From USNA Virtual Memorial Hall

Edward Holt, Jr. '39

Date of birth: July 6, 1915

Date of death: August 6, 1945

Age: 30

Lucky Bag

From the 1939 Lucky Bag:


In Freemantle, Australia, Lieut. Comdr. Edward R. Holt, Jr., reads his orders assigning him to command the USS Bullhead, as the former skipper, Comdr. Griffith, right, other officers and chiefs look on. (Official US Navy photo)
1939 Holt 2.jpg

Edward was lost when USS Bullhead (SS 332) was sunk, probably by Japanese aircraft, on or around August 6, 1945, in the Java Sea. He was only a month past his 30th birthday and was said to be one of the youngest submarine skippers in the Navy. He had made ten previous patrols.

He is discussed extensively in Overdue and Presumed Lost: The Story of the USS Bullhead by Martin Sheridan.

His career and loss is also recounted on the Clemson Alumni site; he majored in architecture and left after his sophomore year.

His wife was listed as next of kin.


From Fleet Organization:

  • Duty USS Arizona (BB-39) 1 Jul 1939 - 1 Oct 1939
  • Duty USS Cushing (DD-376) 1 Jul 1940 - 1 Nov 1940
  • Duty USS Grouper (SS-214) 12 Feb 1942
  • Executive Officer USS Baya (SS-318) May 1944 - 1 Jan 1945
  • Executive Officer USS Sealion (SS-315) Apr 1945 - 31 Jul 1945
  • Captain USS Bullhead (SS-332) 31 Jul 1945 - 6 Aug 1945
  • Ensign 1 Jun 1939
  • Lieutenant (j.g.) 1 Jun 1942
  • Lieutenant (T) 15 Jun 1942
  • Lieutenant Commander (T) 15 Mar 1944

Navy Cross

Several sites claim he was awarded the Navy Cross, but unable to find a citation and he is not listed with other recipients. Both of these facts are highly unusual for this award. There is no mention of the award in contemporaneous reporting, either, nor in an article about Bullhead from 1981.

Navy Directories & Officer Registers

The "Register of Commissioned and Warrant Officers of the United States Navy and Marine Corps" was published annually from 1815 through at least the 1970s; it provided rank, command or station, and occasionally billet until the beginning of World War II when command/station was no longer included. Scanned copies were reviewed and data entered from the mid-1840s through 1922, when more-frequent Navy Directories were available.

The Navy Directory was a publication that provided information on the command, billet, and rank of every active and retired naval officer. Single editions have been found online from January 1915 and March 1918, and then from three to six editions per year from 1923 through 1940; the final edition is from April 1941.

The entries in both series of documents are sometimes cryptic and confusing. They are often inconsistent, even within an edition, with the name of commands; this is especially true for aviation squadrons in the 1920s and early 1930s.

Alumni listed at the same command may or may not have had significant interactions; they could have shared a stateroom or workspace, stood many hours of watch together… or, especially at the larger commands, they might not have known each other at all. The information provides the opportunity to draw connections that are otherwise invisible, though, and gives a fuller view of the professional experiences of these alumni in Memorial Hall.

October 1939

Ensign, USS Arizona

Others at this command:

Others at or embarked at this command:

LT John Shaffer, III '30 (Battleship Division 1)

June 1940

Ensign, USS Cushing

Others at this command:

November 1940

Ensign, USS Cushing

Others at this command:

April 1941

Ensign, USS Cushing

Others at this command:

Class of 1939

Edward is one of 78 members of the Class of 1939 on Virtual Memorial Hall.

The "category" links below lead to lists of related Honorees; use them to explore further the service and sacrifice of the alumni in Memorial Hall.