William Mack Holt

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William Mack Holt (9 September 1917 – 7 August 1942) was an American Navy sailor and naval aviator.

Holt was born in Great Falls, Montana, he enlisted in the Navy on 4 October 1940, and was appointed an Aviation Cadet 26 December 1940.

After completing flight training, he reported to the aircraft carrier Enterprise (CV-6) as a fighter pilot on 16 December 1941. Later transferred to the carrier air wing aboard Saratoga (CV-3) (VF-3), Holt participated in the air operations over Guadalcanal, defending the Marines in their beachhead ashore.

On 7 August 1942, after sighting a group of about 27 enemy bombers with escorts, Lieutenant (j.g.) 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. Holt was killed in action.

Holt was posthumously awarded the Navy Cross for his heroism; the Rudderow-class destroyer escort Holt was named for him.


This article incorporates text from the public domain Dictionary of American Naval Fighting Ships. The entries can be found here and here.