay to convoy supporting forces back to Legaspi for the landings 7-8 April. Possession of this area allowed American forces to control the shores of San Bernadino Strait, thus shortening the supply routes from Leyte Gulf to the assault areas on the western shores of the Philippines.

 

Returning to San Pedro Bay, Holt next steamed to Morotai to join a convoy in support of the assault on Taraken Island, Borneo. The first target in the series of Borneo landings, Taraken was taken by Australian forces under Marine and Navy air support 1 May, and Holt arrived with supply ships 5 days later. The ship was forced to remain constantly on the alert for suicide swimmers and limpet mines while in the roads, but departed Borneo safely 9 May for San Pedro Bay.

 

After repairs in floating drydock, Holt was assigned to weather patrol, and cruised the eastern South China Sea sending reports to help guide movements of the vast fleets then operating in the Pacific. On this duty until 18 December 1945, she departed that date with 75 persons on board for San Francisco via the Marshalls and Pearl Harbor, arriving 9 January 1946.

 

Decommissioned 2 July 1946, Holt was assigned to San Diego Group, Pacific Reserve Fleet, until December 1962, when she began preparations for transfer to a foreign country. Loaned to the Republic of Korea 19 June 1963 under the Military Assistance Program, she serves as Chung Nam (DE-73).

 

Holt received two battle stars for World War II service.