Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships

Office of the Chief of Naval Operations
Naval History Division • Washington

USS Holder I (DE-401)

Randolph Mitchell Holder was born 20 September 1918 in Jackson, Miss., and was commissioned Ensign 10 April 1940 following flight training. Reporting to Torpedo Squadron 6 in the famous carrier Enterprise, he took part in the early carrier operations in the critical months following Pearl Harbor and then fought in the pivotal Battle of Midway, first of the great American successes in the sea war. In the gallant attack of the torpedo planes early 4 June 1942, Holder and his comrades attacked the Japanese ships without fighter cover. Though Holder and many others were shot down while pressing this attack, they forced radical maneuvers and diverted Japanese air cover so as to make the later raids lethal to the enemy fleet. Lieutenant (j.g.) Holder was presumed dead next day, 5 June 1942, and was awarded the Navy Cross posthumously for his heroism.

(DE-401: dp. 1,200; l. 306'; b. 36'7"; dr, 8'7"; s. 21 k.; cpl. 186; a. 3 3", 2 40mm., 8 20mm., 2 dct, 8 dcp, 1 dcp (hh), 3 21" tt.; cl. Edsall)

The first Holder (DE 401) was launched by Brown Shipbuilding Co., Houston, Tex., 27 November 1943; sponsored by Mrs. Annette Holder, mother of Lieutenant (junior grade) Holder, and commissioned 18 January 1944, Lt. Comdr. G. Cook in command.

After completion of her shakedown cruise, Holder departed 24 March escorting a convoy bound for Mediterranean ports. Proceeding along the coast of Algeria the convoy was followed 10 and 11 April by German planes and just before midnight 11 April it was attacked by torpedo bombers. Holder and the other escorts immediately opened flre and began making smoke, but a torpedo struck the escort vessel amidships on the port side, causing two heavy explosions. Though fires spread and flooding was serious. Holder's crew remained at their guns to drive off the attackers without damage to the convoy. Alert damage control kept the ship seaworthy and she arrived in tow at Oran for repairs. There it was decided to tow her to New York, where she arrived safely 9 June 1944. She decommissioned at New York Navy Yard 13 September 1944, and the forward part of her hull was used to repair Menges (DE-20) . The remainder was sold for scrap to John A. Witte, Station Island, N.Y., 19 June 1947.

Holder received one battle star for World War II service.

Transcribed and formatted for HTML by Patrick Clancey (patrick@akamail.com)